By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs continue to add some serious local talent in track and field, as a recent local recruiting push is showing signs of paying off.
This week, Eureka senior Ian Bennett became the latest H-DNL standout to commit his immediate athletic future to College of the Redwoods.
Bennett is the 2021 H-DNL boys champion in the 800 meters and was a runner-up in both the 1600m and 3200m.
The Logger graduate will also compete for the Corsairs in cross country after he placed second at the H-DNL championships earlier in the year.
“He’s fast,” CR track and cross country head coach Reed Elmore said. “He’s really fast. And he’s just a good kid and a really good competitor and a really good teammate.”
Bennett had a letter signing ceremony at Eureka High this week and will be joined at CR by Loggers teammate Thomas Becannon, another distance runner who has committed his future to the local community college.
Elmore expects both runners to have an immediate impact at CR, and that having them together will help them push each other.
Becannon will compete in the mile and the 5,000m, as well as in cross country.
“He’s a student of the sport,” Elmore said. “He knows all about it. He loves the sport and he can talk for hours about it.”
Both runners are well capable of taking their talents to a four-year school after their time at CR.
“Ian definitely has the talent,” Elmore said. “They both have the talent.”
The CR coach believes that Bennett could be better than former Corsairs standout Nicholas Brichta, an Arcata runner who went on to compete at Division-I UC Davis a few years back.
Elmore has been pushing hard to build a relationship with the local track and running community over the past decade, and his program helps organize several youth meets every spring.
And it’s a relationship that is starting to pay big dividends with more local athletes signing up to compete for the Corsairs over the last couple of years.
“Talented guys are starting to come here,” Elmore said. “I think now kids are seeing CR as a viable stepping stone.”
Several other local stars have also committed to compete at CR, including Hoopa’s Larry Tracy, who will compete in track and play football for the Corsairs.
Elmore also has received verbal commitments from McKinleyville’s Issac Ward and Nathan Witte.
Ward was one of the top sprinters in the H-DNL this past season, placing first in the 200m and second in the 100m.
Witte, meanwhile, was one of the top hurdlers, placing second in the 110m hurdles.
Both Ward and Witte also won a league title as part of the Mack 4x400m relay team.
Fortuna’s Tai Bolden and Arcata’s Cheyenne Wilson have also verbally committed to compete for the CR track team.
Bolden will compete in the long jump and the sprints, while Wilson will compete in the sprints for the CR women.
Along with Tracy and Ward, they will give the Corsairs a big local presence in the sprints, with three of the five fastest male seniors in the H-DNL this spring all committing to CR.
According to Elmore, Eureka’s Sean Holt also has verbally committed to CR, where he will compete in the high jump and the discus, while fellow Logger Diego Rascon will compete alongside Becannon in the distance runs and cross country.