VOTING HAS CLOSED
By Ray Hamill — As the year 2021 winds down, it’s time to reflect on some of the big local sports stories of the past 12 months, as well as hand out some much-deserved end-of-year awards.
And that includes our 2021 Male Athlete of the Year, with several worthy candidates this year.
A big thank you to all of our readers who took the time to send in their nominations, with a bigger pool of candidates in this category than any other.
Here then are the finalists for Male Athlete of the Year, in alphabetical order, and readers can vote up to once a day before the winner is announced on New Year’s eve. …
Brandon Bento-Jackson — The Arcata junior enjoyed a stellar 2021 on the basketball court and is only getting better.
Hayden Bode — The 2021 Eureka graduate is coming off a big senior year in football and baseball.
Hans Chalmers — A multi-sport junior who had a big impact for the Eureka Loggers in football and basketball in 2021.
Jenner Christiansen — Another multi-sport athlete who enjoyed a stellar senior year at Ferndale High, as well as being a leading voice for the local Let Them Play movement.
Zac Claus — The CR standout has been sensational on the basketball court this year and leads the state in assists.
Bo Cox — The 2021 Fortuna graduate was the top H-DNL athlete in track and field this past spring, and also enjoyed a good season in basketball.
Caleb Dodson — Played a pivotal role in the Warriors success in football and basketball.
Nick Dugan — The Stanford bound St. Bernard’s senior is the best high school baseball player on the North Coast, bar none.
Kokko Figueiredo — The former Fortuna, CR and Crabs baseball player enjoyed a big year that saw him make his Division-I college and pro debuts.
Branson Gans — A multi-sport athlete at Fortuna High, Gans was a force in football, basketball and baseball.
Antonio Garcinuno — The Fortuna soccer standout was named to the Olympic Development program national team, a first-ever for the area.
Jackson Giacone — The Cal State Fullerton commit enjoyed a big year on the baseball diamond and in basketball.
Isaak Gutierrez — The former Eureka Logger continues to impress as a starter on the offensive line at the University of New Mexico.
RJ Loftin — Only a junior, Loftin is coming off a sensational year for Del Norte football.
Kieran McNulty — The former Arcata Tiger swimmer has had an immediate impact for Cal Poly in the collegiate pools.
Cruz Montana — The former Eureka Logger enjoyed a breakout season playing quarterback at Lewis & Clark.
Shane Purcell — The Arcata senior QB threw for 4,201 yards and 61 TDs in 14 games in 2021.
Anthony Slayton — The former Del Norte standout enjoyed a dominating fall at linebacker for Shasta College.
Kenneth Spaight — Another former Eureka Logger who had a very impressive fall playing DB and kick returner at Clarke University.
Joe Tanno — The McKinleyville all-star pitched one of the most incredible perfect games you’ll ever see over the summer, striking out all 18 batters he faced, including 10 of them on just three pitches.