Loggers set new standard

Athletes of the Year

Big Five

Mo Purify, Eureka

MVP in football and basketball

2- Mike Brandi, Eureka
3- Joe Larson, Del Norte
4- Tyson Fisher, Fortuna
5- Darren Brous, Del Norte


Petra Lorenzi, Del Norte

MVP in volleyball and softball

2- Melissa Hassler, Arcata
3- Ashley Webster, Del Norte
4- Aimee House, Fortuna
5- Yasmine White, Arcata


Little Five

Orrin Goldsby, Ferndale

Football and wrestling standout

2- Adam Bugenig, Ferndale
3- Aaron Megazzi, Ferndale

Felica Miranda, Ferndale

Three-sport all-league selection

2- Haily Miranda, Ferndale
3T- Heidi Bareilles, St. Bernard
3T- Cari Killingsworth, Ferndale


Teams of the Year


1- Eureka Football
2- Ferndale football
3- Arcata soccer
4- St. Bernard's football
5T- Ferndale baseball
5T- Eureka golf


1- Ferndale softball
2- Eureka basketball
3- St. Bernard's soccer
4- Southern Trinity volleyball
5T- Hoopa softball
5T- Arcata soccer

Coaches of the Year

1- Bert Van Duzer, Eureka wrestling
2- Tom Jorgensen and Mike Griffith, Ferndale softball
3- Kristie Christensen, Eureka girls basketball
4- Jack Lakin, Eureka football
5T- Heidi Bowman, South Fork girls basketball
5T- Kathleen Lynch, St. Bernard girls soccer

Sunday, June 27, 2004 - Ray Hamill

The Times-Standard

The 2003/04 high school sports year on the North Coast, as always, will be remembered for many things, although perhaps none more so than Eureka High's domination on the football field.

But while the Loggers set a standard not seen for some time in Humboldt County, they certainly weren't alone in reaching memorable milestones, and just as the school year began with perfection on the gridiron in Eureka, it closed out with perfection on the softball diamond with the Lady Wildcats of Ferndale.

Sandwiched in between, we witnessed the usual assortment of glory, despair, victory and defeat, mixed in with some inspirational individual performances that paved the way for team accomplishments.

And with that in mind, choosing four individuals for the Times-Standard Athletes of the Year was a difficult task at best.

For the boys, Eureka's Mo Purify was a unanimous decision for top honors in the Big Five, as was Del Norte's Petra Lorenzi for the girls.

The Little Five presented a greater dilemma, and while Ferndale's Felicia Miranda stood a little taller than any of her contemporaries on the girls' side, there was little to separate numerous standouts on several fronts for the boys, even if Orrin Goldsby got a slight nod in the end.

To qualify for the honor, an athlete has to be a standout in at least two sports, which unfortunately leaves out many one-sport stars such as Eureka's Sam Vainuku and Ashley Crnich as well as Arcata's Matt Colwell and Ross Middlemiss and Hoopa's Everest Schmidt, each of whom were named league MVPs in their respective sports.

Purify was a clear No. 1 for the Big Five boys and after back-to-back MVP seasons in football and basketball, the Eureka senior who will attend City College of San Francisco in the fall was not just the best male athlete to come out of the area this year but perhaps in some time.

Lorenzi, a junior, was also a two-sport league MVP, getting top honors in both volleyball and softball, as well as earning an honorable mention in basketball.

Miranda edged out her cousin Haily Miranda for top honors among the Little Five schools after being named league MVP in softball and matching that with all-league selections in both soccer and basketball.

Goldsby, who also served as student body president at Ferndale High, led the Wildcats to an NCS championship game in football and was named co-MVP of the Little Four along with teammate Adam Bugenig, and followed that with a first-place finish at 171 pounds in the league wrestling championships.

But while the Athletes of the Year garner much of the attention, they certainly weren't the only ones deserving of some recognition over the past 10 months.

The Loggers, perhaps sparked by their early dominance in football, were the most dominant of all 11 local high schools, laying claim to 10 of the 25 Humboldt-Del Norte League crowns.

Senior Mike Brandi had a big say in that success, playing on three championship teams and earning all-league honors in baseball and an honorable mention in basketball.

Up in Del Norte, meanwhile, the Warriors' tradition of producing top-notch athletes continues with at least three deserving of mention in Darren Brous, Joe Larson and Jacob Moon, while down south in Fortuna, the Huskies' Tyson Fisher, Andrew Houtby and Dave Mildbrandt each stood out in a couple of different sports.

For the girls, Arcata's Melissa Hassler ranks among the most consistent prep athletes over the past year, with first-team all-league honors in soccer, where she helped the Tigers to a league title, as well as in basketball and softball.

Lorenzi's Del Norte teammate Ashley Webster also deserves mention after all-league selections in both volleyball and softball, as does Fortuna's Aimee House, who received all-league recognition in both basketball and softball.

A two-time state qualifier, Arcata sophomore Yasmine White continues to dominate on the local cross-country and track and field circuits, not to mention her continued triathlon success outside prep circles.

Among the Little Five schools, St. Bernard's Heidi Bareilles anchored a heroic run through the NCS playoffs for the Lady Crusaders in soccer, earning league MVP honors after leading her team to the section championship, while down in Ferndale, Haily Miranda earned all-league honors in soccer, basketball and softball, and Cari Killingsworth was all-league in softball and a league champion in track and field.

The smaller schools produced a plethora of two-time all-league selections for the boys, including Zach Sapp, Ian Renner, Brandon Holliday and Travis Gothier from Ferndale; Hawk Obie, Billy Rakestraw, Jason Comer, Keoki Burbank, Ben Horton and Todd Morris from St. Bernard's; Nick LaRue and Tommy Sarver from South Fork; and Ryan Hanger from Hoopa.

A pair of Ferndale athletes, however, got the nod for the top three in addition to Goldsby, with Bugenig an all-league selection in football and baseball as well as an honorable mention in basketball, and Aaron Megazzi a two-time state qualifier in cross country and track and field.

Among the top teams of the year, Eureka football dominated in a way few teams from this area have ever dominated and something we don't see too often from the bigger schools on the North Coast, earning the Loggers Team of the Year honors.

Ferndale softball comes in top among the girls teams after setting a new state record with 52 consecutive wins and winning a second consecutive NCS title in the sport.

The Eureka girls basketball team also had a huge season, placing second in the NCS and qualifying for the NorCals, while the St. Bernard's girls soccer team earned its place in school history with an NCS championship.

Also deserving of recognition is the Southern Trinity girls volleyball squad, with the tiny school outpacing its larger league rivals for a league crown. Both Arcata soccer teams, which were respective league champions (no surprise!), enjoyed tremendous success, as did Ferndale football and baseball, each of which followed league titles with NCS championship game appearances, and Fortuna boys tennis.

Among the top coaches of the year, Eureka assistant wrestling coach Bert Van Duzer gets top honors in his final year at the helm after a lifetime association with the sport here on the North Coast and his dedication toward building the sport into what it is in the local area.

The Ferndale coaching tandem of Tom Jorgensen and Mike Griffith also should be credited with a spectacular year for their efforts with their record-breaking softball squad, as should Eureka's Kristie Christensen for what she achieved on the basketball court with the Lady Loggers.

Also earning serious consideration were South Fork's Heidi Bowman, who took over the girls basketball team midway through the season only to lead the Cubs to a league crown; St. Bernard's Kathleen Lynch, whose girls soccer team has long been one of the most overachieving programs on the North Coast; and Eureka's Jack Lakin, who oversaw the school's remarkable success on the gridiron.

Among the honorable mentions, Ferndale's Kim Jorgensen and Tom Webber, Hoopa's Inker McCovey, St. Bernard's Mike Mari and Dave Michael, Ferndale's Jeremy Griffith, South Fork's Dave Bushnell and Anne Constantino, Fortuna's Mike Bettiga, McKinleyville's Brad Warze, Hoopa's Anthony Risling and Eureka's Duane Peterson all enjoyed success this year.