By Ray Hamill — Concordia University softball is getting a star player and an even better person, and the Eureka Loggers are losing arguably one of the best athletes they’ve seen in some time.
In her four years at Eureka High, Kira Morris set a standard that few athletes around the H-DNL could match.
She wasn’t just the best softball player in the H-DNL, but she likely would have been the best basketball player in the area if she had opted to play her senior year.
You get the feeling Morris could have been the best athlete in any sport she tried her hand at.
And that makes her our 2023 Humboldt Sports Big 5 Girls Athlete of the Year.
A big shoutout to Mendes Supply, DelReka Distributing and The Stove Doctors in McKinleyville for helping to sponsor this year’s awards.
Lucky for Concordia, softball has always been Morris’ favorite sport and she will take her talents and determination to the Division-II powerhouse program, following in the footsteps of another great local softball player, Hailey Dolcini, who also played collegiately and was a big influence on Morris when she was younger.
And she will be missed at Eureka, not just for her athletic talents, but also for the example she set for her younger teammates along the way.
“Kira has been a leader on and off the field since she was a freshman,” Eureka softball coach Robin Johnson said. “She’s always encouraging other girls to work hard and do their best. She’s going to do great at the next level because of her drive and eagerness to get better every day.”
Kaitlin Giacone, Eureka
Kylee Fennell, Fortuna
Giacone is a three-sport standout for the Loggers and a key member of the soccer, basketball and softball teams.
As a junior this past year, Giacone was named MVP of the Big 5 after a huge winter on the basketball court and she was a first-team all-league selection in soccer after helping the Loggers to a league and North Coast Section championship double.
Giacone is an inspirational leader with her play and continually gave the Eureka girls basketball team a big lift at crucial times in games.
Her year was cut short after she suffered a knee injury in the final basketball game of the season, but she should come back stronger than ever next year and is expected to be a force once again in her final year of high school sports.
Fennell was equally impressive this past year and a rare all-league first-team selection in three sports as a senior.
She starred for the Huskies in volleyball, basketball and softball and also was an inspirational leader for her younger teammates with her play.
She was named one of two Fortuna female athletes of the year at the recent Husky ESPYS — along with Lonna Torrez — and will now take her talents to College of the Redwoods, where she will play both volleyball and softball for the Corsairs.
No doubt she will continue to impress with CR.