ATHLETES AND TEAM OF THE WEEK — An inspiring week in local sports

Submitted photo – The Ferndale and South Fork girls teams line up together before Wednesday’s NCS playoff game in a show of support for South Fork’s Raelyn Hawkins.

By Ray Hamill — It was an inspiring week in H-DNL sports, something that is reflected in this week’s Athletes and Team of the Week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.

Our team of the week goes to the Ferndale girls basketball team, but this time it’s for what they’ve achieved off the court rather than their success on it.

Our athletes of the week honors, meanwhile, got to four worthy wrestlers who qualified for this week’s state championships, including one Eureka freshman who stunned the field at the NCS championships last weekend.

Joshua Hannan

Gerard Marshall, center


Gerard Marshall, Hoopa Wrestling, Junior

Joshua Hannan, Arcata Wrestling, Junior

Savannah Williams, Del Norte Wrestling, Senior

Lucia Romero, Eureka Wrestling, Freshman

The four local qualifiers for this year’s CIF Wresting Championships represented the H-DNL well while showcasing just how competitive the league is in wrestling right now.

Heading into Saturday, Hoopa’s Gerard Marshall remains alive in the consolation bracket after going 1-1 on the opening day and following that by winning two elimination matches on Friday.

Last weekend, he won the NCS 285-pound championship with a dominating display.

Joshua Hannan also enjoyed a memorable week, following his NCS title at 126 with a strong showing at the state championships while gaining some valuable experience that will serve him well next year.

The Arcata junior dropped his opening match at state, but battled back to win two matches on Friday in the consolation bracket, before eventually bowing out of the tourney in the consolation round of 16.

Savannah Williams after placing third at the NCS championships.

Lucia Romero

Savannah Williams closed out her high school with a bang, winning one of her matches in her consolation bracket at the state tourney on Friday and finishing the tournament 1-2.

She also placed third at last week’s NCS championships.

Lucia Romero, meanwhile, gained some valuable experience after reaching the tournament in stunning fashion with a fourth-place finish at sections, and that should stand to her going forward with three more years on the high school mats still ahead.

After not winning a match in two months, Romero rose to the occasion with back-to-back wins over highly-ranked opponents at the section tournament.


Ferndale Girls Basketball 

The Wildcats are one win from an NCS championship, but it’s their actions off the court this week that really earned them the respect of the rest of the H-DNL.

The high-flying Ferndale girls showed their support for a league rival — South Fork’s Raelyn Hawkins, who is battling cancer — before their playoff game with the Cubs on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats made up t-shirts for both teams that read “Cats and Cubs Unite” on the front, and “#RAESTRONG” on the back, and both teams lined up together in a show of support for Hawkins before the game.

It was a touching moment that earned them the respect of the local sports community, including South Fork Athletic Director Brandy Pancoast, who expressed her appreciation for the gesture in a letter to The Redhead Blackbelt.

“We are in complete awe of this gesture and kindness,” Pancoast wrote. “The sense of community feels amazing and is much appreciated.”

For more on the story, see Ferndale players show their support for opponent with touching gesture …

Leave a Reply