By Ray Hamill — On Wednesday, Hoopa’s Larry Tracy became the second H-DNL sprinter in the past week to commit to take his talents to the collegiate level.
Tracy, who has placed in the top four in the 100 meters in each of the past two league meets, will compete for College of the Redwoods next spring.
And that’s not all in store for the standout Hoopa senior, who also becomes one of the first players to commit to play football at CR for when the team returns in 2022.
Tracy is enjoying an outstanding spring, having played a big role on the Hoopa High football team and earning first-team all-league honors.
Since then he has been tearing it up on the track, where he set a PR in the 100m at Del Norte last Saturday with a time of 11.9 seconds.
“He has a big upside,” CR track and field coach Reed Elmore said. “He broke 12 seconds in the 100 in a COVID year. He’s got a huge upside because he didn’t compete for a year.”
For Tracy, it’s long been his ambition to compete in both track and football at the college level, thanks in large part to the encouragement of one of his coaches.
“My track coach Benny Griggs, he went to CR and ran track and played football, and ever since I was a freshman he’s made me believe I have the skills to play at the college level,” said Tracy, who announced his decision at a ceremony at Hoopa High on Wednesday. “And he told me CR is a great college to do that.”
Tracy, who will major in Business Administration, hopes to eventually compete in track at a four-year Division-I or Division-II school and says he is keeping an open mind about continuing football too.
And Griggs has no doubt the Hoopa senior will thrive at the collegiate level.
“I believe he will be a success there,” Griggs said. “He’s a hard-working kid and with the right tutoring from Reed and his assistant coaches — they’re good coaches — he’ll do well.”
Griggs says Tracy is driven to succeed on and off the athletic fields.
“He just doesn’t let anything de-rail him,” the Hoopa coach said. “He set a goal for himself, and he’s trying to achieve that goal, to be successful in academics and athletics.”
Before he heads to college, however, Tracy is hoping to close out his high school track career on a high this weekend at the H-DNL championships.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “My goal on Saturday is to run my fastest time in my last race.”
With injuries limiting him early in the track season, it’s been a short campaign, but Tracy says he’s really enjoying it.
He also paid tribute to the role many of his teachers at Hoopa High have played in his success.
“A lot of my coaches and my teachers, they really helped me keep my grades up,” he said. “And they made me realize sports would get me places.
“And I’ll remember the culture here (at Hoopa). We have a lot of history of good athletes and fast athletes and good football players.”
Tracy, who is now a part of that proud history, joins H-DNL rival sprinter Connor Pratt of Fortuna in taking his talents to the collegiate level, after Pratt recently committed his future to Sac State.
At CR, Tracy will be joined by Eureka senior distance runners Ian Bennett and Thomas Becannon, who each also have decided to run for the Corsairs after graduation.
Elmore, whose team competes at the Golden Valley Conference championships this weekend, says recruiting has never been better in his 11 years in charge of the program, and is expecting to add more athletes from Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna.
“We’ve had a lot of local interest this year,” he said. “More than I’ve ever had before.”