Shasta YMCA Athletes of the Week: Yreka, U-Prep students – Record Searchlight

Shasta YMCA Athletes of the Week: Yreka, U-Prep students  Record Searchlight



Four North State high school students were named Shasta Family YMCA  Athletes of the Week for their performances Nov. 7-12.

Two runners from Yreka and Shasta won CIF Northern Section titles at West Valley High School last Thursday. A U-Prep running back made the most of his opportunities during the CIF Northern Section Division III football playoffs last Thursday. A West Valley setter had three solid performances during the CIF State Division IV volleyball playoffs.

Read on to learn why these athletes stood out last week in their sport.


Elle Merrill

School: Shasta

Sport: Cross country

Class: Sophomore

Team contributions: Merrill found herself running alongside fellow sophomore Jasmine Corliss from Foothill during the CIF Northern Section Cross Country Finals at West Valley High School last Thursday.

Merrill and Corliss ran side by side for the first 2.9 miles of the 3-mile race. Then Merrill sprinted the last 200 meters and Corliss couldn’t catch her.

Merrill’s dash to the finish line was enough to outlast the newcomer Corliss, a foreign exchange student from Queensland, Australia. Corliss had only run long distance track races in Australia but never cross country before her move to Palo Cedro.

Merrill won the CIF Northern Section title in 19 minutes and 13.45 seconds, and Corliss finished second in 19:16.46 out of 114 runners.

Merrill and Corliss qualified for the CIF State Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 26.

The CIF State Cross Country Championships are held in Fresno at Woodward Park.


Henry Baun

School: Yreka

Sport: Cross country

Class: Junior

Team contributions: Baun kept a balanced and aggressive pace during the CIF Northern Section Cross Country Finals at West Valley.

Baun’s consistency and form allowed him to pull away from Pleasant Valley runner Jackson Hein, who is a sophomore, in the final 400 meters. He crossed the finish line in 16:05.93 to win first place out of 156 runners and qualified for the CIF State Cross Country Championships. 

Baun credited his win to training at an altitude of 2,500 feet and a healthy diet. Baun, 16, said he hasn’t eaten junk food or consumed a potato chips since he was in the fourth grade.

Baun joins Merrill and Corliss at the CIF State Cross Country Championships on Nov. 26.


Shawnee Church

School: West Valley

Sport: Volleyball

Class: Senior

Team contributions: Church guided West Valley toward two wins during the CIF State Division IV volleyball playoffs on Nov. 8 and last Thursday. 

Church registered 34 assists, and No. 4 seed West Valley swept No. 12 seed Balboa of San Francisco in the second round last Thursday 25-20, 25-16, 25-22.

West Valley won against No. 13 seed Saint Mary’s of Albany 25-19, 25-17, 25-13 in the first round on Nov. 8.

Church finished with 42 assists, two kills and a block in West Valley’s five set loss to Ripon Christian in the semifinals 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 15-12 last Saturday.

Ryan Dyab 

School: U-Prep

Sport: Football

Class: Senior

Team contributions: Dyab wasted little time making his impact felt in U-Prep’s first round playoff matchup against Gridley. Dyab ran for touchdowns on four of his first five carries. The Panthers beat Gridley 64-7.

Dyab finished the game with 178 rushing yards on 11 carries.

No. 3 seed U-Prep (10-1) battles No. 2 seed West Valley (8-3) in the CIF Northern Section Division III semifinals this Friday in Cottonwood. Kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m.


Each week, the Record Searchlight selects the girl and boy athletes who stand out based on merits from their performance in the prior week. Profiles highlight their accomplishments on the field or inside the gym and provide a glimpse into who they are as students. To make suggestions for R-S Athletes of the Week, email sports reporter Ethan Hanson at ethan.hanson@redding.com or go to bit.ly/3HuxlfW

Ethan Hanson started working for the Redding Record Searchlight after four years with the Los Angeles Daily News as a freelancer. His coverage includes working the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, and writing about the St. Louis Rams’ move to Los Angeles with the Ventura County Star. He began his career as a play-by-play broadcaster for LA Pierce College from 2011-2017. Follow him on Twitter at @EthanAHanson_RS.