VOTING HAS NOW CLOSED
By Ray Hamill — A big thank you to everyone who reached out to us over the past week to vote for our end-of-year awards. The response was overwhelming and more than anticipated.
First up, it’s not an exact science, and even if it was there still would be differing opinions on it all.
Did we leave some worthy athletes out? Yes.
Did we leave some worthy teams out? I don’t think so.
The lists of nominees were carefully considered and included candidates who not only achieved a high level of success but also captured the imagination of the Humboldt Sports readers.
There are also only so many nominees we can list, or it dilutes the process.
My apologizes to a few athletes in particular — St. Bernard’s Justin Hagler, former Fortuna star Jenna Christensen, and former Arcata standout Kaylie McCracken — each of whom have enjoyed stellar years and probably should have been included on the list of nominees, as well as any others who may feel slighted.
Some MMA fans also felt Louis Cosce should have been included.
Louis had a fantastic year and appears to be a legitimate up-and-coming star in the sport, as does his brother Orion.
Either could yet be the Humboldt Sports Athlete of the Year each year for the next decade, but that doesn’t mean either of them achieved more than Cass Bell in 2019. Winning at Bear River and Combate Americas, with all due respect, is not the same as winning (all the time) at Bellator, and no local MMA fighter has achieved more at a higher level than Cass Bell or done more to put the sport of MMA on the map locally.
That’s why he was included.
Arcata features two outstanding MMA gyms that are doing a fantastic job serving the local fight community and providing a fantastic platform for the sport in this area.
There is, however, no love lost between these two gyms, which I find somewhat bewildering, and that’s something that does not help to serve the local fight community.
Both of them should be excited by the fact that a local fighter was included on our list of nominees for athlete of the year, a prestigious list, and the fact MMA receives as much attention as it does from local fans and media, because there are a lot of other small sports communities where both of these gyms would be largely ignored instead of celebrated.
Next year, we will open the nominations up to the public a couple of months in advance in order to get a broader view of who you feel should be included.
We live and learn.
As for our team of the year category, I stand by the list of nominations.
There were several other teams considered, and I know some people in Hoopa felt slighted the Warriors softball team was not listed.
Neither were the Arcata or Mack baseball teams, St. Bernard’s girls soccer, Ferndale football, South Fork softball, or Arcata boys and girls tennis, each of which had a fantastic year, among many others.
The 11 teams nominated, however, in my opinion all had greater achievements at a higher level, or featured a season that captured the attention of the North Coast in a way none of the teams we left off the list managed to do.
Of the 11, four competed for or won a state championship, while the four basketball teams on the list were or are currently ranked among the state leaders in their respective divisions.
The other three teams on our list each achieved greater success in their respective fields than any team we left off the list, including the Arcata girls cross country team, which featured seven of the top-10 runners on the North Coast this fall, and what other team can claim 70 percent of the top talent in the H-DNL?
The winners in all four categories will be announced on Tuesday night, along with the first Humboldt Sports Sportsperson of the Year, so that gives fans roughly 24 more hours to get their votes in for all the teams, coaches and athletes we have included on our lists.
For the record, three of the four categories are going right down to the wire and may very well be decided by just a vote or two, most notably coach of the year, so every vote will be crucial.
Click here to vote for Athlete of the Year (Boys) …
Click here to vote for Athlete of the Year (Girls) …
Click here to vote for Coach of the Year …
Click here to vote for Team of the Year …