By Ray Hamill — If there’s one thing we learned from the 2021 high school sports year more than anything else, it’s that the future appears to be in good hands.
Across the board at most of the schools and in most of the different sports, we saw a group of hugely talented sophomores and freshmen emerge this past spring, giving us a taste of what’s to come over the next few years.
The high school sports year may have been a short one, and it may have seemed a little hectic at times, but getting to compete will help prepare the underclassmen for next year when many of them will really start to shine.
Of course, the abundance of young talent wasn’t the only talking point from the most unusual year in the history of high school sports here on the North Coast.
It’s certainly not something we’ll see every year, but several teams completed a perfect campaign in the shortened seasons and they deserve recognition for that.
At Eureka High, the girls soccer and softball teams both were undefeated, as was the football team and the boys golf team.
Arcata also posted perfection on several fronts, including boys and girls tennis, girls cross country, girls golf and boys basketball.
Hoopa softball also was perfect, as was Fortuna boys soccer, boys track and field and girls basketball.
All in all, it was an impressive showing for all of those teams, who closed out worthy champs, even if some were not officially crowned champions.
One of these teams will be named Humboldt Sports Team of Year in our end-of-year awards, which will be announced on Monday afternoon.
A greater appreciation for local sports
Numerous local student athletes fought hard for their seasons early this year in the midst of so much uncertainty, and their perseverance paid off for everyone.
And when we did return to action, there was clearly a greater appreciation across the board, shown by athletes, coaches, parents and fans in general.
As many coaches expressed to me over the past few months, when you have something taken away you realize just how much it means to you.
It will be a while before anyone around here takes community sports for granted again.
Great job by the H-DNL administration and volunteers
It may not have been noticed by the casual observer, but the effort and work put in behind the scenes to make sure the seasons went ahead deserves special recognition.
League commissioner Jack Lakin and the league ADs spent countless hours and zoom meetings figuring out how to pull it off, and that was just the beginning of the process.
The mandatory testing and restrictions were things we’ve never seen before and presented countless logistical hurdles.
So congratulations, not just to all the student athletes who helped make this work, but to all the administrators, coaches and parents who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.