By Ray Hamill — The H-DNL cross country teams will get a preview of this year’s league championships on Wednesday when they gather for a league meet at the Arcata Marsh.
The league championships will be held at the Marsh in early November.
Heading into the fourth race of the regular season, Jude Ortega has been a consistent frontrunner for the boys, while the race for the girls title appears to be a little more open, although one runner has been building momentum.
“Jude Ortega has looked really strong,” Eureka head coach Matt Messner said of the Arcata senior, who has won all three races so far. “He’s really dominated the boys side.”
Last week at the Arcata Community Forest, in a league meet hosted by Northcoast Prep, Ortega placed first in a time of 17 minutes, 40.1 seconds, almost a minute and a half ahead of the field.
McKinleyville’s Damian Dinan was second in a time 19:06.1, followed by Northcoast Prep’s Jaxon Peaker (19:18.1) in third.
Eureka’s Daniel Shaver (19:25.1) was fourth and Arcata’s Luke Moxon (19:39.4) was fifth, followed in turn by Arcata’s Reese Thompson, Lucas Blair and Andrew Trieu, Eureka’s Wyatt Zerlang and NCP’s Summit Hodgson.
Arcata won the team event, followed by McKinleyville and Eureka.
For the girls, Arcata’s Ai-Lan McGoldrick has recently rediscovered the form that saw her dominate the field two years ago as a freshman.
McGoldrick has won the past two races, her first league victories since her freshman campaign, although Eureka’s Charlotte Leonard and Fortuna’s Ella Owsley are both also expected to challenge for a league title this year as they build toward the league championships.
Last week McGoldrick won in a time of 21:48.3, well over a minute ahead of Leonard (23:03.5) and Owsley (23:04.5).
Arcata’s Gabrielle Ducate (23:13.1) and Raven Alvarez (23:18.6) rounded out the top five, followed in turn by Eureka’s Miriam Mende, Fortuna’s Gabby Crosswhite, Eureka’s Maggie Odell, Eureka’s Sequoia Ashby and Arcata’s Aluana Thompson.
Arcata also won the team event over Eureka.
This week’s races will be held on a flat course, unlike the hilly courses of the past two weeks at the Arcata Community Forest and Rohner Park in Fortuna, and times should be faster because of it.
The girls get the action under way at 4 p.m., followed by the boys at 4:30.