(Updated on Nov. 4 with complete results)
By Ray Hamill — It doesn’t get much closer than this.
Both the individual and team titles in the boys race at the Humboldt-Del Norte League cross country championships went down to the wire at the Arcata Marsh on Saturday.
McKinleyville’s Adam Vera barely edged out Fortuna’s Collin Stockwell at the finish line for the individual crown.
It was an even closer finish in the team race, which was ultimately decided on a tiebreaker and went down to each team’s sixth best runner, with McKinleyville again edging out Fortuna.
“It was a great race,” McKinleyville head coach Amber Coley said. “It was super competitive.”
Vera, a senior, used his closing speed to edge the Fortuna sophomore for his second consecutive league title.
In the girls race, Arcata’s Riley Martel-Phillips was first home to lead the dominating Arcata girls to the team title.
The Tigers took the top three spots, with Martel-Phillips’ teammates Claire Monge and Vivian Gerstein also continuing to impress.
McKinleyville’s Cody Rheinschmidt won the boys’ JV race, ahead of Arcata’s Ian Letts and Kaleb Asldon-Brown in second and third, respectively.
In the girls’ JV race, Arcata’s Jenna Furtado was first, followed by Eureka’s Elon Torres and Arcata’s Kaley Johnson.
New school record for Vera
The most exciting race of the day was the boys varsity.
In addition to taking the individual title, Vera also set a new school record with his time of 16:21, breaking the old mark set by Nate Prince back in the early 2000s.
Vera’s teammate West Wood also had a huge day, finishing third in a time of 16:32, and continuing his late-season surge with a new personal best.
“He’s definitely come on the last few weeks,” Coley said of Wood. “We’ve been watching his times really improve.”
Fortuna’s Agustin Garcinuno was fourth in a time of 16:35, followed by Arcata’s Miska Evans in fifth (16:54).
Both McKinleyville and Fortuna each finished with 40 points in the team event, setting up a tiebreaker situation to decide the champion.
And that meant the title came down to each team’s sixth best runner, with Mack edging out the Huskies by one spot.
“It’s a heartbreak for us, but it is what it is,” Fortuna co-coach Josh Quintal said.
The Huskies did finish with an impressive four White Stars, or all-league awards, which go to the top seven finishers in each race.
In addition to Stockwell and Garcinuno, Bo Cox and Maggie Stacy all placed in the top seven in their respective races.
“It was exciting, I don’t think we’ve ever had a cross country team where so many kids got white stars,” Quintal said. “For us it’s pretty impressive, we’re usually known for soccer and football.”
Cox placed sixth, followed by Arcata’s Miles Johnson in seventh and McKinleyville’s Max Combs in eighth.
McKinleyville had four finishers in the top 10, including Owen Lien in ninth.
And it was the four, five and six finishers for the Panthers that paved the way for the team title.
“They just really stepped up this season,” Coley said.
Sebastian Reyes was 19th overall for Mack, the team’s fifth finisher.
With the title being decided on a tiebreak, it was McKinleyville’s sixth runner, Ryan Dolan, who clinched the deal, finishing in 20th, just spot ahead of Fortuna’s sixth best finisher, Logan Calvert.
Fortuna’s Andrew Hansen placed 10th overall, followed by five straight Eureka runners, Will Barbee, Silvio Salmeron, Jaeden Thayer, Dimitri Stefanakis and Ethan Pesch.
Arcata’s Amos Whitney and Ben Narwold were 16th and 17th, respectively, followed by Futuna’s Adam Calvert in 18th.
Eureka was third in the team championship with 65 points, three ahead of Arcata in fourth.
Third title for Martel-Phillips
For the girls, Martel-Phillips won her third straight league crown in dominating fashion, finishing in a time of 19:24, an impressive 45 seconds ahead of Monge (20:09) in second place.
Gerstein rounded out the top three in a time of 20:11.
It was also the fourth consecutive White Star for Martel-Phillips and McKinleville’s Cecelia Ferreira, who was sixth home in a time of 21:47.
Del Norte’s Julia de solini capped an impressive league campaign with a fourth-placed finish (20:15), followed by Arcata’s Aleesa Lewis (21:42) in fifth..
Stacy was seventh, with Eureka’s KyleeAnna Zink Clinton, Arcata’s Maddie Goley and McKinleyville’s Hope Kibby rounding out the top 10.
In the team event, Arcata was first with a total of 17 points, followed by Eureka (56) and Fortuna (60).
Camrin Dolcini (Fortuna), Tamia Crackel (McKinleyville), Sydney Trieu (Arcata), Christina Smith (Eureka) and Kylee Swanson (Arcata) finished 11th through 15th, followed in turn by Kenna Wendt (Eureka), Catherine Gierek (Eureka), Morgan Murray (Fortuna), Hannah Kingstrom (Eureka) and Bella Ely (Northeast Prep).