By Ray Hamill — Arcata’s Jude Ortega is running with a lot of confidence right now.
On Wednesday, Ortega won for the fourth time in four H-DNL races this season, placing first at the Arcata Marsh in a time of 16 minutes, 48.6 seconds.
Once again, he comfortably outpaced the field and set a new PR in very windy conditions, and right now he looks like he will be tough to stop this season with the league championships and postseason fast approaching.
McKinleyville’s Damian Dinan continues to be Ortega’s closest challenger and on Wednesday he placed second to the Arcata senior for the fifth time this season, including the Clam Beach Invitational.
The standout sophomore, who looks to have a bright future in the sport, finished in a time of 17:35.32, which was also a PR, and he led the Panthers to a second-placed team finish on the day, behind the Tigers.
Eureka junior Daniel Shaver was third on the day with a very strong showing, as he continues to improve.
Shaver finished in a time of 17:45.92, his best time ever, giving the top three finishers PRs.
McKinleyville’s Cody Rheinschmidt (18:11.05) placed fourth and was the top senior on the day, followed by Northcoast Prep senior Jaxon Peaker (18:12.38).
The Tigers took the next three spots, displaying their depth this year, with junior Tobias Sanchez in sixth, followed by Reece Thompson in seventh and Luke Moxon in eighth.
Thompson and Moxon were the top two freshmen on the day.
Brookings-Harbor senior Everest Abblitt placed ninth to lead the Bruins, who made the trip for the race, and Arcata junior Lucas Blair rounded out the top 10.
The Tigers, who had five of the top 10, scored 31 points, followed by McKinleyville (65), Eureka (77), Northcoast Prep (101), Fortuna (111) and Del Norte (114).
The league competes at Del Norte next week and will close out the regular season at McKinleyville the following week.
For a report on the girls race, see McGoldrick setting the pace again in the H-DNL …