Little 4 Girls Athlete of the Year — Three-time MVP enjoys dominating year

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — Officially she only won three league MVP awards this year, but in reality she was the best athlete in the Little 4 in four sports.

And that’s why St. Bernard’s junior Madelyn Shanahan is the 2023 Humboldt Sports Little 4 Girls Athlete of the Year.

The versatile junior was a star for the Crusaders in soccer, volleyball, basketball and track and field, setting the standard for the Little 4 in all four sports.

A big shoutout to Mendes Supply, DelReka Distributing and The Stove Doctors in McKinleyville for helping to sponsor this year’s awards.

Remarkably, the busy Shanahan was named both league MVP in volleyball and co-MVP in soccer in the fall, and she followed that with another co-MVP award after an outstanding winter on the basketball court.

And she was far from done.

She was just as outstanding in the spring, when she added three H-DNL titles in track and field, placing first in the triple jump, the long jump and the discus.

And during it all, she earned the respect of her coaches and teammates for her talents on the field and her character off of it.

“Maddy is a natural leader,” her volleyball head coach Wendy Joyner said after the season. “She’s not complacent, she works hard and strives to improve every day.”

She was arguably most impressive on the basketball court, where she helped lead a young SB team to a league title.

“Madelyn was an amazing defender who blocked shots and rebounded, while also having the ability to play all five positions offensively while scoring from anywhere on the court,” her basketball head coach Matt Tomlin said.

Her sports IQ helped pave the way to success.

“Maddy is a special player. She is like having another coach on the field,” SB soccer coach Brian Finck said back in November after she was named co-MVP of the L4 in soccer along with South Fork’s Summer Contreras and Ferndale’s Reaghan Langer. “She is intelligent, hard-working determined, motivates her teammates and leads by example. Everything a coach could ask for in a player.”

And the best is yet to come from the standout junior who is likely to continue to improve as a senior.


Tatianna Colegrove (Hoopa)

Reaghan Langer (Ferndale)

Shanahan edges out two other Little 4 standouts for the award.

Hoopa’s Tatianna Colegrove and Ferndale’s Langer each also are coming off outstanding years in multiple sports.

Colegrove was a three-sport star for the Warriors and an inspirational team leader as she helped set the tone for her teammates on all three teams.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Colegrove’s game is that she never gets rattled and is always one of the most composed players in games, no matter what the situation.

She was named Little 4 MVP in softball, while also receiving all-league first-team selections in volleyball and basketball.

Langer also was a co-MVP in soccer and received an all-league honorable mention in basketball, although as I’ve stated before you could argue she deserved better than that in the latter after the role she played on a difficult yet memorable playoff run for the Cats.

Langer is also a junior and should continue to have a huge impact in the Little 4 next year.

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