Cross Country

Local youth cross country as popular as ever as season heats up

Photos by Humboldt Redwoods Running Association for Youth

The first local youth cross country season in three years is in full swing, with another busy week planned and the championship event fast approaching.

The season is organized by the Humboldt Redwoods Running Association for Youth (HRRAY) and features races for kindergarten through eighth grade.

The fifth of eight season events was held in Blue Lake on Thursday, with a remarkable 332 runners competing, showcasing the popularity of the sport here on the North Coast.

According to Jack West of HRRAY, this was the largest turnout of the year so far and one of the largest ever for an association event.

“Our youth runners are getting stronger and learning how to compete,” West said.

The winners included Olivia Spellmeyer (Dow’s Prairie) in the girls K-2nd grade race; Xander Edson (Dow’s Prairie) in the boys K-2; Audrey Hayes (Toddy Thomas) in the girls 3-5; Tanner Baxter (Fieldbrook) in the boys 3-5; Bella Decarli (NPA) in the girls 6-8; and Eoin McGoldrick (Jacoby Creek) in the boys 6-8.

The performance by the K-2 girls field was particularly impressive, with the top-five runners outpacing the top five boys.

The season continues with two more events this week, at the Hammond Trail on Tuesday and at Fortuna on Thursday.

The season championships will be held at the Arcata Community Center on Thursday of next week.

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