A memorable season for the Fortuna Huskies is only getting better.
On Saturday, the Fortuna girls led the local charge at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire track and field championships, placing second as a team to runaway winners Santa Rosa, a fantastic accomplishment for a local program competing against the biggest schools north of San Francisco.
The achievement comes one week after the Huskies won a second straight H-DNL championship, and the team’s 60 points were almost twice that of third-placed Justin-Siena (32).
More impressively, it was achieved with just four athletes, all of them turning in several big performances and qualifying for a combined 11 events at next week’s Meet of Champions.
The top seven in each event qualified for next week’s meet..
Leading the charge were the senior tandem of Katie Hurst and Camrin Dolcini, who between them won three events and qualified for a combined seven events next week.
Hurst placed first in both the long jump and high jump, and second in the triple jump, while Dolcini blew the competition away in the 100 meter hurdles, while also placing third in the pole vault.
The Fortuna senior had to overcome a broken pole in the event, borrowing one from Del Norte to complete the competition.
Hurst and Dolcini also combined on the Fortuna 4×100 meter relay team, placing third along with freshmen Samantha Bennett and Kalia Yang.
“We ran one of our best times, but we didn’t have great handoffs,” Fortuna co-head coach Norm Sotomayor said. “We’ll clear up the little errors we had today.”
Yang was one of the biggest surprises of the day, taking second in the 200m and fifth in the 100m, moving on to the prestigious Meet of Champions in both events in her first year competing in high school track.
“We’re excited about our seniors finishing the season strong, and we’re excited about our freshmen,” Sotomayor said.
Spears wins 100 hurdles
The Fortuna girls weren’t the only big local performances of the day.
Most notably, Eureka’s Nathaniel Spears and Conor Barres each had huge days.
Spears, a sophomore, won the 110m hurdles, timing a remarkable 14.87.
“He just ran the perfect race,” Eureka head coach Scott Pesch said. “Whenever you break 15 (seconds) that’s something special.”
Spears has been working on his starts for the past two weeks, and it paid off with the sophomore sensation coming flying out of the blocks.
“Just to make it to the Meet of Champions is special, but to have someone win to qualify, that’s very special,” Pesch said.
Barres was almost as impressive, placing fourth in the 100m and fifth in the 200m and qualifying for the Meet of Champions in the two events in his first year competing in high school track.
Norlund leads Arcata distance runners
The Arcata girls distance runners will have a big presence at the MOC, with Thea Norlund, Riley Martel-Phillips and freshman Anneli Macdonald all advancing.
Norlund led the way, placing fourth in the 1600m and sixth in the 800m, while Martel-Phillips was seventh in the 800m and eighth in the 1600m, barely missing out on qualification in the latter.
Macdonald, a freshman, was sixth in the 3200m.
The Tigers 4×100 girls relay team of Norlund, Emma Fechner, Kayla Jay and Madilynn Durham also moves on after placing seventh.
Two Arcata boys will be moving on as well, Jaosn McGoldrick, who placed seventh in the triple jump, and Aidan Hasselquist, who was seventh in the 300 hurdles.
Del Norte standouts Luke King and Bryce Howard each also had a big showing, with King placing second in the shot put and Howard third in the pole vault.
They will be joined at the Meet of Champions by teammate Caroline Hamm, who finished sixth in the discus.
McKinleyville sophomore Nathan Witte continued his big season by qualifying in both hurdles events, placing fifth in the 300 and seventh in the 110.
He will be joined next week by teammate Sage Watrous de Salinas, who placed seventh in the discus
Owen Lien barely missed out in the 400m, an event he has dominated locally all season, placing eighth, but did qualify as part of the 4×100 relay team, placing sixth along with Stephen Watrous, Isaac Ward and Ryan Dolan.
For the Fortuna boys, Nathan Arrasmith will join the four standout girls at next week’s state qualifying meet, after placing fourth in the high jump on Saturday.
Arrasmith also was awarded an H-DNL White Star this week after it was adjudged he tied Del Norte’s Ethan Price at the league championship meet a week ago.
After each had jumped 6-0, the event was awarded to Price on number of missed attempts, but it was since discovered they tied in that as well and it should have gone to a jump off.
Both are now co-champions.