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Sheldon sports put together a year to remember.

Byline: Curtis Anderson The Register-Guard

What a year for Sheldon sports!

During the 2002-03 season, the Irish won a state championship in football, battled South Eugene to a 1-1 tie in the state title match in boys soccer, placed third overall at the state boys golf tournament and took fifth at the state boys track meet.

Of the 19 sports sanctioned by the Oregon School Activities Association, Sheldon captured 11 titles and four runner-up finishes in the Midwestern League. The Irish had state representation in all but two sports - softball and boys basketball - and they tied for fifth in both of those, just one spot out of the playoffs.

It's no wonder that The Register-Guard athletes of the year - seniors Alex Brink and Paige Ford - both hail from Sheldon and this year's No. 1 story also has a green tint to it as the Irish football team claimed the first Class 4A title in school history.

`This is not sinking in yet for me,' sixth-year Sheldon football coach Marty Johnson said, shortly after the Irish beat Lake Oswego 31-24 at PGE Park in Portland on Dec. 8. `The look on these guys' faces is worth all the money in the world.'

The victory capped a 14-0 season for the top-ranked Irish, and it helped ease the sting from last year's loss to McNary in the state title game.

Sheldon earned the bulk of the postseason awards as Brink was named Class 4A offensive player of the year, Johnson repeated as coach of the year and eight Irish players received first-team all-state recognition.

Other first-team picks were kicker Luke Bellotti, wideout Jared Souder, offensive linemen Jared Hazard and Colin Wiest, defensive lineman Gabe Smith, linebacker Chris Baltzer and defensive back Chad Mart.

2, Tourney returns to Eugene

By a unanimous vote on May 5, the OSAA executive board voted to send the 4A boys basketball tournament back to McArthur Court in Eugene for the 2003-04 season.

The combination of dwindling crowds and falling revenue in Portland sparked initial discussion on a shift in venues for the tournament, which had been moved to Memorial Coliseum in 1966.

The deal was finalized when the University of Oregon offered to combine the 4A boys basketball tournament at Mac Court, a 4A/3A championship doubleheader in football at Autzen Stadium and the 4A/3A state track meet at Hayward Field into one package.

3, Irish, Axemen share soccer crown

The record book will show that both Sheldon and South Eugene were state champions in boys soccer in 2002, but neither team was celebrating after they battled to a 1-1 tie in November at West Salem High School.

The past two Midwestern League MVPs each scored a goal - Sheldon's Tyler Hannum in the final minute of the first half and South Eugene's Nick Leonard in the 71st minute of regulation.

The game remained tied after 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. The OSAA does not use penalty kicks as a tiebreaker in the championship match. It was the fifth tie in 4A history.

4, Falcons soar to 3A softball title

Top-ranked Elmira (26-1) completed a near-perfect season with a 1-0 victory over Baker in the Class 3A state championship softball game at Portland's Erv Lind Stadium on Saturday.

Junior pitcher Alicia Cook led the Falcons with her fourth consecutive shutout in the state playoffs. It was the third state title for Elmira, which also won in 1992 and '93.

Cook, the daughter of head coach Pam Cook, was one of the most dominant pitchers in the state this year as she battled back from offseason shoulder surgery and arthroscopic knee surgery.

5, Mohawk boys defend title

A few people thought Bart Rothenberger may have overextended himself when he agreed to coach both the boys and girls basketball teams at Mohawk High School this past season.

Not to worry.

Both teams won Mountain West League titles, and the Indian boys capped their season by successfully defending their 1A state championship with a 48-43 triumph over Columbia Christian in Pendleton on March 8. The Mohawk girls reached the state semifinal before losing to Wallowa.

6, Back-to-back titles for JC

Junction City senior Ty Harden was once again named 3A boys soccer player of the year, and Chris Bolton received his second straight coach of the year honor after leading the Tigers to back-to-back state titles.

Harden, who will play soccer at the University of Washington this fall, was the lone Junction City player to be named first-team all-state. The Tigers, who have won 29 straight matches, capped off an undefeated season with a 4-0 victory over Wilsonville in the championship match at West Salem High School in November.

7, Spartans streak past 100

The Marist girls basketball team extended its Sky-Em League win streak to 104 games this past season, which is believed to be the longest such streak in the history of Oregon girls basketball.

The Spartans last lost a conference game on Feb. 19, 1996.

Marist also lost its head coach when Terry Lande resigned after an unprecedented run of success over a 10-year period. Lande finished with an overall record of 245 wins and 28 losses, including state titles in 1996, '97 and '99.

During Lande's reign, the Spartans never finished lower than fourth place at state with an overall tournament record of 33-7.

8, Milestone for NE's Jodoin

North Eugene softball coach Mike Jodoin earned career win No. 500 on May 16 as the Highlanders rolled over Lebanon, 7-0.

Jodoin is the second coach in state history to reach 500 wins, following Putnam's Jerry Stidham, who accomplished the feat earlier in the year. Jodoin has a 501-166 record in 26 seasons as a softball coach. According to the National High School Sports Record Book, 17 coaches in the nation had 500 or more wins at the start of the 2003 season.

9, Hurdling all obstacles

Three Midwestern League hurdlers swept all four titles at the 4A state championships at Hayward Field in May.

Churchill's Sol Rexius won both the 110 high hurdles and the 300 intermediates in the boys' meet, while Sheldon's Paige Ford defended her title in the 100 hurdles, and North Eugene's Amanda Santana won the 300 hurdles with the sixth-best all-time performance at 43.95 seconds.

Elmira's Caleb Dysert captured his second straight title in the 110 highs at the 3A boys state meet by edging runner-up Collin Cram-Watkins of Siuslaw. On the girls' side, Pleasant Hill's Danica Bates took first in the 100 hurdles.

10, Veteran coaches step down

Four longtime coaches at Thurston and Springfield high schools chose the 2002-03 season to be their last.

For the Colts, Don Stone stepped down as football coach and Gary Bowden resigned as wrestling coach. At Springfield, Jim Fryback concluded his second tenure as head coach of the boys basketball team and Charlie Olds retired as girls basketball coach.

Best of the rest

After losing three times to Gold Beach in the regular season, the Myrtle Point girls basketball team broke through in the 2A state championship game with a 54-43 victory over the Panthers. ... South Eugene sophomore Erin Gray led the Axemen girls to a second-place finish at the 4A state cross country meet by capturing the individual title. ... The Oakridge boys put four runners in the top 10 to win their first 2A state title in cross country; they followed that performance with their third title in four years at the 2A state track meet with individual wins from Andrew Perri (800), Jed Moffitt (1,500) and Austin Bowles (3,000). ... The Reedsport girls golf team captured their first 3A/2A state title as Emily Vaughn and Leslie Wheeler placed third and fifth, respectively. ... Three Midwestern League wrestlers won individual state titles - Thurston's Luke Hogle (171), Lebanon's Johnny Von Ruden (189) and Churchill's Nick Cautrell (135). The last time the league had three champions was 1970. ... The South Eugene boys swim team placed second at the 4A state meet, and North Eugene's Ben Malcolm collected individual wins in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. ... Marist senior Adriana Quirke broke three of her own records and won the 200 IM and 100 backstroke at the 3A state swim meet. North Bend sophomore Kim Jasmer won the 200 and 500 freestyle, and Reedsport freshman Aubrey Vaughn took first in the 50 and 100 freestyle. ... Thurston's Jay Mayernik scored a school-record 53 points in a win over Lebanon on Dec. 16. Mayernik's total was the second-highest by a Midwestern League player, trailing the 59 points scored by Mike Moran of Eugene High School in 1955; Oak Hill's Adrian Young equaled the 1A boys basketball single-game scoring record with 57 points in a loss to Falls City on Feb. 12. Young matched the record set by John Stevens of Griswold in 1956. ... The Lowell girls basketball team reached the semifinals before falling to Portland Christian in the Devils' first trip to the 2A state tournament.


Sheldon players hold their state championship trophy aloft after beating Lake Oswego in the Class 4A football title game on Dec. 7, 2002.
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Title Annotation:The Irish won a state football title and took 11 league championships; Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 10, 2003
Previous Article:Pre Classic looking to change weekends.

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