H-DNL champion Ashby sets her sights on state qualification

File photo – Eureka’s Sequoia Ashby won last weekend’s H-DNL Cross Country Championships at the Arcata Marsh.

Eureka’s Sequoia Ashby turned in a career performance on the way to securing a league title at the H-DNL Cross Country Championships at the Arcata Marsh on Saturday.

The senior team captain obliterated her previous PR by a remarkable 39 seconds while crossing the finish line in first place for the fourth time in five league races this fall.

The league-winning performance was one of the most dominating the H-DNL has seen in some time, as Ashby won the race by an incredible 1 minute, 41 seconds and crossed the finish line in a time of 19:31.

Ashby is hoping to finish the season by qualifying for the prestigious state championships.

Impressive freshman Berlla DeCarli placed second to lead the Arcata Tigers to the team title.

The Arcata girls had five of the top eight finishers and comfortably beat Eureka for the league championship.

The Tigers scored 24 points, followed by Eureka with 35.

But the day belonged to Ashby, who is closing out her high school career in style.

And that doesn’t surprise her head coach Will Zerlang.

“The big thing about Sequoia is she’s very very diligent and dedicated in her training,” he said. “She’s very adamant about how much she needs to run. She always gets her running in and she’s very focused on her running.

“She loves to run. That’s the big thing about Sequoia.”

She also sets a good example for her teammates, which is one of the reasons Zerlang named her as team captain this season.

“She’s good at keeping everyone in line,” he said. “She’s a phenomenal person.”

Ashby and the rest of the league’s top runners will now turn their attention to the upcoming North Coast Section championships, which will take place a week from Saturday.

The Arcata girls will also compete at the NCS meet, led by DeCarli, Nicole Nozawa, Josephine Maguire, Sasha Love and Sydney Ventuleth.

DeCarli is enjoying an outstanding debut season competing at the high school level and finished the league championships in a time of 21:12, followed by Eureka’s Miriam Mende in third in a time of 21:39.

File photo – Bella DeCarli

File photo – Miriam Mende

The consistent Mende has given the Loggers a potent one-two punch in league races this fall.

“She’s a very steady runner and a huge part of the team,” Zerlang said of Mende. “She’s had a great season. And Miriam is a really good middle distance track runner. I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do (in the spring).”

Nozawa placed fourth on the day in a time of 22:01, followed by Hoopa’s Julia Jackson in fifth in a time of 22:23.

Maguire, Love and Ventuleth were the next three girls across the finish line, with the Fortuna duo of Brida Lester and Gabby Crosswhite rounding out the top 10.

DeCarli wasn’t the only freshman to impress, with Arcata teammates Sonya Chisholm and Zoe Cappuccio placing 12th and 13th, respectively, following Eureka sophomore Summer Morales in 11th.

File photo – Julia Jackson

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