By Ray Hamill — What a week for local sports and one that gave us plenty of options for this week’s athletes and teams of the week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.
In cross country, it was a particularly impressive week for Eureka junior Charlotte Leonard, who was crowned H-DNL girls cross country champion on Saturday.
It was also a big week for Emma Wilson and the St. Bernard’s girls soccer team, which won a North Coast Section championship on Wednesday.
Wilson capped a big season playing for the Crusaders with six goals in two playoff games, including four in the championship game.
And that makes her our co-girls athlete of the week along with Leonard.
Another St. Bernard’s senior also features this week.
Dominic Kofi has been one of the top lineman in H-DNL football all season and has been on fire in the trenches the past two weekends, which earns him our boys athlete of the week honor.
Our team of the week, meanwhile, is shared by two teams, or three actually.
In football, the Hoopa Warriors incredibly posted three shutouts in just eight days to make the NCS playoffs.
Even more impressively, they managed it against three teams that had previously beaten them.
Talk about a turnaround.
The Arcata boys and girls cross country teams also deserve recognition this week after closing out a dominating H-DNL season with league pennants on Saturday.
An honorable mention this week to the NCS champion SB girls soccer team, which was our team of the week two weeks go after clinching a league title.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
St. Bernard’s Football, Senior
Along with teammate Perry Bailey, Kofi has set the tone along a dominating defensive line all season long for the Crusaders, but particularly the last two weeks in shutout victories over Eureka and Fortuna.
The Crusaders have posted a very impressive four wins over Eureka and Fortuna combined this fall and Kofi has played a pivotal role in achieving that.
The physicality he brings to the interior line has been invaluable for head coach Matt Tomlin and his team.
For more on Kofi and St. Bernard’s, see Defense dominates again as Crusaders get set for NCS with shutout win …
St. Bernard’s Soccer, Senior
Wilson has impressed with the Crusaders for her entire high school career, but never more so than this season.
The senior striker scored in every single game and finished the campaign with 27 goals, including three hat tricks.
She netted four times in Wednesday’s NCS championship showdown at Upper Lake after scoring twice in the final few minutes to help lead her team back from the brink of elimination in a semifinal game against Ferndale on Friday.
For more on Wilson and the SB girls, see St. Bernard’s clinch second straight NCS crown …
Eureka Cross Country, Junior
There’s something to be said for peaking at the right time in any sport, but especially cross country, and no one did that better this year than Leonard.
The hard-working junior saved her best for last with the most impressive run of her career in the final race of the H-DNL season at Saturday’s league cross country championships.
Leonard set a PR on her way to victory at the Arcata Marsh and almost led the Eureka girls to a team championship.
The Loggers also had impressive -performances from Miriam Mendes and Charlotte’s twin sister Stasha, each of whom also placed in the top five.
For more on the big meet, see Leonard leads the way at H-DNL cross country championships …
Unfortunately for the Eureka girls, they lost the team championship to Arcata by just one point.
Which brings us on to our teams of the week …
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
Arcata Cross Country
They had to dig deep for it, but the Arcata girls are H-DNL champions again after edging the Loggers for the pennant at the Arcata Marsh on Saturday.
And so too is a very deep Arcata boys team.
The girls were led by Ai-Lan McGoldrick in third and had five of the top-10 finishers, including Alauna Thompson(sixth), Gabrielle Ducate (seventh), Lillian Cunningham (eighth) and Sydney Trieu (ninth).
The boys were led by league champion Jude Ortega and comfortably out-distanced the field for the title.
Reece Thompson (sixth), Tobias Sanchez (seventh), Lucas Blair (eighth) and Luke Moxon (10th) gave Arcata five runners in the top 10.
Head coach James Washington continues to work his magic.
For more on the Arcata boys, see Ortega leads Tigers to league title in cross country …
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a football team posting three shutouts in eight days, at least not before the Warriors managed it last week.
With their playoff hopes on life support, the team’s defense stepped up big-time down the stretch to catapult the Warriors from last place in the Little 4 standings to second.
Hoopa opens the NCS playoffs at Clear Lake on Friday night and will carry a lot of momentum and confidence into the game.
For more on Hoopa football, see Warriors upset the Tigers with third shutout in eight days …