Shooting star: Elks Hoop Shoot

July 2015 Posted in School, Sports

James DayBy James Day

Sharpshooting basketball standout Jacob Axmaker continues to shine at the national level.

Jacob, an 11-year-old at Sublimity Elementary School, shot his way to the national Elks Lodge hoop shoot championships at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Jacob, who was representing the Silverton Elks Lodge, No. 2210, finished second in his age division at the national event, being bested only by Zocko Littleton Jr of Atlanta.

And Jacob moved up three spots in the national rankings this year after finishing fifth in last year’s national tournament, which is open to shooters aged 8 to 13.

It was an arduous climb for Jacob to get to Springfield. Approximately 1,300 shooters were involved in the school level competition, said Milt Kintzley, who directed the hoop shoot for the Silverton Elks.

The 48 school winners, including Jacob, advanced to the local competition at Robert Frost Elementary School. After winning there Jacob moved on to claim the district championship at Central High School in Independence.

Keizer hosted the state championships, and when Jacob won there as well he moved on to regional competition in Vancouver, Wash.

A victory there earned Jacob and his parents an all-expenses paid trip to Massachusetts for the national event. Jacob probably busted the luggage weight guidelines on the way home. Kintzley said his performance earned him a trophy, a plaque, a basketball and a T-shirt.

Academic: Kennedy claimed a pair of first place teams on the academic all-state lists for spring sports. The Trojans’ softball team finished with a 3.87 cumulative grade point average to claim top honors in Class 2A-1A.

Ditto for Kennedy baseball, which also took first with a 3.61 GPA. Other Kennedy teams finishing in the top 10 were the band (fifth at 3.31) and girls track and field (eighth at 3.17). Two other Kennedy teams were above 3.0, boys track and field (3.17) and boys golf (3.08), although they did not make it into the top 10.

Silverton, meanwhile, field one first-place team and 10 of its squads turned in GPAs of 3.32 or better. The Foxes’ baseball team finished first in Class 5A with a 3.67 cumulative GPA.

Choir finished fourth (3.41), softball was fifth (3.57), girls track and field was sixth (3.71), along with band (3.48) and boys track and field (3.39). Girls tennis (3.49), boys golf (3.38), boys tennis (3.38) and speech (3.32) all easily cracked the 3.0 mark but did not finish in the top 10 in their respective activities.

Softball: I caught up with Foxes Coach Ralph Cortez, whose team advanced all the way to the Class 5A semifinals before falling to Pendleton.

“Again what a successful season, for the Foxes. I can’t say enough about this talented group. It’s great to be part of this season,” Cortez said. “Pendleton was good, tough place to play at, they where state champs last year and it showed. We tried to go in prepared, they where just better that day than us.”

Silverton featured a young team this season, with just three senior starters.

“Yes, we had a very youthful squad,” Cortez said. “Those young players are good because they dedicate time beyond high school ball competing during the summer on travel teams, I too coach travel ball and it also helps me be a better coach. The young players are physically gifted and skilled from the hard work they put into mastering this difficult sport with countless hours of skill development. Very excited for this and their efforts, my hats off to them.”

Coach of the year: A pair of local coaches were honored May 25 by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association at its annual dinner. Steve Roth, who led Silverton’s boys basketball team to its first OSAA title, was named coach of the year for Class 5A boys hoops, and veteran Kennedy coach Steve Ritchie was honored for Class 2A track and field.

Music: My bad for not noting earlier that the Silverton band finished fourth in Class 5A on May 13 at the OSAA championships at the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University. Congratulations to band director Frank Petrik and the rest of the Foxes.

College track: Former Silverton High athlete Stephanie Wells finished 24th in the NCAA championships June 11 at Hayward Field in Eugene. Wells, the lone member of the University of Montana squad to advance to nationals, had a best of 144-0 in her three throws and did not advance to the finals.

“I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but I did what I could,” said Wells, who competed three times at state meets at Hayward Field while with the Foxes. “The meet was exactly what I thought it would be, so I was confident and relaxed. I wasn’t scared at all.

“But regionals is nothing compared to the level of girls who throw here. It makes me realize I have a lot of work to put in.”

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