By Ray Hamill — A large group of H-DNL athletes will be heading to Dublin High School in the Bay Area this weekend, with more than 20 qualifying for the North Coast Section Meet of Champions.
The state qualifying meet gets under way on Friday and runs for two days, with the top three in each event advancing to next week’s CIF state championships.
And a number of H-DNL athletes would appear to have a good shot at moving on.
Most notably Eureka senior Josh Mahle, who has qualified in both the shot put and discus and is one of seven H-DNL athletes who will be competing in the throwing events.
Mahle, who is enjoying sensational season for the Loggers, also has the fifth best NCS mark this season in the discus and could end up being a double-state qualifier.
His Eureka teammates Jamin Guilbert and Joseph Gonzalez have both also qualified for this weekend’s prestigious meet and will be expected to compete for a state berth.
Guilbert will compete in the shot put, where he has the sixth best mark in the NCS this season, while Gonzalez will compete in both the shot put and discus and has the seventh best NCS mark this season in the latter.
Four other H-DNL athletes will compete in multiple events this weekend — Del Norte’s Alyssa McCovey and Lily Sherman, St, Bernard’s Madelyn Shanahan and Eureka’s Ginny Brooks.
McCovey is a triple qualifier and will compete in both hurdles races as well as teaming with Gianna Taylor, Tianna Thompson and Lili Nunez on the 4×100 meter relay team, while Sherman will compete in both the high jump and triple jump.
Shanahan is the only Little 4 athlete who will compete at this weekend’s meet and qualified in two events, the discus and triple jump.
The multi-sport sophomore standout won the discus at Saturday’s NCS Class A meet and placed second in the triple jump.
Brooks, meanwhile, will run in both hurdles races after a strong second-place finish in both events at last week’s NCS Redwood Empire championships.
The standout junior has the fifth-best time in the NCS this season in the 300m hurdles and the sixth-best time in the 100m hurdles and should be in contention for a state berth in both.
McKinleyville junior Kalyssa Claros, meanwhile, is one of only two Big 5 girls to qualify in the throwing events and will compete in the shot put after an impressive second-place finish at the NCS Redwood Empire meet.
Del Norte’s Edwin Zepeda also should be in contention to advance to the state meet after qualifying for this week’s Meet of Champions in the triple jump, a remarkable achievement for an athlete competing in high school track and field for the first time this season.
The standout senior has the eighth-best mark in the NCS.
His Del Norte teammate Teresa Martinez will also make the trip to Dublin this weekend after qualifying in the pole vault, giving the Warriors a league-best seven qualifiers.
Eureka’s Emily Pesch has also qualified after a very impressive showing at the Redwood Empire meet.
Pesch followed her league championship in the high jump with another first-place finish last weekend, one of three top-four finishes for the H-DNL in the event, with Sherman second and Arcata freshman Quincy Collins placing fourth and also qualifying for the MOC.
Collins’ teammate, Anneli Macdonald, also qualified for the MOC after a fifth-place finish in the 3,200m last week.
Fortuna also will be represented at the big weekend meet, with two Huskies making the trip.
Sophomore Russell Pascascio will compete in the triple jump — along with Zepeda — after an impressive fourth-place finish a week ago, while senior teammate Tristan Jones will compete in the discus.
McKinleyville, meanwhile, has an impressive three throwers who qualified for the MOC.
In addition to Claros, senior Rocco Previde has qualified in the discus and junior Derrick Ray has qualified in the shot put.