By Ray Hamill — The Eureka track and field team showcased its depth with a strong showing at the Panther Relays at McKinleyville High School on Saturday.
The Loggers placed first in 11 of the 14 relay races, including all seven boys races.
The early-season nine-team meet, which included Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna, Hoopa, McKinleyville, Northcoast Prep, St. Bernard’s, Brookings-Harbor and Ukiah, served as the final warm-up for the H-DN teams, which begin league competition on Wednesday.
In the individual events, the host Panthers enjoyed a pair of victories, with Damian Dinan placing first in the 3200m with a PR time of 10 minutes 12.20 seconds, which was 21 seconds faster than Ukiah’s Jack Rahn, who placed second.
Dinan’s teammate Derek Ray placed first in the shot put with a PR throw of 51 feet, 9 inches, followed by Eureka’s Jamin Gilbert in second and McKinleyville’s Nick Maher in third.
Guilbert took the victory in the discus with a PR throw of 124’ 2”, edging teammate Joseph Gonzalez by less than a foot, with Ray in third.
In the boys high jump, Fortuna’s Russell Pascascio placed first, seamlessly transitioning from a big season in basketball with a PR mark of 6 feet even.
A pair of Arcata youngsters rounded out the top three, with sophomore Eric Jackson second and freshman Luke Lemke in third.
Jackson also placed second in the long jump, which was won by St. Bernard’s Carl Nunes with a PR of 21’ 10”.
This was only the fourth time Nunes has competed in the event and he has placed in the top-two all four times, including a second-place finish at last year’s league championships.
Arcata’s Luke Moxon, who was named co-MVP of the Big 5 in basketball, placed third.
The Eureka girls, meanwhile, won four of the seven relay races, including the 4x800m, the Swedish, the DMR and the 4×100 shuttle.
The Fortuna foursome of Allie Cox, Chloe Cox, Brylee Barsanti and Tatum McCanless, all of whom are juniors, took first place in both the 4x100m and 4x200m relay races, showcasing the Huskies’ depth in the sprints.
The Arcata Tigers placed first in the 4x100m throwers relay.
In the individual events, Arcata senior Aluana Thompson continued her strong start to the new season with a first-place finish in the 3200m in a time of 12:58.09, followed by teammate Sydney Ventuleth in second and Eureka’s Summer Morales in third.
McKinleyville senior Kalyssa Claros also continued her impressive start to the new season with a first in the shot put and a second in the discus, setting new PRs in both events.
Claros threw a 36’ 3” in the shot, comfortably outdistancing the field by six feet.
Fortuna’s Lonna Torrez was second in the event, followed by Arcata’s Linea Vizenor in third.
The Eureka girls took victories in both the high jump and long jump.
Junior Emily Pesch won the high jump with a jump of 5’, while senior Ginny Brooks was first in the long jump with a jump of 15’ 9”, followed by Shanahan in second and her St. Bernard’s teammate Alyssa Boham in third.
The H-DN season officially gets under way with the first league meet at McKinleyville High School on Wednesday afternoon, with the first events at 3 p.m.