By Ray Hamill — Jude Ortega set an impressive pace at the season-opening H-DNL cross country meet at the Eureka Municipal Golf Course on Wednesday.
The Arcata senior won with a time of 16 minutes, 55 seconds, outdistancing the field by 47 seconds and leading a very strong showing by the Tigers, who placed six runners in the top 10.
McKinleyville sophomore Damian Dinan placed second (17:42), with senior teammate Cody Rheinschmidt (18:11) edging Eureka’s Daniel Shaver (18:12) by just one second in an exciting finish for third.
The Tigers, who feature a large roster this season, comfortably took the team event with 27 points, which was well ahead of McKinleyville (46), with Fortuna (87), Del Norte (97) and Eureka (102) rounding out the top five.
Arcata freshman Luke Moxon placed fifth individually, followed by teammates Tobias Sanchez, Lucas Blair and Reece Thompson, with Fortuna’s Mathew Hansen in ninth and Arcata’s Andrew Trieu in 10th.
Girls race features exciting finish
Three different schools were represented in the top four in the girls race, which featured an exciting finish, with Eureka’s Charlotte Leonard barely edging out Fortuna’s Ella Owsley for first.
Leonard, a junior, crossed the line with a time of 20:41.0, just half a second ahead of Owsley, also a junior.
Eureka’s Miriam Mende placed third (21:36), followed by Arcata’s Gabrielle Ducate (21:43) and Raven Alvarez (22:25).
The Loggers placed four runners in the top eight and took the team event with 23 points, with Arcata (32) in second.
Eureka’s Maggie Odell placed sixth, with Fortuna’s Gabby Crosswhite, Eureka’s Stasha Leonard, Arcata’s Lillian Cunningham and Arcata’s Alauna Thompson rounding out the top 10.