By Ray Hamill — The competitive balance in girls sports in this year’s Big 5 is reflected in the list of finalists for our Big 5 Girls Athlete of the Year.
All five schools have at least two athletes each named among our 15 finalists, all of whom were all-league (first-team) selections in at least two sports each or three-sport standouts.
Our Big 5 Girls Athlete of the Year is one of six awards we will be presenting in the coming days, along with our Big 5 Boys Athlete of the Year, Little 4 Boys and Girls Athletes of the Year, Team of the Year and Coach of the Year.
And thanks to our awards sponsors — The Stove Doctors, Six Rivers Property Management and Mendes Supply Company — we will be handing out plaques to recognize the winners in all six categories.
Here then are our finalists for Big 5 Girls Athlete of the Year …
Beach closed out her high school career in style with outstanding and successful senior seasons in basketball and softball.
The Loggers standout is a rare two-sport MVP in the Big 5.
Del Norte, Sophomore
One of three sophomores listed among our finalists, Curtis has been a force for the Warriors in both volleyball and softball since breaking into both teams as a freshman.
This year she was named all-league in both sports and appears to have a huge upside.
The talented all-around junior is one of the Huskies’ best players in three different sports, each of which she received all-league recognition in.
Fennell was named all-league first team in volleyball and received an all-league honorable mention in both basketball and softball.
Del Norte, Senior
The Del Norte senior has been one of the top softball players in the Big 5 for the past few seasons, but also has been making a name for herself in H-DNL golf.
As expected, Heuberger was named all-league in softball, and she also placed seventh overall in H-DNL golf this year, receiving all-league honors in the sport.
One of five juniors listed among our finalists, Johnston enjoyed a big year for the Huskies in multiple sports.
The Fortuna standout was named first-team all-league in both volleyball and softball.
The best distance runner in the H-DNL made a mark for herself in multiple sports, earning all-league honors in soccer and winning both the 1,600m and 3,200m in track and field.
She likely also would have been league champion in cross country had she opted to compete in that sport instead of soccer.
The twin sister of Anneli also was named all-league in soccer after leading the Tigers to a Big 5 championship and also was an H-DNL champion in the 800 meters in track and field.
Like her sister, Mathilde is one of the top cross country runners in the area but choose to compete in soccer this year instead.
Del Norte, Senior
A three-sport standout, McCovey was the Warriors’ lone all-league selection in soccer.
The College of the Redwoods track commit also played a key role for the Del Norte basketball team, before capping an outstanding all-around year with a big spring in track and field in multiple events.
Arguably the most athletic of our finalists, the Eureka junior standout was a force in soccer, basketball and softball.
She received an all-league honorable mention in soccer and was named first-team all-league in basketball and softball, and could easily have been the Big 5 MVP in either of the latter two.
Another multi-sport standout, Napoleon was outstanding on the volleyball court and a key contributor in basketball and softball.
The junior was named all-league in volleyball and received honorable mentions in both basketball and softball.
Del Norte, Sophomore
Still only a sophomore, Nunez is arguably the most athletic of the four Warriors included among our finalists.
She was an all-league selection in volleyball and basketball and a league champion in track and field.
Another three-sport standout, Pinard is coming off big seasons in volleyball, basketball and softball.
The Panthers junior was named all-league first-team in softball and received an honorable mention in volleyball and basketball.
One of two Panthers among our finalists, Reyes is one of the best high school soccer players on the North Coast and a deserved all-league selection in the sport.
She also impressed in track and field and won the league title in the 400m, while placing in the top-four in both the 200m and 100m.
The talented Sarchett is more than just a good softball player.
She is without doubt one of the best bats in the Big 5 (and a pretty good catcher) and was named all-league in the sport, but she also placed fifth in H-DNL golf and was named all-league in that sport too.
A three-sport standout for the Panthers, the senior closed out her high school with another big year.
Tinney was named all-league in soccer and basketball and also enjoyed a good spring in track and field.