A large contingent of local athletes will compete for the Cal Poly Humboldt Lumberjacks this school year, including a talented trio of runners who will get the new cross country season under way next week.
The Jacks will open the new season when they host the annual Jim Hunt Humboldt Invitational a week from Saturday, with the action getting started at 8:30 a.m.
This year’s Humboldt men’s team includes a pair of local runners, while the women’s team will feature one.
The junior will be joined on this fall’s team by another former Eureka Logger, defending H-DNL champion Daniel Shaver.
Shaver is one of two Eureka freshmen with the program, along with Charlotte Leonard, who was one of the most consistent distance runners in the H-DNL during her high school career.
Several other former H-DNL athletes also will compete for Cal Poly Humboldt this school year in track and field, softball, men’s basketball, triathlon and rowing, giving the Jacks one of their largest local contingents in several years.
Track and field features the most of any team, with four locals on the men’s team and two on the women’s team.
Three local throwers — McKinleyville’s Derek Ray and Kalyssa Claros and Eureka’s Joseph Gonzalez — are all freshmen with the team after graduating high school earlier this year and all of them are coming off impressive high school careers.
Claros will be joined on the women’s team by Eureka’s Ginny Brooks, a talented all-around athlete who will compete in the hurdles after also graduating high school earlier this year.
The Cal Poly men’s team will also feature locals Grant Van Emmerik and Conor Pratt.
Van Emmerik is a senior sprinter who graduated Ferndale High in 2016 and made a name for himself in the sport while competing for College of the Redwoods.
Pratt, meanwhile, was the H-DNL 100 meter champion in 2021 and a football player at Fortuna, and also ran for CR.
Three other locals will play for the softball team next spring, including 2022 Eureka High graduate McKenna Beach, who returns from her sophomore year after an impressive debut season with the team this past spring, when she made 49 starts and batted .231.
Joining her on this year’s team are Arcata’s Sagen Sarchett, who is the daughter of head coach Shelli Sarchett and graduated high school earlier this year, and former Eureka and CR standout Sadie Hampton, who transfers in for her junior season.
Another former Arcata Tiger will also play for the men’s basketball team.
Freshman Brandon Bento-Jackson, whose mother Michelle Bento-Jackson is the head coach of the Cal Poly Humboldt women’s basketball team, joins the Jacks after graduating high school this year.
The women’s rowing and triathlon teams also feature local athletes.
Two locals — St. Bernard’s Abiona Katri and Arcata’s Emry Yount — were both a part of the Jacks’ national championship program in rowing this past spring, while senior Elizabeth Odell (Academy of the Redwoods) and sophomore Camille Shaver, a former Eureka High wrestler and cross country runner, are both competing in triathlon this year.