Strong start: SHS Dance Team now turns to state meet program prep

December 2015 Posted in School, Sports

James DayBy James Day

The Silverton High dance squad turned in a series of sterling performances as the first half of a grueling season ended with the Categories Championships at Putnam High in Milwaukie.

The Foxes, who finished second in the OSAA Class 5A small division last season after taking state in 2014, competed in four events during the categories portion of the season.

Nov. 7 at David Douglas in Gresham: The Foxes finished first in contemporary dance, third in jazz and fifth in pom.

Nov. 14 at Wilsonville: Silverton again was first in contemporary while finishing second in jazz and third in pom.

Silverton High Dance Team in a pre-performance huddle.

Silverton High Dance Team in a pre-performance huddle.

Nov. 21 at West Albany: The Foxes took a pair of firsts, in jazz and contemporary and were second in pom.

Dec. 5 at Putnam: Silverton entered only its contemporary program in the categories and finished third.

Silverton is featuring a young and relatively inexperienced squad, Coach Paula Magee told Our Town.

“About one-half of the team was new to the floor this year, though they have fit in just great,” said Magee, who has four state titles and two runner-up finishes in her Silverton career. “We really have a wonderful group of girls who all get along well and have a great focus and work ethic.”

She said key contributions have come from juniors Alina Stratton, Sierra Lowry and Chryssi Wagner.

“There are no seniors this year so these three girls have really had to step up to a leadership/captain role. It’s their responsibility to set the tone for the team (and) keep everyone focused, positive and heading toward the same goal. These young ladies are not only very talented dancers, but they set an academic, social and artistic example for the team.”

The Foxes began practice in August, the same time as football, volleyball, soccer and cross country. Yet the season lasts until March. Next up for Silverton is to begin work on its dance program that the Foxes hope to qualify for the state meet March 17-19.

Hoops: Silverton boys have a number of key pieces back from the squad that captured the Class 5A boys title, including Mid-Willamette Conference player of the year Sam Roth, versatile forward Blake Cosgrove and 3-point sharpshooters Daniel Larionov and Julian Downey. Second-year Coach Steve Roth said it is important for his squad to keep the focus on this season.

“One of our big challenges is to develop a new identity, a process that is important every year, but especially so this year because last year’s success unfairly leads to high expectations this year,” Roth said. “This is a new group that will have to figure out an identity while having a target on their backs.”

The Foxes have added front-court players Brice Shippen, Elijah Nielsen and Koby Howell from last year’s junior varsity and football standout Noah Dahl also is in the mix for minutes.

“We haven’t yet proven the required toughness and selflessness that is required to be really good,” Roth said. “Our seniors last year led so wonderfully by putting the good of the team ahead of their personal aspirations. We talk about giving yourself up in order to find yourself … I’m hopeful this group will buy into that concept.”

Silverton opened the season Dec. 8 with a 60-41 victory over Class 4A Stayton but will be facing Class 6A teams in the coming weeks, including Clackamas, Canby, South Eugene and Lakeridge. In addition, the Foxes possibly could face Wilsonville – the Foxes beat the Wildcats 33-32 in last year’s title game during a holiday tournaments at Willamette University and an event Wilsonville will host. Silverton opens defense of its Mid-Willamette title Jan. 7 vs. visiting Lebanon.

The Silverton girls basketball team is off to a 3-0 start with road wins vs. Sherwood, West Albany and Stayton. Last year the Foxes tied with Corvallis for the Mid-Willamette title and lost 41-40 to the Spartans in the Class 5A quarterfinals. Returning is MWC player of the year Alia Parsons, who has signed to play college ball at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, as well as key contributors Brooke McCarty, Maggie Roth, Kayce McLaughlin and Hannah Munson.

“The expectations are really the same as every year regardless of who or what we return,” Coach Tal Wold said. “People know who we are and will be gunning for us. I think we have our own expectations and blueprint on what we want to do. We want to get better daily, play with great enthusiasm and pride, defend like crazy and represent the high school really well.

“With the group; we have returning, I feel confident we will do that.”

Parson, a 5-10 wing, is the lone senior on the squad, which will play a total of six Class 6A opponents before MWC play Jan. 7 at Lebanon.

“I think the league will be just dynamite,” Wold said. “I would not trade this team for any of them, though. It should make for a fun January and February where all games matter.”

Football: It was a disappointing end to a terrific year for Kennedy. The Trojans advanced to the Class 2A title game before falling to a well-drilled Heppner squad, 48-0. Kennedy, which tied with Central Linn and Regis for the Tri-River Conference title, finished 10-2 overall, with the losses to then undefeated and No. 1 Central Linn and to undefeated and No. 2 Heppner.

“To reflect on the season as a whole, it was just a special year,” second-year Trojans head coach Joe Panuke told Our Town. “The coaches and players worked very hard and deserved everything we achieved this year.  To be successful at the end of the season you have to have a team that loves the game.  These guys love the game of football, the process, the grind that goes into each week, and they enjoy being around each other.

“We obviously had some pretty special offensive and defensive players on the team, but all in all we had a bunch of good football players. We didn’t have a weak link.”

Kennedy defeated Irrigon 53-12, Burns 42-28 and Stanfield 34-20 in the playoffs before running into the red-hot Heppner.

“Heppner was a very good team and well coached,” Panuke said “They run well, tackle well, and play good football.  The challenges that Heppner gave us was defensively  that they closed to the ball real well, and they don’t miss many tackles.  Offensively they stay on their blocks, their backs break tackles and they threw nice balls down the field that were tough to defend.

“In the championship game our guys played their hearts out.  The loss wasn’t a result due to lack of effort.”

Particularly from linebacker  Dylan Arritola, who had eight solo tackles, eight assisted tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. “Dylan had a big day on defense,” Panuke said. “He reads run and pass really well and likes to stick his nose in it.”

“This was a season that the team, school, and the community will remember for a long time,” Panuke said. “It was just a fun time that went by too fast when you look back at it.  I want to thank all the parents, administrators, teachers, and community members that supported us during this special season. We have a great group of kids coming back next year, and we are already looking forward to that.”

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