Wrestlers hit big stage

Five classes move toward state titles
By Cliff Pfenning,

PORTLAND - It's always one of the most exciting days of the year for high school sports in Oregon - the first day of the state wrestling meet.

Memorial Coliseum gets filled with 10 mats and hundreds of wrestlers from across the state head out for two, sometimes three matches as the 12-hour session takes place.

As the day works its way along, team scores begin to showcase which squads have been best prepared to stand atop the team podium and the Indians of Roseburg were working their way back to that spot in Class 6A having qualified a tournament-best 22 wrestlers.

Roseburg had plenty of competition, though, from Sprague, Newberg and David Douglas with the big points set for Saturday's semifinals and finals.

At 5A, Dallas and Crater, which finished second and first, respectively last year, had separated themselves.

At 4A, Crook County led Sweet Home and Tillamook.

At 3A, Harrisburg led through most of the day with its goal of winning a title for the first time.

And at 2A, four-time champion Culver, which has won 10 times in the past 11 years, already had a dominant lead.


Jesuit takes command of state swim finals

Friday prelims lead to Saturday finals in Gresham
By Cliff Pfenning,

GRESHAM - Defending champion Jesuit had the top time in two of the three relays Friday and set itself up for another boys Class 6A state title in the Oregon Swimming Championships at the Mt. Hood Community College Aquatics Center.

The Crusaders stood first in the 200 Medley Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay and got the top time for the 500 freestyle out of junior Trent Martinez.

The girls team race looked much more competitive with the defending champion Crusaders getting stiff competition from Sunset, which topped the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays and had the top time in the 100 Freestyle from senior Alayna Connor, 200 Medley from sophomore Tia Lindsay and 200 Freestyle from senior Angie Lindsay.

The finals begin Saturday at 9 a.m. for Class 6A teams with Class 5A and 4A finals following throughout the day.



Jefferson, Grant on collision course

Grant plays at Jefferson with national attention online
Staff report

The top ranking in the state for boys basketball has fluctuated between Jefferson and Sprague for the last month, but it's finally where most of the passionate fans think it should be - with the defending Class 6A champion Democrats, who have yet to lose to an Oregon team this season.

But, Jefferson gets another solid test Friday when it plays host to No. 2 Grant in North Portland, with the game being webcast on

Viewers in Texas are lining up to catch a glimpse of Jefferson's Kamaka Hepa, who has signed with the Longhorns. The Demos Robert Akil signed with Western Oregon two weeks ago, although as a football player.

Grant will be looking to beat the Democrats for the first time in more than three years having lost twice this season by a combined six points.

The Demos beat the Generals three times last year, including the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

Friday's game was once scheduled by the district to be played at the Chiles Center at the University of Portland, but Jefferson coach Pat Strickland lobbied to have the game played at Jefferson to maintain homecourt advantage. The UP game would have included the Grant vs. Benson girls game.

Coverage of the game begins live at 7 p.m. on



Swimmers head for finals

Jesuit, Sunset programs head to Gresham as favorites
Staff report

Jesuit High and neighborhood rival Sunset head to Gresham this week as the favorites to win yet another state championship in boys and girls swimming.

Jesuit has won the past three boys titles after Sunset had a run of four straight, while the two schools won the past two girls titles.

Last year, Jesuit topped Sunset in the boys final, while Sunset topped Jesuit in the girls.

The preliminary rounds are Friday at Mt. Hood Community College for the 6A, 5A and 4A meets, with the finals beginning Saturday morning for 6A schools.

Hillsboro and Sweet Home are the defending boys champions at 5A and 4A, respectively.

Bend and Sweet Home are the defending girls champions at 5A and 4A, respectively.

A team hasn't repeated at the 4A boys meet since Summit in 2015, and Sweet Home in 2010 for the 4A meet.

In the girls finals, Summit last repeated in 2014, while Sweet Home is the two-time champion at 4A.



Wrestling begins state drive

Roseburg leads ranks for defending champions
By Cliff Pfenning,

The excitement of following a doube-elimination bracket took over the state Friday as district meets for high school wrestling began with the end result being Memorial Coliseum in two weeks.

Four district representatives at 13 weights, plus exhibition qualifiers for 10 girls brackets, qualified for the state championships this weekend, heading for Portland Feb. 16-17.

And Roseburg didn't disappoint, scoring an amazing 526.5 points to win the Southern Oregon Conference title. The Indians are four-time state champions and a heavy favorite to win a fifth.

Sprague won the Valley League with Newberg won the Three Rivers League title with463.5 points, while Sprague followed close behind with 459.5 points to win the Valley League.

Crater at 5A, Sweet Home at 4A, Nyssa at Class 3A and Culver at Class 2A, are the defending state champions.


1. Cleveland 355.5; 2. Franklin 257.0; 3. Jefferson 175.0. ALSO: Benson 167, Lincoln 165, Madison 163.0, Wilson 158.0, Grant 100.0, Roosevelt 89.0.

1. Aloha 328.5; 2. Century 272.5; 3. Westview 232.5. ALSO: Beaverton 162.5, Liberty 153.5, Glencoe 137.0, Mountainside 105.0, Sunset 102.5, Southridge 89.0.

1. David Douglas 409.5; 2. Oregon City 304.0; 3. Barlow 237.0. ALSO: Centennial 219.5, Clackamas 207.0, Gresham 134.0, Reynolds 116.0.

1. Newberg 463.5; 2. West Linn 228.5; 3. Sherwood 221.5. ALSO: Tualatin 188.5, Canby 173.5, Tigard 171.0, Lakeridge 93.5, Lake Oswegon 59.0.

1. Sprague 459.5; 2. West Albany 229.0; 3. McNary 211.5. ALSO: McMinnville 203.0, Forest Grove 179.0, North Salem 163.0, West Salem 149.0, McKay 104.0, South Salem 103.0.

1. Roseburg 526.5; 2. North Medford 326.5; 3. Grants Pass 268.5. ALSO: South Medford 168.5, Sheldon 103.5, Willamette 25, South Eugene.


Sprague rolls to state titles

Both boys and girls team take first in upset-filled finals
By Cliff Pfenning,

GRESHAM - Sprague High of Salem won both the boys and girls team titles at the Oregon High School Racquetball Championships Sunday at Cascade Athletic Club, but Reynolds scored a little bit of glory along the way, too.

Justin Juul won the No. 1 singles title, defeating defending champion Mitchell Turner of Sprague 11-10 in the third game in a rematch of last year's final.

Sprague, though, easily won the team scoring by winning the remaining five brackets beginning with Nathan Buring at No. 2 singles. Jacob Scheuble won at No. 3, Caleb Cooper won at No. 4, Jack Sobey won at No. 5 and Aidan Crockett won the 102-player bracket at No. 6, beating teammate Joshua Wray in the final.

The girls draw at No. 1 featured an upset as well with Annie Roberts of Barlow edging two-time defending champion Kaitlyn Boyle of Beaverton in the final.

Sprague won the draw in the remaining five girls brackets to take the team title, which led to the Olympians winning the combined team title as well.

For Sprague, Makena Johnson won at No. 2, Ayisha Tamerhoulet won at No. 3, Malika Tamerhoulet won at No. 4, Taylor Monismith won at No. 5, and Anna Shewaye won at No. 6.

Most of the top players are headed to the national tournament, as it will be played at the Sunset Athletic Club in March.




Energy heads for Coliseum

Cheer teams go through final performances before state championships
By Cliff Pfenning,

TUALATIN - Saturday's final run-through of routines before an audience produced some impressive performances and good drama for next week's OSAA State Championships at the Tualatin Last Chance event held at Sherwood High as the Three Rivers League district wrestling meet overtook Tualatin for the weekend.

Sherwood, a newcomer in the Coed division, edged Gladstone - also moving over to Coed after winning the 4A title last year, in spite of the Gladiators nailing their routine, and Umatilla showed up before an audience for the first time, giving its large team a huge lift in spirit.

"We've been practicing a lot and looking forward to being in front of a crowd," said Umatilla senior Trenton Morin. "Now we've done that. It's quite a rush when you get to perform before people."

Overall, Westview showed it's ready to defend its Class 6A title with a stellar performance with its 20 athletes as one of the highlights of the day. Delphian hit its routine with few mistakes to win at Class 3A, Newport won at 4A, Churchill took 5A and North Medford won the three-team Coed Large division.

Tualatin, which sat out the competition part as it played host to the event, performed an exhibition and showcased it's ready to return to the ranks of state champions with a sparkling routine that featured several sky-high acrobatic elements.

The Tualatin event attracted many of the top teams with others performing in Salem Saturday. Among those teams were defending champions Newberg, South Albany and McMinnville, as well as Thurston, Sweet Home and The Dalles.

Aloha, which has won three 6A titles in the past five years, plans to sit out the state finals while preparing for a national meet.




Jefferson leads title defense ranks

Five of six champions are among state favorites
By Cliff Pfenning,

It's win over Lincoln might have seemed uninspired Monday night, but the Jefferson Democrats look like the favorite to win the Class 6A state title in boys basketball for a second consecutive year heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.

The Demos, who have won six state titles in the past 10 years, are ranked second behind Sprague in the OSAA ratings, but are 16-2 with both losses to out-of-state schools. They also have a pair of wins over No. 3 Grant, and the experience of numerous playoff games, something the Olympians lack having not reached the tournament since 2003.

At Class 5A, two-time champion Wilsonville is ranked fourth, but its six losses are to 6A schools or out-of-state teams. And the Wildcats, who were also in the 2015 final, have a seven-game win streak running. Silverton, the 2015 champion, is ranked No. 1.

At 4A, Banks is ranked first and is the lone unbeaten team in the state at 18-0 heading into a key game with second-ranked and defending champion Seaside tonight. The Braves are looking for their first trip to a title game.

At 3A, defending champion Dayton is No. 2 behind De La Salle of Portland, which it beat in the final last season. De La Salle has been to four title games without scoring a win.

At 2A, defending champ Santiam is eighth, with Western Mennonite – the 2011 champion - atop the rankings and Columbia Christian, a two-time champion at Class 1A, in second.

And at 1A, defending champion Sherman is second.



Girls hoop has plenty of consistency

Five of six defending champions look like solid contenders
By Cliff Pfenning,

Nearing the stretch run of the high school basketball season, a majority of the six defending champions in girls play appear as solid picks to repeat, something that has not happened in the state's history.

At least not yet.

A review of state records shows that since championships began being awarded in 1976, teams regularly repeat as champions, but rarely do the same teams repeat in the same year. The feat happened in two of the four classifications from '76 through 2006 five times, and since 2007 three of the six champions have repeated in the same year. But, no more than four.

This year, that could change, as it did last year when four of the defending champions played in finals. Just Sutherlin won for its fourth straight title at 4A.

This season Sutherlin has struggled to retain its form atop the state rankings and appears as the lone team unlikely to make a run at a title.

Southridge, at Class 6A, is rated at No. 1 among the OSAA rankings heading into the final three weeks of action.

At 5A, LaSalle returns all-tourney unanimous pick Taycee Wedin and is No. 3, behind Central, a relative newcomer to the top rankings, and Marist, a semifinalist last season.

At 4A, Marshfield is ranked ahead of Hidden Valley and has a win over the Mustangs. The Pirates are having a season for the ages as the school has never reached a final in girls play. Banks, last season's runner-up, is ranked third.

At 3A, all four semifinalists from last season are ranked in the top seven, with defending champion Blanchet Catholic at No. 4.

At 2A, defending champ Monroe is ranked second behind Kennedy, the top-ranked team from last season that Monroe beat in the semis. Kennedy won in 2016.

And, at 1A, Nixyaawii and Country Christian appear headed for a return trip to the final, which Nixyaawii won convincingly.



Sprague holds its ground in Valley

Olympians use big fourth quarter for 56-47 victory
By Cliff Pfenning,

SALEM - Sprague had more than just the top spot in the Valley League to contend with Friday night, it had some defense of its state ranking at stake.

And, the second-ranked Olympians handled both, using a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to beat host, and fifth-ranked McNary 56-47 and retain sole possession of first place in the league standings.

Senior Teagan Quitoriano scored a game-high 19 points, and junior Jailen Hammer added 14 to lead Sprague, which improved to 15-2 overall and 10-0 in league play thanks to its 10th consecutive win.

McNary trailed just 34-33 after three quarters, but let the game fly away in the following five minutes and dropped to 13-5, 8-2 and into a second-place tie with No. 10 West Salem.

The Celtics saw their eight-game win streak end, but are still confident they can wind up within the top eight seeds and secure as many as two playoff games at home on the way to a spot in the eight-team state tournament.

McNary had played to within a game of the tournament the past three seasons. The program hasn’t been to the final eight since 2005.

Senior Ricardo Gardelli led McNary with 14 points, but 11 of those were in the first quarter.

Senior Lucas Garvey and junior Boston Smith both added eight points for the Celtics.

Sprague, which played within a game of the tournament last season, plays a non-league game against Sheldon Tuesday.

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