Every summer for the past 17 years, the Colusa County Hall of Fame has honored the county’s elite athletes, but as with most events in 2020, the tradition has been interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Yet although no inductees were enshrined this year, the committee still felt it was important to recognize the top student athletes from the five local high schools along with three teams that earned section titles.
Hall of Fame director Vance Boyes explained the situation this way saying, “There is an incredible amount of work involved to receive elite recognition, not only by the athlete, but by the families and coaches as well. We felt that by highlighting the accomplishments of these kids it is a way of saying thank you to all those involved. ”
Starting with the individuals, here is a look at the county’s top senior athletes, as selected by their respective schools, along with the three teams that claimed a section championship before the world of high school sports went dark for the year.
SENIOR ATHLETE’S OF THE YEAR:
Annie Lay: A three-sport athlete, Lay was without question the driving force behind the recent success of the RedHawk volleyball program, leading her team to its first section championship and a deep run in the CIF State Tournament. The school record holder in both aces and assists, Lay, the 2019 Sacramento Valley League MVP, also accrued All-Section and All-Area honors in volleyball during her tenure as the RedHawk setter and has plans to play for Pasadena City College.
Xavier Lopez: Lopez spent eight of his 10 seasons of sport in Colusa at the varsity level, playing significant roles for both the RedHawk football and baseball teams. A two-way starter in football, Lopez made 69 tackles and recorded team high 11 sacks to earn SVL honors and a spot in the North-South Lions All-Star game. He next heads to San Francisco City College to play football for the Rams.
Trent Hendrix: A warrior for the Panthers, Hendrix’s athletic ability and workman-like approach made him a fixture in football, basketball and baseball during his career in Maxwell. A two-time All-Mountain Valley League selection in basketball, he played an integral role in the Panthers’ 2019 league championship season. Hendrix also earned All-Cascade Valley League honors in football where he served as the Panther’s quarterback.
Courtney Wycoff: The Maxwell 2019-20 Female Athlete of the Year was a standout in volleyball and softball for the Panthers. An all-around player on the volleyball court, Wycoff was twice named All-Mountain Valley League. On the softball field, she maintained a .381 batting average while starting in the hot corner for the Panthers over three seasons.
Emily Erhke: One of the most dynamic athletes in the county, Ehrke’s passion for competition was evident as she represented the Bears in volleyball, basketball and softball. Leading by example, she garnered multiple All-SVL honors in each sport. However, it was in volleyball where Ehrke, may have shined brightest, helping to lead Pierce to its first ever NSCIF championship and into the third round of the 2018 CIF State Tournament. As a senior, Ehrke received an All-Northern Section nod.
Daniel Medina: Medina’s athletic abilities contributed to some big moments for Pierce in basketball, football and track. On the hardwood, he was twice selected All-SVL and was key in 2020, as the Bears fell just a game shy of reaching the finals in the CIF State Tournament. As part of the Division IV runner-up football team last fall, he also picked up All-League honors. Although unable to compete in track this season, he finished second in the Northern Section in high jump as a junior. Medina will next take his talents to San Diego Mesa College.
Elias Cervantes: A standout for the Eagles in baseball and basketball, Cervantes put up big numbers during his stint in Princeton. Maintaining a .556 career batting average and 2.26 ERA, he was a two-time Evergreen League MVP in baseball. On the court he averaged over 15 points per game in back-to-back seasons and is the reigning co-MVP.
Joey Wills: An absolute workhorse on the football field, the Eagles’ quarterback accumulated 4725 rushing yards, 1729 through the air and scored 52 touchdowns, earning him a spot on the All-California South 8-Man League team in each of his four years. Wills also made a strong showing on the baseball diamond posting a career .382 average and 2.82 ERA.
Guillermo Hernandez, Jr.: Providing leadership as well as ability, Hernandez takes his place as one of the Yellowjackets’ finest athletes. In his senior season at quarterback, Hernandez passed for 2386 yards to lead the Northern Section and garner All-Mid-Valley League honors. A two year starter for the ‘Jackets basketball team, he was also recognized as an All-League performer. Next up for Hernandez is the opportunity to play football at Sierra College.
Jaqueline Rivera Landos: The school record holder in discus, Rivera finished among the top throwers in the Northern Section a year ago, although unfortunately, saw her final season cut short. Still, the scholar- athlete was an All-MVL basketball selection as well as a starter on the ‘Jacket volleyball team.
SECTION CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS:
ColusaVolleyball: It was a banner year for the RedHawks, who in their third trip to the Northern Section Division V Finals, were rewarded with their first championship. Colusa completed the season 30-16 and saw coach Tina Lyons selected the section’s Coach of the Year.
Colusa Boys Cross Country: In another first for the RedHawks, the Colusa boys put forth a total team effort to upstage the field and lay claim to the NSCIF Division V title.
Boys Soccer: Colusa Buoyed by an exceptional defense, the RedHawks completed the regular season 22-1-2 to capture the team’s third Division III title.