By Ray Hamill — Of the six categories in our high school sports awards this year, the Big 5 Boys Athlete of the Year is the toughest to call.
Our field of finalists includes three legitimate three-sport standouts, as well as several two-sports stars and five league MVPs (or five who should have been), each of whom dominated in their respective sports.
Our Big 5 Boys Athlete of the Year is one of six awards we will be presenting in the coming days, along with our Big 5 Girls 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.
And a big shoutout to Sports World in Eureka for the plaques.
Here then are our finalists for Big 5 Boys Athlete of the Year …
Agliolo had a huge spring on the baseball diamond and was outstanding in all facets of the game.
He was named all-league, but could easily have been a co-Big 5 MVP along with Myles Standish after all he achieved.
A one-sport star, but what a presence.
The junior standout was exceptional once again on the basketball court and earned co-MVP honors after leading the Tigers to a league and Dick Niclai championship double.
One of the most fun athletes of all of our finalists to watch play.
A three-sport star, Chalmers could be the most athletic of our finalists.
The Loggers senior was one of the best football players in the area this year, on both sides of the ball, and was named all-league in both football and basketball, while also impressing in track and field.
One of the two most dominating wrestlers on the North Coast this past winter, along with Hoopa’s Gerard Marshall.
Hannan was crowned NCS champion at 126 pounds and capped an outstanding season by qualifying for the State Championships.
Del Norte, Junior
Loftin (pictured below) had a huge year in football and was named Big 4 Offensive MVP after helping lead the Warriors to 10 straight wins and a league championship.
He was equally impressive on the wrestling mats, placing second at the league championships at 170 pounds.
Another standout in both football and wrestling.
The Huskies senior was named all-league in football and won a league championship on the mats at 182 pounds before going on to place a very impressive fourth at the NCS championships.
Previde had a big year for the Panthers on a couple of sporting fronts.
He was McKinleyville’s best soccer player and the team’s lone all-league selection, while also impressing in track and field and placing sixth in the discus at the NCS Meet of Champions.
The senior standout was instrumental in the Tigers’ success on the basketball court and was named co-Big 5 MVP along with teammate Bento-Jackson.
Another one-sport star who dominated.
Kai’s twin brother was equally impressive on the football field.
Shane should have been named co-league Offensive MVP along with teammate Carson Tucker after throwing for 2,382 yards and a remarkable 39 touchdowns in nine games.
Del Norte, Senior
Another one-sport star, and another who thoroughly dominated.
Arguably the most important piece in the Warriors’ huge season in football, Schauerman was named co-Big 4 MVP Lineman.
Standish was named MVP of the Big 5 in baseball after a big season both on the mound and at the plate.
He had some of the most dominating pitching performances of the spring, including a 47-pitch no-hitter against Fortuna and an incredible 18-strikeout outing against St. Bernard’s in the postseason.
Like Chalmers, Tucker is a legitimate three-sport star.
He should have been named co-MVP in football — if the league and Arcata High hadn’t messed up by leaving the Tigers out of the all-league selections — and he followed that with an all-league selection on the basketball court and a very impressive spring in track and field, where he had three top-three finishes at the league meet.
He finished the football season with more than 1,000 yards receiving and more than 20 TD receptions, including an incredible six TD catches in one game against Ferndale.
Del Norte, Senior
The third three-sport star on our list of finalists.
Zepeda was an all-league section in both soccer and basketball and was a force in track and field, where he placed first in both the triple jump and high jump and had four top-four finishes at the H-DN championships, all in his first spring ever competing in the sport.