Changes mark water polo play
In a move that mirrors the Oregon School Activities Association's most recent reclassification, Oregon High School Water Polo is splitting its schools into different classifications for postseason play for the first time this season.
As has been the case in the past, Cottage Grove, Marist, North Eugene, Sheldon and South Eugene will play in the Southern Conference during the regular season along with Ashland and a combined team from South Medford and North Medford.
When the postseason begins, however, Sheldon and South Eugene will vie for spots in the Class 6A state playoffs Nov. 7-8 and the state tournament Nov. 14-15 in Corvallis. Cottage Grove, Marist and North Eugene will pursue Class 5A/4A berths in the state playoffs Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Albany, and the state tournament will be in Corvallis on the same days as the 6A tournament.
"We're following what the rest of the state does in all of its competitions," South Eugene coach Doug Smith said. "It gives the smaller schools an opportunity to be state champions. ... I think it's good for the sport, and it's good for the kids."
North Eugene coach Bill Kuzmer agrees with Smith's assessment.
"I think it's a good thing," he said. "There are more teams playing water polo every year, and some of the differences in size between the schools are huge."
The Southern Conference tournament will be held Oct. 25 at Amazon Pool in Eugene for the first time. In recent years, Willamalane Swim Center in Springfield has hosted the state-qualifying events.
"There's nothing better than Amazon Pool in the whole state for games," said Smith, the former supervisor of the city-owned pool.
South Eugene's boys team won the Southern League championship last year and was the only team in the area to advance to the state tournament, where the Axemen finished second to Newberg.
Cottage Grove is the defending girls league champion, and the Lions finished second to South Eugene in the boys league race.
Sheldon schedules alumni race
All Sheldon graduates are invited to run in the Sheldon Alumni Cross Country Challenge 3K Thursday at Dorris Ranch in Springfield. The women's race begins at 6 p.m. and the men's race is at 6:30.
Participants do not have to have competed in cross country or track for Sheldon, but all proceeds will benefit the school's cross country team.
Local officials honored
The National Federation of State High School Associations and the Oregon Athletic Officials Association have recognized a pair of local men as the state official of the year for their sport.
Cal Fagan was honored as the state's top football official while Pat McMahon was honored for basketball.