College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | CR’s athletics program critical part of the college experience

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, June 13, 2024 - 12:30pm

Athletics is a critical component of the student experience at College of the Redwoods. It not only supports the college’s enrollment, but also provides a venue where our local athletes can continue competing in their chosen sports close to home, fostering a sense of pride and engagement among our community of alumni, friends, and fans. Athletics also has a prominent place in our fundraising efforts, enhancing our visibility and bringing our community together.

On Aug. 15, the College of the Redwoods Corsairs will hold its annual Dinner and Sports Auction to support student-athlete achievement and to reach the next level of competition. We invite our Corsair supporters to join CR student-athletes, coaches, and Athletic Director Bob Brown for an exceptional meal, a lively auction, and a special celebration of the first era of CR Wrestling from 1967 – 1982. This year, there will be a special recognition of CR Wrestling Alumni Bert Van Duzer, Jon Syliva, and the 1976 team, which placed second at the first California State Small Wrestling College Tournament.

Events like our Dinner and Sports Auction highlight historical achievements in CR athletics and illustrate the impact and opportunity our athletics program creates for student-athletes and our community. Here are a few examples from last year that support my belief that our outstanding coaches and student-athletes make our athletics program the absolute best.

Alyssa McCovey made College of the Redwoods history after becoming the first CR track and field competitor at the NorCal state Heptathlon championship in the last twenty-five years. She set personal records in the high jump, the shot put, and the 200-meter dash. Also qualifying in the state competition was Chloe Allen for cross country, and Anna Grimmett and Henry Lamb in track.

Several of our men’s basketball sophomores received all-conference recognition. Trey Neff and Mason Railsback were both named to the All-Golden Valley Conference First Team. Jett Cheong received an honorable mention and Ty Neff was named to the All-Golden Valley Conference (GVC) Defensive Team.

Three of our women’s basketball student-athletes collected All GVC honors as well. Kyla Albee received All Freshman GVC recognition and Lily Hoban and Ellie Pesch were named to the All GVC First Team.

CR football players Max Hough, Levi Cox-Cooley, Anthony Aquirre, Cale Kuska, Tyse Whigham, Jayden Sandusky, Tanner Forkner, Mason Priddy, Ryan Thomas, and Lane Branstetter earned all PAC-7 honors in fall 2023.

Among them, Del Norte’s Levi Cox-Cooley and Tanner Forkner followed their all-conference awards with all-region awards. Additionally, punt returner Mason Priddy, receiver Anthony Aguirre, defensive lineman Tyse Whigham and kicker Ryan Thomas were also named to the All-Region Team for CR.

Baseball players Blake Browning and Gavin Dansby earned All-GVC recognition too. Blake was named to the All-GVC First Team and Gavin to the All GVC Second Team. In softball, Megan Hampton earned All GVC First Team honors.

We officially launched our new wrestling program and brought on two exceptional wrestling coaches, Brandon Benvenuti and Kaci Lyle, to begin building both men’s and women’s teams. For the first time since 1991, we fielded a men’s wrestling team and for first the first time ever, we featured a women’s wrestling team.

Every day, our student-athletes accomplish remarkable things through their tenacity, integrity, and dedication — not only through excelling in their respective sports but also in academics. Last year, 66 of our student-athletes earned Academic Honor status for achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. An additional 128 out of 199 had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Six of our teams also achieved a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher. The baseball team led the team GPA attainment with a 3.487, followed by women’s basketball with 3.293, men’s and women’s cross country/track with 3.074, softball with 3.261, volleyball with 3.465, and football with a 3.092.

Athletics has been a significant part of College of the Redwoods and the local community for decades. Our goal will also be to provide our student-athletes with the skills, knowledge, and drive to succeed in their sports, in the classroom, and in the workplace and in life.

I want to thank the community for your unyielding support of College of the Redwoods and our athletic programs, and I hope to see you at the CR Dinner and Sports Auction in August. For tickets to CR’s event, please go to

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.