A couple of multi-sport athletes and two dominating golf teams will be inducted into the McKinleyville High Hall of Fame this week as part of the Panthers’ homecoming festivities.
The 2023 hall of fame class includes Thomas Richards (class of 2007), Brittainy Chown (class of 2009), the 2010-12 boys golf program, and the girls golf program from 2011-2013.
The inductees will be honored at the hall of fame reception on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the school’s multi-purpose room.
Richards participated in three sports during his time at the school — basketball, football and golf — and earned a total of six varsity letters.
It was in golf, however, where Richards really made his mark for the Panthers.
After placing fourth in league as a freshman, Richards would go on to place second as a junior — missing out on the championship by just one stroke — before closing out his high school career with a league championship as a senior, when he shot under par for the first four rounds of the year.
Following his high school career, Richards played golf for two seasons at Santa Barbara City College, and in 2008 he tied for second in the Western State Conference Tournament.
The 2009 graduate was a team MVP in frosh basketball and a two-time all-league selection in soccer, where she was also named team MVP after her senior campaign.
But it was in track and field that Chown enjoyed her greatest success and was once again named team MVP.
She earned all-league honors in the long jump in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and would win four individual league titles as a senior, winning the long jump, the triple jump, the 100 meters and the 200m.
She also tasted success at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Championships, winning back-to-back championships in the long jump in her final two seasons and winning a title in the triple jump as a senior.
Chown still holds school records in both of those events.
After high school, Chown competed in track and field at Humboldt State (now Cal Poly Humboldt) and was named the program’s Field Athlete of the Year from 2011 to 2013.
She also holds the Jacks’ fourth-best all-time mark in the long jump and is currently ranked No. 15 in the world for Drug Tested Powerlifting 198 Class.
The boys golf program from 2010-12, meanwhile, enjoyed an amazing run of dominance on the links over those three years.
Paced by individual champion Will Rice, the 2010 Panthers won all seven league events and took the league title by 150 strokes, with Cody Bates, Bridger Cotton, Nick Johnson, Chris Solis and Collin Montgomery all placing in the top nine in league that season.
In 2011, the Panthers repeated as champions, winning league by 139 strokes.
Bates led the charge by winning the individual title, while Johnson and Rice earned all-league honors and Solis, Jaren Bettendorf and Joseph Caldwell finished in the top 10.
The 2011 season finished with the boys golf team placing third overall in the NCS Division 2 Championships.
In 2012, McKinleyville secured a three-peat of league championships, with Bates repeating as the individual champion and winning by 20 strokes over Johnson in second.
Solis finished third that year, with teammates Corey Medeiros, Matthew Caldwell and Ross Nickols giving the Panthers six golfers in the top 20 in league.
Bates capped a memorable three-year run for the Panthers by winning the NCS Division 2 Championship Individual Title with the low round score of 66.
The McKinleyville girls golf program from 2011 to 13 also dominated.
After missing out on back-to-back championships in 2010, the 2011 Panthers team came out with a vengeance and won the league title by nearly 200 strokes.
Paced by three-time individual champion McKenzie Ford and all-league selections Leilani Harling and McKenna Ford, along with teammates Tammy Valley, Lauren Alexander and Meredith Pease, McKinleyville finished second in the NCS Division 2 Championships, barely missing out on the title by just two strokes.
McKenzie Ford was the individual champion at the event and ended up placing fourth at the Tournament of Champions the following week.
In 2012, the Mack girls repeated as H-DNL champions, winning league by 170 strokes.
That year’s team was led by Harling, who tied for the individual title after making up 16 strokes at the final league event.
McKenna Ford also repeated as an all-league selection, finishing fourth overall.
That duo, along with Alexander, Pease, Madison Medeiros, and Mary Risling finished fourth at the NCS Division-2 Championships.
In 2013, the team made it three league titles in a row and four out of five, winning the H-DNL Championship by 190 strokes.
Harling placed second overall to lead the team, with McKenna Ford third and Medeiros fifth.
Those three, along with Risling, Mae Rosebrook and Marisa Morse helped the Panthers place third at the NCS Division 2 Championships, which were held at Beau Pre Golf Course in McKinleyville.