The McKinleyville boys continued to set the standard for local athletes in several track and field events over the weekend, with another big showing at the Prefontaine Invitational in Coos Bay.
The Panthers traveled with 22 athletes for the prestigious meet, one of the biggest annually in Oregon, and came away with 14 top-eight finishes, including four firsts.
“It was definitely a strong showing,” McKinleyville head coach Rudy Garcia said.
Once again seniors Owen Lien and Adam Vera were the top finishers in the 400 meters and 3K, respectively, while sophomore Nathan Witte continued his remarkable season with firsts in both hurdle events, setting a season-best for the Humboldt-Del Norte League in each.
Lien and Dolan were also a part of both relay teams, which each placed second.
The 4×100 team also included Stephen Watrous and Isaac Ward, with Witte and Sebastian Reyes rounding out the 4×400 team.
“Owen Lien and Ryan Dolan have shown some leadership on our relays for sure,” Garcia said. “They’ve been stepping up really hard.”
Ward also set a pair of PRS in both hurdle events, while Wes Wood set a PR in the 3K, placing fourth and giving the Panthers two finishers in the top four, along with Vera.
“Those two ran really well together,” Garcia said.
The weather didn’t cooperate, but the Mack athletes set an impressive 18 PRs on the day.
“It started raining pretty bad, but the kids toughed it out,” the head coach said.
The Panthers had seven top-three finishers.
On the girls side, senior Hadlie Ward continued her impressive season with a third-place finish in the 300m hurdles, while also setting a PR in the 100m.
A number of younger athletes also impressed.
Sophomore McKenzie Bray set PRs in both the 100m and the 300m hurdles, while sophomore Olivia Rink and freshman Aliya Crackel each continue to set new PRs every week in the 1600m.
Teammate Eva Wachaba also “had a strong showing,” according to her coach, setting a PR in the 200m and also competing in the 4×100 relay.
The Panthers will be back in action in the fourth league meet of the season at McKinleyville High on Wednesday afternoon, with the action getting under way at 3:30 p.m.