For the first time in over five years, the Dunsmuir High School track and field team will be represented at the Northern Section Finals, scheduled for this Friday in Cottonwood.
Six of the 12-member Tiger team qualified to advance from this past Friday’s Division 4 Championship meet, which was held on the same West Valley High School track.
It took a victory at the Division 4 meet to earn a spot in the Section Finals, from which the top competitor in each even will advance to the state championships.
Dunsmuir’s only senior, Corey Knowles, won the 200m (24.38) and was third in the 100m (11.88).
Theresa Kessler won the discus with a throw of 93 feet, 8 inches, beating her closest competitor by almost 7 feet.
The Lady Tiger 4×100 relay team, the favorite coming into the Division 4 event, delivered a victory despite injuries, edging University Prep by .03 seconds (56.00 – 56.03).
The girls relay race was a crowd favorite, according to Tiger head coach Steve Van Ert.
Anna Van Ert slipped on the start, putting the Tigers behind, according to the coach, but sophomore Katie McIntyre sped into the lead on the second leg, giving Chelsea MacGinnis and Samantha Schroeder the opportunity to bring it home.
“Sam pegged the win, despite having her shin guards wrapped around her ankles, with a quick lean across the line,”?the coach said. “This is a team with a lot of heart and dedication. Chelsea MacGinnis has been out of practice for two weeks with a groin pull, and Samantha Schroeder has had to push through the pain of shin splints. Sophomore Katie McIntyre is a first year mid-distance runner, and Anna Van Ert is a thrower for the team.”
Overall, the Tigers’ boys team finished 4th out of 15 teams, but only 8 points away from second place.
The Lady Tigers placed 7th with 33 points, nine points off of fourth place Loyalton.
The Tigers competed in a total of 17 events. They placed in the top 3 for 10 of those events and scored team points in 15.
Jordan VanWilgen finished third and set a new PR in the 800m (2:13.35). He was also third in the high jump (4-8), fourth in the 400m and fifth in the 110m high hurdles with a PR of 18.71.
Nate Gonzales took third in the triple jump with a PR of 37-4.25 and fifth in the long jump (18-8).
The Dunsmuir boys 4×100 relay team of Justin Shuler, Matt Norton, Nate Gonzales and Corey Knowles finished third in 47.15.
Norton qualified for Division 4 in several events, but due to illness was not able to compete beyond the relay. “It is amazing that he even showed up today! He was still running a fever and insisted that he had to run the relay for his team,” coach Van Ert said. “It is that kind of dedication from our Tiger athletes that has had such a profound impact for all of our school teams.”
Katie McIntyre claimed a third in the long jump (14-11.5). Samantha Schroeder was third in the 100m (14.01). Anna Van Ert took sixth in the discus with a PR of 72-2. Theresa Kessler also took seventh in the shot put (24-5).
Dunsmuir’s only JV track and field athlete this year, Amanda McWhorter, placed fifth in shot put (20-1.5) and eighth in the 100m dash.
The Section Finals is scheduled to start Friday night, during the same time that Dunsmuir High is holding its 2009 graduation ceremonies. Coach Van Ert said that means Corey Knowles will not compete, but Kessler and the Lady Tiger relay team do plan to compete.
Kessler, an exchange student who was also a member of the Dunsmuir league championship softball team, said she’ll attempt to “break the 100 foot mark and bring home one final medal for the year.”
Knowles is continuing to train as he prepares for football season with College of the Siskiyous, according to the coach.
Katie, Matt, Jay Rhoades and Jordan will compete in Cross-Country next Fall while Anna, Sam and Justin will keep up their training throughout the year as they prepare for next season.
“This was a great year; we made it to the Section finals, ten school records were broken and every athlete improved throughout the season,”?said coach Van Ert. “I can’t say enough about the dedication and drive of these athletes! They are committed to continuous improvement of themselves and to their team. They are set on working towards dominating the field next year with hopes of making it to the Sections and, possibly, a shot at the State Finals. I am already very excited about next season!”