By Ray Hamill — With just two more H-DNL track and field meets scheduled this season, a young Hoopa Warriors team continues to build for the future.
It’s been a common theme for most of the Hoopa teams this spring, all of which have featured young rosters with just a few seniors, and all of which appear to have a bright future.
“I think this next group of kids coming through are special, and they’re going to turn their programs around,” track and field head coach Benny Griggs said. “They’re gritty and they want to be better.”
Including many on the track and field team, which traveled to McKinleyville last week for the second league meet of the new season.
Leading the way was senior Larry Tracy, who tied for third in the 100 meters in a time of 11.97 seconds, his best ever time in the event.
Tracy also had the third best time of the day in the 400m, finishing in a time of 56.06 seconds.
Griggs expects the speedy senior to close out strong and compete for a top-three spot in the sprints at the upcoming league championships on May 22.
Sophomore Lane Campbell has also impressed early in the season and is “coming on strong,” according to Griggs.
Campbell competes in the sprints and the 4×100 relay.
Junior Talon Borden, who also competes in the sprints, is another athlete who has taken some big steps this season.
“He’s matured a lot,” Griggs said. “And he’s trying to take his athletics more serious.”
Among the throwers, sophomore Gerard Marshall placed third in the discus with a toss of 95 feet, five inches, and fourth in the shot put with a throw of 37 feet, 4 inches, both of which were PRs.
Marshall is expected to carry on the Warriors’ recent tradition of being among the league leaders in the throwing events.
“I’m expecting big things out of him,” said Griggs, who believes Marshall would be even better if he hadn’t missed his freshman campaign last spring because of the COVID shutdown. “He’s a very strong kid.”
Bronc Colegrove also competed well in the shot put, placing 12th.
For the girls, meanwhile, a trio of distance runners have been competitive and should continue to get better.
Junior Trinity Colegrove and freshmen Julia Jackson and Jayden Darbutas have all shown plenty of promise in a talented and deep field of H-DNL distance runners this season.
“They’re pretty young, but they’re hanging in there,” Griggs said. “They’re not getting discouraged. They just come out every day to get better.”
Another freshman girl, Vanessa King, is also showing some promise and placed seventh in the 400m with a PR, after just switching this season from the distance races.
“I think sprints is what she should have been doing because she’s got some speed,” Griggs said.
Senior Jada McCovey also competes in the sprints and is looking to close out her high school career strong.
In the throwing events, meanwhile, junior Tasha Tripp has been making some noise.
Tripp placed fifth in both the shot put and discus at McKinleyville.
“They’re young and they’re gritty and they want to win,” Griggs said of his team, which numbers 21 this season. “And they’re competing, and they’re really working hard.”
The Warriors will travel to compete at Del Norte on Saturday, before competing in the H-DNL Championships at Fortuna next weekend.