At the beginning of the season in November, the Silverton High swim team did not even have a pool.
Repairs at the Silverton Community Pool were not concluded until one month into the season.
The Aqua Foxes became road warriors, training at odd hours at Molalla and Woodburn. The squad also was all but shut down for two weeks in January because of COVID.
The payoff came Feb. 18, when the squad turned in a series of excellent performances in the Class 5A state championships at the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton.
• Both the boys and girls teams took 10th in the team race. The boys scored 12 points and the girls 8.
• Catherine Hyde was second in the 100 backstroke, fourth in the 100 butterfly and participated on relay teams that took seventh and ninth, respectively. Hyde set a school record of 58.25 in the backstroke. Her 1:00.42 in the fly was just off her school mark of 1:00.39 set earlier in the season.
• Makani Buckley set a boys 200 free school mark of 1:54.28 while finishing eighth.
• Buckley, CJ Hollis, Grant Nealon and Kellen Hayter took fourth in the 200 free relay. Buckley, Hollis, Hayter and Dalton Buller swam to fourth in the 400 free relay.
“The kids really fought through a lot to do as well as they did. I am so proud of them,” coach Lucky Rogers told Our Town. “They really bought into all of these things as being obstacles, not excuses.”
Kennedy’s boys squad, meanwhile, scored 5 points in the 4A-3A-2A-1A competition. Cameron Miller took fourth in the 100 back (56.57) and fifth in the 100 fly (55.88).
Wrestling: Silverton finished 6th in the Mid-Willamette district wrestling competition at the Salem Armory. The Foxes will be sending six athletes to the Class 5A state meet.
Freshman Brash Henderson won the district title at 220 pounds. Jacob Moore (126) and Steven Powell (160) took seconds, with Bo Zurcher (126), Joshua Jones (138) and Oscar Marks (145) all placing fourth.
Foxes coach Jared Wilson noted that Jones and Marks both qualified for state despite being unseeded heading to districts.
“It has been a privilege coaching these young men and women all season, and I look forward to watching them compete one more time,” Wilson told Our Town,
Kennedy, meanwhile, took 5th in the Class 2A-1A Special District 1 meet at Neah-Kah-Nie High with 124 points. The Trojans will be sending three wrestlers to state, 113-pound champion Adam Reyes, 113 runner-up Julio Reyes (no relation) and Briggs Snell, runner-up at 285. Also headed to state is Alex Geschwill, who took 2nd at 120-pounds in the girls district meet Feb. 5.
Note: Silverton and Kennedy participated in state competition on Feb. 26 after Our Town’s press time. See Facebook or our March 15 edition for state results.
Football: Big changes have come to small school football in Oregon. The Oregon School Activities Association has mandated 9-man football for Class 2A, leading to a raft of changes in terms of district alignments.
Kennedy, a perennial 2A power with four appearances in the state title game since 2015, has chosen to move up to Class 3A for football only. The Trojans will play in the PacWest Conference with Amity, Dayton, Jefferson, Newport, Salem Academy, Santiam Christian and Scio.
Two long-time Kennedy foes, Regis and Santiam, will remain in the Class 2A Tri-River Conference and play 9-man, along with Blanchet, Chemawa, Colton, Culver, Gervais and Willamina.
Silverton remains in 11-man Class 5A, but the 8-team, Mid-Willamette Conference will expand by one for football with McKay joining Central, Corvallis, Crescent Valley, Dallas, Lebanon, West Albany and South Albany.
The OSAA, which established an ad-hoc football committee that met five times to review possible changes, cited declining participation and player safety as the key drivers of the change.
Basketball: The Kennedy boys basketball team is one game away from a Class 2A state tournament berth in Pendleton. The Trojans took a 19-6 record and a No. 7 state ranking into a Feb. 25 playoff game at Gold Beach. A win puts the Trojans into the quarterfinals next Thursday against Stanfield or top-ranked Western Christian.
Both Silverton teams remained in the hunt for a Mid-Willamette Conference title at Our Town’s press time. The girls are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A and the boys are No. 3. Both squads are all but guaranteed a home playoff game the weekend of March 4-5. A win there means a quarterfinal game the following week at Gill Coliseum at Oregon State University.
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