By Ray Hamill — There were a lot of big stories in local sports this week, including a pair of Humboldt County youth wrestlers winning a state championship and an upset on the softball fields that not everyone saw coming.
And that means we have plenty of worthy candidates for our athletes and team of the week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.
Nine-year-old Cannon Renner and 11-year-old Taylor Bell both traveled to Fresno this past week to compete in the USA Wrestling California state championships in Greco-Roman wrestling and both came back with a state championships.
But just as he has quickly taken to the new sport, he also quickly took to the different style and won his way to a first-ever state championship.
Bell was arguably even more impressive, winning a state title in both the girls and boys Greco-Roman brackets and going a perfect 8-0 in matches.
The Greco-Roman title follows the state championship she won in Folkstyle last month and she’ll go for a rare triple crown of state championship when she competes in the Freestyle tournament in June.
Joining them as one of our athletes off the week is the very impressive Derek Ray.
The McKinleyville senior is enjoying an outstanding season in track and field, and placed first in the shot put for the fourth time in four league meets at Del Norte on Wednesday.
Ray also has the best mark in the event in the entire North Coast Section this spring, and by some margin too.
Our team of the week, meanwhile, goes to the surging Hoopa Warriors softball team.
The Hoopa girls have won 16 straight games and will try to secure a fourth straight outright league title when they host St. Bernard’s on Saturday.
On Thursday, they posted their most impressive win of the season when they beat Big 5 leaders Eureka 8-1.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
McKinleyville Track and Field, Senior
Ray will go into next week’s H-DN championships as the firm favorite in the shot put and a legitimate contender in the discus.
His throw of 57’6” at last week’s league meet is almost four feet better than anyone in the NCS this season and he also has the seventh NCS best mark in the discus.
The league championships will be held at Fortuna next week.
The two young Redwood Empire Wrestling Association grapplers enjoyed a week that neither of them will forget any time soon.
Bell displayed her toughness by winning Greco-Roman state titles in the boys and girls brackets and was a very impressive 8-0 combined in the two tournaments.
Renner was equally impressive, especially considering he only began training in Greco-Roman two weeks before the tournament.
He got some much-needed help from Fortuna High wrestlers Mason Evanow and Mako Limon, who helped train him and prepare him for the big tournament.
For more on their impressive achievements, see REWA wrestlers crowned state champions, as high schoolers lend a hand …
TEAM OF THE WEEK
The dream of an eighth NCS title is alive and well in Hoopa, with the Warriors stretching their winning streak to 16 straight games with their big win over the Loggers.
The Hoopa girls have already secured at least a share of a fourth straight league title and will look to win it outright when they host St. Bernard’s on senior day on Saturday.
And it certainly is a successful senior class, led by Tatianna Colegrove, Nae-Rew Martin,Nalani Colegrove and the Bibancos twins, Diamond and Jewely.
Head coach Ryan Colegrove has built one of the most dominating local sports programs.
For more on their big week, see Red-hot Hoopa Warriors knock off Big 5 leaders …