By Ray Hamill — The Slayton family is preparing for a busy fall, as brother and sister Anthony and Molly get set to make a welcome return.
The Del Norte siblings are both coming back from torn ACLs and each is eager to get back on the field of competition and appears ready to make an impact.
Anthony, a 2020 Warriors graduate, enjoyed an outstanding season last fall playing linebacker at Shasta College, where he led the state in tackles at the JC level and was named all-conference and team defensive MVP.
The injury, he believes, has hardened his resolve to succeed at the collegiate level.
“You’ve got to go through the tough times, or the good times wouldn’t be as good,” he told Humboldt Sports earlier this year. “You’ve got to look at the positives.”
Molly, meanwhile, is a 2022 Del Norte graduate and will play volleyball for College of the Redwoods this fall, joining a class of five local recruits to commit to the team.
The recent ACL tear was the second for the former Warrior, who was sidelined for both her sophomore and senior seasons.
CR head coach Petra Lorenzi, however, is a big fan of the Del Norte player and admires her resiliency.
“She’s just a tough kid,” CR coach said. “She’s had two knee surgeries and she still wants to play.”
Molly admits the second injury was tough to take, but says having her older brother go through the same injury at the time helped her cope with the setback.
“Honestly, my brother helped a lot,” she said. “We both had the same mindset.”
That determination has paid off for both siblings and Molly is looking forward to making her comeback and playing for CR and Lorenzi, who is a former Del Norte Warrior herself.
“I’m excited to play for her,” Molly said. “I wanted an opportunity to play volleyball again and Petra gave me that opportunity.”
She joins a recruiting class that also includes Arcata’s Ella Day and Abby Costello-Anderson, Fortuna’s Lily Larue and McKinleyville’s Haylee Howell, and it’s a class the coach is excited to bring on board.
“For me, this group is probably the group I’m most excited about,” Lorenzi said. “This was the initial crew at my first camp (as eighth graders) and they’ve been to my camps every year and so I’ve got to know a lot of these girls over the years.”
Molly also played basketball, softball and golf for Del Norte and says she enjoyed competing in all of them and doesn’t really have a favorite.
She has been playing volleyball since sixth grade, however, and is looking forward to the new challenge and playing at the collegiate level.
“I’m excited for it,” she said. “Hopefully we can compete and win some games.”
Lorenzi is also excited about the Del Norte standout’s versatility on the court.
“She’s a very good athlete and she has a high level of ball control and she’s a good utility player. She can set, defend, pass and she’s got a great serve.”
Anthony, meanwhile, has already impressed at the collegiate level and should be on the radar of a lot of four-year programs after his upcoming sophomore season at Shasta.
The 2019 Big 5 Defensive MVP certainly turned some heads as a freshman with an outstanding season last fall.
“It was awesome, I had a blast this year,” he said after the season. “I feel like personally I reached my goals. I definitely exceeded a lot of people’s expectations.”
While Molly remains undecided for now about whether she will continue to play after her time at CR, Anthony hopes to continue playing after his time at Shasta.
For now, however, he’s just focused on the upcoming season after being fully cleared to play after several months of rehab.
“I’m looking forward to getting back out there,” he said.