The H-DNL saved its best for last.
The league track and field championships took place at Del Norte High on Saturday, with several PRs set across the board as well as numerous close finishes.
The host school enjoyed a very good day and won both the boys and girls team championships, including a comprehensive 29-point win for the Del Norte boys.
Senior Edwin Zepeda and freshman Aden Mintonye were both double-winners for the Warriors, who won four of the 16 individual events on the way to the team win.
Zepeda placed first in both the high jump and triple jump, edging out Fortuna sophomore Russell Pascascio in each event, with Arcata’s Eric Jackson third in the high jump and Ferndale’s Isaak Kasso third in the triple jump.
Pascascio matched Zepeda’s winning mark of 5-10 in the high jump but the Del Norte senior won courtesy of having fewer misses.
Mintonye was first home in the 300m hurdles and also teamed with fellow Del Norte speedsters Caden Harrison, Bryson Price and Emmanuel Nunez to win the 4x100m relay, with Fortuna second and Arcata third.
St. Bernard’s Grant Omey placed second to Mintonye in the 300m hurdles, one of two top-three finishes for the Crusaders junior, with Eureka’s Preston Richards in third.
Kasso had a big all-around day for the Wildcats. In addition to his third-place finish in the triple jump, the Ferndale sophomore took first in the 110m hurdles, followed by McKinleyville’s Dorian Rine and Mintonye, as well as finishing third in the 100m.
The 100m was the closest race of the day, with Arcata’s Aidan Shelton barely edging Fortuna’s Lane Shelton by just .01 of a second.
Aidan Shelton also placed first in the 200m with a PR of 23.61 seconds, followed by Fortuna’s Mathew Hansen in second and Arcata’s Carson Tucker in third.
Lane Shelton and Hansen would have better luck in other events.
Lane placed first in the long jump, edging the St. Bernard’s duo of Carl Nunes and Omey, while Hansen placed first in the 400m, edging Tucker and Nunez in a race that saw the top 11 all PR.
Eureka senior Josh Mahle continued his dominating season with a pair of victories, easily winning both the shot put and discus.
Price was second in the shot put with McKinleyville’s Derrick Ray in third, while McKinleyville’s Rocco Previde was second in the discus, followed by Eureka’s Joseph Gonzalez in third.
Fortuna’s Christopher Duey beat out a deep pool of Del Norte Warriors to win the pole vault, with the host school placing second thorough seventh in the event, including Gabe Howard in second and Lyon Rigden in third.
Arcata’s Jude Ortega and McKinleyville’s Damian Dinan renewed their rivalry in a pair of very competitive middle distance races.
Dinan edged Ortega by just a quarter of a second in the 800m, winning with a PR of 2 minutes 6.45 seconds, while Ortega got the better of Dinan by just .41 of a second in the 1,600m, in a race that saw the top 14 finishers all PR.
McKinleyville’s Cody Rheinschmidt placed third in the 800m, while Eureka’s Daniel Shaver was third in the 1,600m.
The 3,200m was equally competitive, with Shaver sneaking the win in a time of 10:16.82, just .04 of a second ahead of Dinan, with Northeast Prep’s Devon Baker-Berry in third.
And rounding out a busy day for the boys, Arcata’s Alex Spanos, Luke Moxon, Ian Letts and Tucker won the 4x400m relay, with McKinleyville second and Del Norte third.
Del Norte won the team event with 111 points, followed by Eureka (82), McKinleyville (79), Arcata (78), Fortuna (72), St. Bernard’s (26), Ferndale (22), Northcoast Prep (20) and Southern Trinity (4).