By Ray Hamill — There’s been little to separate the top track and field teams in the Humboldt-Del Norte League this spring, and that continued to be the case on Wednesday at the final regular season meet of the year at McKinleyville High School.
On the boys side, Eureka won for the second time in four league meets, holding off Del Norte by seven points (132-125), while the Arcata girls also won for the second time in four meets, holding Fortuna at bay 150-139.
The Tigers relied heavily once again on their dominating distance runners, taking the top three spots in each of the 800, the 1600 and the 3200 meters, including a remarkable top six in the 1600m.
The Eureka boys got big performances from senior Conor Barres and sophomores Nathaniel Spears and Ian Bennett, but it was the Loggers’ team depth that put them over the edge.
“It’s the guys that are getting the third, fourth and fifth places that help us score points,” Eureka head coach Scott Pesch said.
In one of the highlights of the day, Barres edged out McKinleyville sprinter Owen Lien in the 100 meters in a first showdown in the event this season between two of the top athletes on the North Coast.
“That guy’s a bull,” Pesch said of Lien. “And that’s a good matchup.”
Lien won both the 200 and 400 meters, beating Eureka’s Hunter Ethridge in the latter in another of the day’s highlight events.
Bennett, who has dominated the 800m all spring, continued to do so, setting a PR on his way to first, ahead of Fortuna’s Collin Stockwell in second.
McKinleyville freshman Jude Ortega was first home in the 1600m, while Arcata’s Miles Johnson set a PR in the 3200m, taking first ahead of Eureka’s Evan Boudet, who also set a PR.
Spears, who just recently returned from injury, edged out Arcata’s Aiden Hasselquist in the 110m hurdles, with Hasselquist returning the favor in the 300m hurdles.
The Eureka quartet of Danny Ye, Harry Pardoe, Josh Korenstein and Barres took first in the 4×100 relay, defeating their teammates, Kai Gallegos, Everardo Garcia-Zepeda, Ethridge and Spears, who took second.
In the 4×400 relay, it was the Fortuna team of Draven Boyd, Levi Nyberg, Stockwell and Bo Cox which took first.
Luke King, as always, took first in the shot put for Del Norte, while McKinleyville’s Sage Watrous De Salinas took first in the discus, as always.
Likewise with Del Norte’s Ethan Price in the high jump, where he beat out teammate Peyton Swan, who set a PR, while another Del Norte standout, Bryce Howard, beat out Fortuna’s Bo Cox in the pole vault with a jump of 11-0.
Spears capped a big day with a first place in the long jump, edging Price by one inch, while Arcata’s Jasen McGoldrick continued his impressive season with a first in the triple jump, with Price again second.
The Arcata boys were third with 79 points, and Fortuna fourth with 76.
The Tigers continued to dominate the distance events, with teammates Riley Martel-Phillips, Anneli Macdonald, Michaela Macdonald, Mathilde Macdonald, Claire Monge and Vivian Gerstein taking one through six in the 1600m.
Martel-Phillips, Mathilde Macdonald, Michaela Macdonald, Anneli Macdonald and Eva Weller were also top five in the 800m, while Anelli Macdonald beat out her sister Michaela Macdonald and Monge in the 3200m.
Completing the Arcata dominance, teammate Emma Fechner had the fastest time in the 400m, edging out Fortuna freshman Kalia Yang.
Yang had the fastest time of the day in the 200m, while Eureka senior Tiana Rodgers took first in the 100m with a PR of 13.29 seconds, barely edging out Del Norte sophomore Madilynn Durham.
Fortuna’s Camrin Dolcini also had a big day with a pair of individual firsts, setting a PR in the 300m hurdles in a time of 49.48 seconds, and beating teammate Katie Hurst in the long jump by an inch and a half.
Hurst comfortably won the high jump.
Del Norte’s Katherine Martinez took first in the pole vault, with Dolcini second.
The result was reversed in the 300m hurdles, with Martinez second to Dolcini.
Del Norte sophomore Sierra Moayedi won the 100m hurdles, while teammate and fellow sophomore Emily Feeney set a PR on the way to first in the shot put.
Del Norte’s Caroline Hamm won the discus, while teammate Maykala Jackson, another sophomore, took first in the triple jump.
And finally in the girls relays, the Arcata quartet of Fechner, Mathilde Macdonald, Martel-Phillips and Thea Norlund took first in the 4×400, while Fortuna’s Yang, Hurst, Samantha Bennett and Dolcini placed first in the 4×100.
Del Norte took third in the girls team event, with Eureka fourth.