Cross country stars: JFK’s Lopez, Foxes’ Stutzman run to district titles

November 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, Sports

James DayKennedy High senior Alejandra Lopez won the Special District 2 girls cross country championship Oct. 25 at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon.

Lopez ran the 5,000 meters in 18:52.3, 17 kenn lopezseconds ahead of runner-up Jessica Neal of Central Linn.

The Trojans also received great performances from the rest of the squad and took home the team title, finishing three points ahead of Neah-Kah-Nie.

Freshman Aleksandra Eyles was 10th in 21:2.48, with sophomore Cassie Traeger (17th, 22:16.4), senior Clarissa Traeger (22nd, 22:47.0) and junior Whitney Lopez (29th, 23:10.4) also scoring.

“The girls ran very tough,” Kennedy coach Steve Ritchie told Our Town, noting “our other seven girls were also just so determined to get the title, and they all ran their best races of the season.”

The girls district title is the fourth in a row for the Trojans, and Lopez continues a remarkable district championship streak – Kennedy has won the girls individual title for seven consecutive years. The Trojans are headed to the Nov. 3 OSAA championships at Lane Community College for the 15th time in 17 years.

The Kennedy boys team also is headed to state – for the 19th time in 21 years. The Trojans, led by junior Luke Hall, finished third behind champion East Linn Christian and Chemawa. Hall was 11th in 17:27.3. Also scoring were sophomore Gianni Velazquez (13th, 18:11.9), junior Nick Riedman (15th, 18:13.8), sophomore Jose Salazar (23rd, 18:26.7) and senior Micah Parker (25th, 18:36.0). It was Velazquez’s best time by more than a minute, while Salazar, who was running just his second competitive 5K, dropped his time by nearly a minute and a half. “An awesome team performance,” summed up Ritchie.

homer haileMeanwhile, Silverton senior Haile Stutzman captured the boys championship at the Mid-Willamette Conference district cross country meet Oct. 24 at Waterloo County Park in Lebanon.

Stutzman ran the 5,000-meter course in 15:51.20, besting runner-up Trevor Cross of Dallas by nearly 15 seconds.

“Haile showed poise and maturity,” coach Erik Cross told Our Town. “The start was very physical. He actually got pushed back to about 20th place with Trevor Cross way out ahead. He spent the first mile working through people, finally catching Trevor just before the mile marker. He made a strong move earlier than we had planned, but it was the right decision.  From there he controlled the race and finished strong to grab the title.”

Four other Foxes finished in the top 23 to earn Silverton third place in the team race, qualifying the squad for next Saturday’s OSAA Class 5A state championships at  in Eugene. Silverton finished with 65 points, two behind runner-up Dallas. Crescent Valley won the title with 57.

Sophomore Miles Decker finished seventh for Silverton in 16:44.60. Also scoring for the Foxes were sophomore Trevor Ortega (12th, 16:58.10), junior Jonathan Hansen (22nd, 17:16.90) and junior Jadon Mansur (23rd, 17:17.90).

“The boys team ran great. It was a big step forward for the program,” Cross said.

In the girls race Silverton senior Jori Paradis finished eighth in 19:43.40. The Foxes finished fifth as a team, one spot away from the final qualifying spot for state. Crescent Valley also won the girls title, followed by North Salem, Corvallis and Lebanon. Paradis ends
her career holding three of the top 15 times in school history.

Volleyball: Kennedy, which finished third in Class 2A last season, earned the No. 1 seed into this year’s  playoffs. The Trojans took a 26-1 record into their Oct. 27 matchup with No. 16 Reedsport that took place after Our Town’s presstime.

Kennedy, which was a perfect 16-0 in the Tri-River Conference, dominated the league’s awards. Outside hitter Hallie Sprauer, middle blocker/hitter Sophia Carley, libero Hailey Arritola and setter Ellie Cantu all received first-team honors. Middle hitter/blocker Kalyssa Kleinschmit was a second-team choice, with setter and defensive specialist Ibeth Gomez earning third-team honors.

Sprauer was named conference player of the year.

Also playing key roles for the squad are Elise Suing, Kelsey Kleinschmit, Emma Beyer and Rylie Newton.

“Rankings are really not what we focus on,” coach Laura Beyer told Our Town. “We know we have to go out every day and work extremely hard and stay intent on getting the job done.”

The Trojans’ lone loss was to a team from Kings Way, Washington. Beyer said one of the keys to the 16-0 league season was the tough competition the squad faced in tournaments against Class 4A teams such as Cottage Grove, Sweet Home and Tillamook.

“This team is extremely hard-working, dedicated, unselfish, encouraging and supportive of each other, all qualities that will make for a very successful season,” Beyer said. “Whatever the end result is I couldn’t ask for any more from a team and they are first-class athletes to coach.”

Silverton also is in the playoffs, with its Oct. 27 matchup at Wilsonville occurring after Our Town’s presstime. The Foxes finished the regular season 13-10 overall and 9-7 in the Mid-Willamette Conference under first-year coach Kate Trimble.

“The team has been incredibly welcoming and receptive to me as their new head coach and my assistant, Dustin Walker,” Trimble told Our Town. “We came in telling them we were changing their entire system from serve/receive, to offense and defense, to the culture of the program. We knew there would be a huge learning curve, but the girls have improved more than I could have hoped and have been amazing to coach.”

Senior outside hitter and co-captain Liza Dahl leads the way for the Foxes, piling up 222 kills, breaking a 2009 school record. The old record was 181 and Dahl has at least one match left.

Riley Traeger “has come into her own this year,” Trimble said of the middle blocker (145 kills) who also leads the squad in aces with 31. “Tiny and mighty” Emily Candee is the top setter with 467 assists, while Riley Hostetter (105 kills, 121 digs) and Emily Anderson (20 aces and 257 digs) also have played
key roles.

Kennedy football: The Trojans continued their late-season surge with a 55-6 Special District 2 win vs. Chemawa. The Trojans, No. 9 in Class 2A, have won five in a row and will take a 7-2 record into the playoffs. Their only losses were to league rivals No. 2 Sheridan and No. 5 Santiam.

“As of now it looks like we will be hitting the road for the playoffs again this year,” coach Joe Panuke told Our Town. “If we keep playing physical and as a team I really like our chances going forward.”

Soccer: The Silverton boys squad finished the Mid-Willamette season 5-2-1 and ranked sixth in Class 5A. The Foxes, who are 10-2-1 overall in their second year under coach Derek McElfresh, outscored their opponents 60-17 while battling through a league that also contains No. 2 Corvallis, No. 3 Central and No. 4 South Albany. Silverton is likely to host a first-round playoff match, a key goal for the squad this season.

The Foxes’ girls squad also is headed to the playoffs after finishing 5-2 in league play and 6-5-1 overall. The team claimed fourth in the MWC and is ranked 12th in Class 5A.

Baseball: Foxes senior left-handed pitcher Hunter Runion has committed to play college ball at Montana State-Billings, an NCAA Division II school that plays in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Runion is scheduled to sign his letter-of-intent at a ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 in the school library. Runion, also a standout defensive back and special teams performer for the Foxes’ football team, plans to study law enforcement at MSU with hopes of becoming a game warden.

Silverton fans will have opportunities to watch Runion play in college because Western Oregon and Concordia of Portland are among MSU’s GNAC foes.

FFA: A contingent of 15 Silverton High FFA students was in Indianapolis as Our Town went to press, participating in a national convention. A boys team of Kyle Drescher, Byron Kuenzi, Jerome Kuenzi, and Collin Standley, coached by ag teacher and FFA adviser, Scott Towery, won a career development event in agriculture mechanics at the state contest in Oregon to advance to the national event, which is bringing together 65,000 FFA members from across the U.S. Our Town will have an update on the trip in its Nov. 15 edition.

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