Highlights second at state: Tournament and college roundup

April, 2016 Posted in School, Sports & Recreation

James DayBy James Day

The Stayton High dance team took second in Class 4A-1A in the state tournament, thrilling the crowd at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum with a routine based on the book and film Unbroken.

The Stayton Highlights finished the 2015-16 season with a second place trophy at State. Stayton has finished first or second in each of the last 15 years.

The Stayton Highlights finished the 2015-16 season with a second place trophy at State. Stayton has finished first or second in each of the last 15 years.

The Highlights, who dedicated their season to Ty Hart, the Stayton Marine who died in a helicopter crash in January, received 90.83 points from the judges, good for second place behind Valley Catholic (91.44). The two squads were the class of the field, with no team in any other class surpassing 87 points.

It was the second consecutive title for Valley Catholic, which broke the Highlights’ run of 12 consecutive titles last season. Stayton has finished first or second in each of the past 15 years, a mind-boggling achievement.

“The team this year has been closer than ever,” Highlights Coach Robin Meier told Our Town “Our theme was ‘unbroken’ and they just embodied that in every sense of the word. Their sense of team, loyalty, respect for one another was so incredible to witness.

“(It was) such a pleasure to coach a team like that.”

Meier noted that Hart’s mother, Trina, was a Highlight and that Ty graduated the same year as Meier’s oldest daughter.

“Stayton is a small town where everyone knows everyone,” she said. “We all feel that loss that put such a bigger impact on what we were doing.”

The Highlights’ squad featured seven seniors, all of whom finished their careers with two state titles and two runner-up slots. Seniors Maggie Bullard and Cheyene Heuberger were both named to the all-state team. The other seniors on the squad were Kymberlin Bush, Mandy Christiansen, Olivia Whisman, Rachel Branch and Mackenzie Anundi.

Boys hoops:  At Regis, Coach Tony Miller told Our Town, the goal every season is to “play for a championship.”

The Rams got their shot but fell eight points short. Regis shared the Tri-River Conference title with Western Mennonite, beat the Pioneers in the league playoffs and advanced to the Class 2A title game in Pendleton before falling 57-49 to Vernonia.

On the road to the title game the Rams first had to deal with two Tri-River foes, bouncing Kennedy 54-36 in the quarterfinals and Western Mennonite 47-25 in the semis. Regis faced the Pioneers four times this season and went 3-1 against them.

“Playing Western Mennonite four times was difficult,” Miller said, while adding that playing in a tough conference “helps prepare you every year.”

Regis junior Bryce Piete was a unanimous pick on the all-tournament first team, where he was joined by senior teammate Sam Nieslanik. Piete was third in the tournament in scoring with 37 points. Nieslanik was fifth in rebounds with 20.

“I am very proud of our season,” Miller said of the 25-4 campaign. “Yes, we would have loved to have one more victory, but this last game will not cast a shadow on the success we achieved.”

The Cascade boys finished 13-11 and fell one game short of returning to the Class 4A tournament. Astoria ousted the Cougars in the round of 16 a week after the Fishermen had eliminated Stayton (10-13) in the play-in round.

John Schirmer of Cascade made the all-Oregon West Conference first team, while teammate Cameron Molan and Stayton’s Matthew Lindemann and Charlie Weeks were selected to the second team. Garrett Coffey and Tyler Walker of the Cougars as well as Stayton’s Kyle Schwarm received honorable mention.

Girls hoops: Cascade advanced to the state championship game in Class 4A but fell 45-40 to Sutherlin. It was the third consecutive title for the Bulldogs, who have an 82-1 record in that span. “I’m still smarting a little,” Cougars Coach Mark Stevens said. “Success at the state tournament is very important to our program. The goal is always to win your last game.”

Cascade led 24-21 at halftime, but Sutherlin used a 14-6 spurt in the third period to take the lead. The Cougars were able to tie the game at 40-40 with 1:56 left on a three-point play by Halle Wright, but the Bulldogs answered with the game’s final five points.

Wright finished with 23 points in the title game and was a unanimous all-tournament first-teamer after leading the tournament in scoring (53 points) and finishing second in rebounds (32). Teammate Alyssa St. Peter also was a first-teamer.

“This group of seniors was a huge factor in our success this year,” Stevens said of Wright, St. Peter, Danielle Haddix, Peighton Williams and Crystal Wilson. “Great players, students and people. They will be missed.”

Stevens has led the Cougars to the finals five times, taking home the title in 2011.

Wright and St. Peter shared Oregon West Conference player of the year honors. They were joined on the first team by Tess Hendricks of Stayton, which finished 15-9 after losing to Banks in the round of 16. Mariah Hollenbeck and Alyssa Lindemann of Stayton earned second team nods, along with Kirsten Cade of Cascade. Haddix and Kelsey Molan received honorable mention, as did Madison Anderson and Malya Ikea-Mario of Stayton.

State wrestling: Four Cascade wrestlers placed at the OSAA Class 4A championships and the Cougars finished eighth as team with 70 points.

Louie Sanchez placed third at 220 pounds, while James Baxter (fourth at 152), Hayes VanDeHey (fourth at 182) and Darien Fagin (sixth at 120) also were on the podium. Asa Alexander (152) and Sam Garee (170) scored points for Cascade. Also participating were Quinn Legner (132) and Kade VanDeHey (145).

Stayton, meanwhile, finished 30th with eight points. Scoring for Stayton were Levi Summers (160), Ryan Ninman (113) and Cleveland Smith (145).

College: Here is a look at how Stayton area athletes performed at colleges during the winter season: Oregon State redshirt sophomore Cody Crawford (Cascade) took third at the Pac-12 Conference wrestling championships at 197 pounds and finished with a 19-14 record, including an 8-9 record in dual meets. Crawford won first place at the Mike Clock Open.

Scio heavyweight Josh Parazoo also is on the OSU roster, but the redshirt sophomore did not compete this season because of injuries.

Stepan Zavydovskyy (Cascade), a 6-7 freshman for the Chemeketa men’s basketball team, played all 32 games for the 19-13 Storm, finished third on the team in blocks (16) and fourth in rebounds (101).

Former Scio athletes Paige Graham (5-9 sophomore) and Riley Graham (5-8 junior) competed for the Linfield women’s basketball team. Paige started 12 games, averaging 7.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and finished second on the squad with 32 3-pointers. Riley also started 12 games and averaged 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Alix Biddington of Cascade, a 5-6 freshman guard at Oregon Tech, played 112 minutes in 19 games and had 13 assists for the 26-9 Lady Owls.

Andrew Reardon, a 6-8 freshman forward from Stayton, led Linn-Benton Community College in rebounding with 116 and was fourth on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game.

Shelby Jenkins of Stayton played 40 sets for the College of Southern Idaho volleyball team. Jenkins, a 5-10 freshman who participated in volleyball, basketball and track and field at Salem Academy, had 32 kills, 19 digs and 15 blocks for CSI.

OSAA news: Tom Welter, a Stayton native and Regis graduate, is retiring as executive director of the OSAA in June. Welter, 67, joined the OSAA in 1995 and has served in the statewide body’s top administrative position since 2001. Welter, an Oregon State mathematics graduate (bachelor’s in 1971, master’s in 1975), started his teaching career in Australia. He spent 20 years at Central Catholic High School, serving as a teacher, coach, athletic director and dean/vice principal. Welter was president of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association in 1990-91, was selected OADA athletic director of the year in 1993 and received the OADA lifetime achievement award in 2010.  He was inducted into the Central Catholic Hall of Fame in 2005.

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