By Ray Hamill — Hoopa’s Gerard Marshall leaves an impressive legacy with the Warriors after an outstanding senior year in three different sports.
And that’s why he’s the 2023 Humboldt Sports Little 4 Boys Athlete of the Year.
A big shoutout to Mendes Supply, DelReka Distributingand The Stove Doctors in McKinleyville for helping to sponsor this year’s end-of-year high school awards.
Marshall was arguably the best lineman in the Little 4 in football in the fall and a true MVP for his team, consistently setting the tone for his teammates in the trenches.
And he was even better on the wrestling mats, where he placed in the top-12 in state in the heavyweight division for the second straight year.
He followed that with an impressive spring in track and field and enjoyed a big league championship meet for the Warriors, finishing as the second best L4 thrower in the shot put and the fourth best in in the discus.
Ultimately, however, it was his performances in wrestling that set him apart from the rest of the L4 this year, and few local athletes can claim to be as elite in their sport as Marshall, especially in such a competitive and challenging division as heavyweight wrestling.
Local wrestling coach Cass Bell also knows Marshall well after working closely with him for several years at the Institute of Combat club in Arcata.
And he’s a big fan of Marshall the person, as much as Marshall the athlete.
“Baby G is one of the nicest, compassionate kids that I know,” Bell said. “He is super loyal and a great asset to any team.
“I’ve been lucky enough to watch him grow from a young athlete to the amazing young man he has become, and I am grateful to have been a part of his journey.
“The future is yours, I cannot wait to see what you do next.”
Marshall’s football coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings says he made a huge difference when he was on the field.
“Gerard is a special player,” Billings said. “He leads by example, works hard and is very coachable.
“When Gerard was on the field it made it a whole lot easier to move or stop the ball on defense.”
John Harding (South Fork)
Tyler Dimmick (St. Bernard’s)
Marshall edges out St. Bernard’s Tyler Dimmick and South Fork’s John Harding for the award, and in fairness both of them pushed him all the way.
Dimmick arguably is the most athletic of the talented trio and had a massive impact for the Crusaders in three different sports.
The lightning quick return man played as big a role as anyone in keeping a young St. Bernard’s football team in contention for the playoffs on his way to an all-league first-team selection, and he followed that with a big winter in basketball, earning an all-league honorable mention.
He saved his best for last with a stellar season in baseball, where he was named league MVP after outshining every other player in the Little 4.
Harding too had an exceptional senior year and also displayed his incredible athleticism by playing such a key role for the Cubs in three sports.
After turning in a team MVP performance in football, Harding earned league L4 MVP honors in basketball when he led South Fork to a second straight league championship.
He closed out his high school career with a big spring on the baseball diamond and received all-league first-team honors.