By Ray Hamill — A pair of dominating juniors and two perfect teams highlight this week’s honors, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.
In cross country, McKinleyville’s Damian Dinan has been unstoppable in the H-DNL so far this season and that continued to be the case this week.
Dinan won for the fifth time in five league races at the Arcata Community Forest on Wednesday afternoon.
And he wasn’t the only junior to impress this week.
On the soccer fields, Eureka’s Maia Hales is making a case for the defensive player of the year in H-DNL soccer.
Hales has been a rock at the back for the Loggers, who are unbeaten on the season and were crowned Big 4 champions over the weekend.
The Eureka girls have shut out 10 of their last 11 opponents and Hales has been pivotal in achieving that.
Our team of the week, meanwhile, goes to two undefeated championship teams this week.
On Tuesday night, both Del Norte and St. Bernard’s completed perfect league campaigns on the volleyball court and that gets each of them the nod for this week’s honors.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Eureka Soccer, Junior
Hales was arguably the best defender in the H-DNL as a sophomore and has shown no letdown this season, helping to lead the Eureka girls to their first league title since 2018.
The junior has been as influential as any of her teammates in the team’s 7-0 run through league and you get the feeling she and her teammates are really just getting warmed up.
For more one Hales’ big week, see Eureka girls crowned Big 4 champs with three games remaining …
McKinleyville Cross Country, Junior
After fiver straight league victories, the speedy Dinan will be considered a red-hot favorite for the upcoming league championships.
The junior standout has comfortably out-paced the field all fall and that continued to be the case in Arcata on Wednesday.
For more on his big week, see No slowing down the frontrunners in H-DNL cross country …
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
Del Norte Volleyball
The Warriors left no doubt as to who was the best team in the Big 5 this year.
The dominating Del Norte girls won five of their eight league games in straight sets and dropped just four sets in league play.
With junior McKenna Curtis leading the way, a deep and talented Del Norte roster will go into next week’s NCS playoffs with plenty of momentum.
For more on the Warriors’ big week, see our Big 5 volleyball roundup …
St. Bernard’s Volleyball
Likewise with the Crusaders, who were arguably even more impressive on their way to the Little 4 championship.
The SB girls won seven of their eight games in straight sets and dropped just one set in league play.
Madelyn Shanahan has led the way all season for this team, which also has a deep and talented roster.
For more on their big week, see Little 4 champs complete perfect run through league …