College of the Redwoods

New local high school cross country league to debut Friday

By Ray Hamill — College of the Redwoods is stepping in to fill a void for the local sports community.

This week, the Corsairs will host the inaugural race for Coast League Cross Country, which is beginning competition this fall and will become the second local high school league in the sport.

The league will feature three events this fall, two of which will be held at CR, and will include runners from several charter schools here on the North Coast.

“It’s a brand new league,” Eureka Community School teacher and coach Jason Maguire said. “There are a ton of charter schools (in the area) and they’re all interested in cross country.”

At least nine Humboldt County charter schools are expected to compete, with as many as five additional schools also showing some interest.

And according to Maguire, anywhere from 3 to 10 runners are expected from each of the schools.

It is the first opportunity for most of these schools to compete in sports and Maguire is hoping they can add more sports in the near future.

“There are quite a few independent students that don’t have access to (high school) sports,” said Maguire, who added “It’s community based and it seems like there’s been a lot of interest.”

Friday’s race is set for 11:30 a.m., with CR cross country and track and field coach Reed Elmore stepping up to help organize and host the event.

Runners are expected from the following schools: Northern United, Laurel Tree, Captain John, Redwood Montessori, Alder Grove, Pacific View Charter, Zoe Barnum, Academy of the Redwoods and Eureka Community School, among others.

Coast League Cross Country will feature three races this fall, one each month from September to November.

In addition to Friday’s two-mile race, the new league will host its championships on November 9, also at CR, while the league runners are being encouraged to participate in October’s Clam Beach Invitational.

The first race will be predominantly for high school aged runners, but will also feature some seventh and eighth graders.

“With the help of Reed Elmore and (Academy of the Redwoods Principal) Arnie King, this vision that has been years in the making has materialized,” Maguire said. “The race will provide local Charter/Alternative schools students the opportunity to be part of a community that celebrates each athlete doing their very best while alongside other students doing the same.”

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