Less than five seconds separated the top two finishers in Wednesday’s H-DNL boys cross country season opener at Del Norte, with Collin Stockwell and Ian Bennett leading the field as expected.
Fortuna’s Stockwell got the win in a time of 16 minutes, 22.81 seconds, with Eureka’s Bennett right on his tail and crossing the finish line in a time of 16:27.0.
The duo are the favorites to compete for top spot in league this season and they remain the runners to beat after the first of four races in what will be a shortened campaign because of COVID restrictions.
“They were neck and neck the whole way,” said Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes, whose boys edged out Eureka by just a single point for the team win. “Collin just found another gear at the end and got him.
“Talk about driven. He’s driven, and I’ve been super impressed with what he’s doing.”
The Fortuna boys scored 27 points for the team win, with defending league champions Eureka just a point back.
Antonio Garcinuno was third best on the day (17:26.3), almost a minute back of Bennett, with Eureka’s Daniel Shaver (17:55.7) and Kaelan Docherty (17:55.9) separated by less than a second and also placing in the top five.
Logan Calvert (Fortuna), Braiden Barsanti (Fortuna), Aaron Martinez (Del Norte), Thomas Becannon (Eureka) and Diego Gonzalez (Eureka) rounded out the top 10.
The Arcata Tigers picked up just where they left off last season with the top three individual finishers and the team win.
Anneli Macdonald was first home in a time of 18:21.1, less than a second ahead of Mathilde Macdonald (18:21.71) in second.
Freshman Soquel Macdonald was third home in a time of 19:55.1.
Arcata had five of the top 10 runners and won the team competition with 22 points, with Eureka scoring 33 points for second.
The Loggers had four runners in the top 10, paced by sophomores Charlotte Leonard (20:43.6) in fourth and Maggie Odell (21:37.5) in fifth.
Miriam Mende (Eureka), Ai-Lan McGoldrick (Arcata), KyleeAnna Zink-Clinton (Eureka), Soffia Reyes (McKinleyville) and Alauna Thompson (Arcata) rounded out the top 10.
The Arcata girls also took the top three spots in the JV race, with Cassidy Thorpe first home, ahead of teammates Sydney Trieu and Sadie Breen.
Eureka’s Bella Vigil was fourth best, with teammate Abby Sequoia in fifth.
In the boys JV race, Del Norte freshman Bronson Early took first, ahead of Eureka’s Nolan Jacobus, Fortuna’s Cayden Danbrauskas, Eureka’s Silvio Salmeron and Eureka’s Ben Gomersoll.
The next H-DNL race is scheduled for next Wednesday at the Arcata Marsh.