Athletes and teams of the week


Photos by Ray Hamill/ – The McKinleyville Panthers celebrate their NCS crown.

By Ray Hamill — In our final Athletes and Teams of the Week until August, we honor two more local North Coast Section championship teams, as well as a couple of athletes who led their respective teams to seasons they won’t soon forget.

Both the McKinleyville softball and the Arcata baseball teams closed out the year in style by winning their respective NCS Division-IV championships last week, and that earns them our co-Team of the Week honors.

Junior pitcher Merek Sears played a huge role in the Tigers’ win, with yet another dominating performance on the mound, earning him one of our Athlete of the Week honors.

Olivia Alves, meanwhile, continued to set the tone for the Mack girls behind the plate, displaying an inspirational toughness in the biggest game of her career.



Merek Sears

Arcata Baseball, Junior

Sears was simply sensational yet again in leading the Tigers to a 3-0 win over their arch rivals McKinleyville in last Wednesday’s championship showdown.

Sears gave up just four hits in the complete-game shutout win, while striking out seven, and came away with the biggest win of his young prep career.

For more on Sears big day, see Tigers step up on biggest stage of all …


Olivia Alves

McKinleyville Softball, Senior

Alves broke her thumb in the opening inning of Tuesday’s NCS win, but downplayed the injury to stay in the game and gave yet another team-leading performance from behind the plate.

The senior catcher has been an inspiration on both sides of the plate all season, and closes out her high school career at the pinnacle.

For more on Alves big day, see No denying Mack girls on thrilling and historic run …



McKinleyville Softball

The Panthers closed out a memorable season with an 11-1 win over St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the NCS decider last Tuesday.

The section crown was added to the team’s Big 5 and H-DNL tournament titles, giving the Panthers an historic treble.

For more on the Mack girls big week, see No denying Mack girls on thrilling and historic run …


Arcata Baseball

The Tigers saved the best for last, ending a three-game losing streak against McKinleyville with a 3-0 win over their big rivals in the section championship game.

The NCS crown was the second in four years for Arcata.

For more on the program’s big win, see Tigers step up on biggest stage of all …

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