McKinleyville’s West Wood edged out Eureka’s Ian Bennett to kickstart the new Humboldt-Del Norte League cross country season on Wednesday.
In what is expected to be an exciting season locally, the opening boys race lived up to the early hype, with Wood timing 16 minutes, 14 seconds for the win at Rohner Park in Fortuna.
Bennett finished 18 second back in second, ahead of Fortuna’s Collin Stockwell (16:46) and Arcata’s Jude Ortega (16:56), with four different schools represented in the top four.
With two additional runners in the top six — Andrew Hansen and Logan Calvert — the Fortuna Huskies took the team competition, barely beating Eureka by a point, 49-50.
Arcata (54) was a close third, followed by McKinleyville (79), Del Norte (147) and Northcoast Prep (148).
McKinleyville’s Max Combs, Arcata’s Miles Johnson, and Eureka’s Jaden Thayer and Diego Gonzales rounded out the top 10 individual finishers.
Freshman Ai-Lan McGoldrick continued an impressive start to her high school career, as the Arcata girls continued their dominance in the sport.
McGoldrick paced the field in a time of 20:08 to lead the Tigers to a comfortable team win.
Arcata finished with 19 points, well ahead of Eureka (40) and Fortuna (81).
The Tigers took the top three individual spots, with junior Vivian Gestein just one second back of McGoldrick and sophomore Tatiana Edmonds (20:29) in third.
Eureka’s KyleeAnna Zink-Clinton and Charlotte Leonard rounded out the top five, followed in order by Arcata’s Alauna Thompson and Sydney Trieu, Eureka’s Christina Smith, and Arcata’s Ruth Godlin-Sullivan and Zoe Macknicki.
The Tigers had 10 of the top 13 finishers, including five freshmen.
A total of six freshmen placed in the top 11, including Eureka’s Leonard.
The H-DNL season continues next Wednesday at Arcata High.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.