By Ray Hamill — It’s been an interesting year in local sports, and a fun one to cover from the sidelines.
This past week, I’ve been busy reliving many of those moments while putting together our list of the biggest and most impactful stories of 2018.
The list, of course, is subjective, and hopefully provides some food for thought, if nothing else. But whether you agree with the order or not, there is little doubt each of these stories had an impact in its own way.
It’s a list that encompasses 13 different sports and 11 local high schools and colleges, showcasing the diversity of local sporting interest, and the diversity of local sporting achievement in 2018.
Among my personal favorite sporting moments of the year, a handful stand out.
Hoopa Valley winning a league title in softball was special to watch, and I’m not sure any championship meant more to any one team in 2018.
A particular congratulations goes out to head coach Glenn Moore and his players. It was one of the standout moments in local sports in 2018.
I had just as much fun covering a phenomenal Eureka football team this past fall, as well as a dominating Eureka girls soccer team, and the Humboldt Eagles 19U all-stars.
Each of them truly special in their own way.
Arguably the most impressive individual performance of the year was St. Bernard’s pitcher Garrison Finck shutting down a very potent Eureka lineup in baseball, the Loggers’ only scoreless outing of the year.
Finck was fun to watch too.
As was the crosstown clash between St. Bernard’s and Eureka in football, the first time the two schools met in the sport in half a century.
Among the most distressing stories of the year, a coin toss to decide a matchup between two top teams was ludicrous, as was stranding a field of cross country runners at the starting line on the very pinnacle of most of their careers.
And all of that nonsense pales in comparison to what went down at Humboldt State in 2018.
Shame on those responsible for all of those decisions.
Most thrilling game
The most thrilling game of the year was surely the Fortuna/St. Bernard’s showdown in football, while the most thrilling finish was surely the HSU women’s basketball team coming from behind to beat UC San Diego and steal the CCAA tournament championship.
Among the biggest surprises, Del Norte boys soccer came within minutes of a first NCS title, while CR’s Angelo Flores won a state title in the javelin.
I’m pretty sure few of us outside of those involved saw those coming.
The closest call on the entire list of top 30 stories was between Nos. 3 and 4.
Eureka’s back-to-back undefeated seasons against top opposition is truly an achievement for the ages, but in the end the Huskies’ drive toward a second straight NCS crown and a local record 10 consecutive playoff wins gave them the edge.
Both programs put together seasons that would have been worthy stories of the year in any other year.
But like I said, 2018 was no ordinary year in local sports.
And finally, five things I’m looking forward to covering in 2019 …
5 — The CR receivers
4 — Trevor Bell
3 — Fortuna boys basketball
2 — Katie Hurst (and Angelo Flores)
1 — The campaign to restore HSU football
Happy New Year!