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Day: June 11, 2010

A perfect 12 for 12

There was simply no quit in Susie Fedler, Kristin Phillips and Taylor Jones.

As a result of their tenacity, the trio were honored with Celtic Pride awards, given annually to those McNary athletes who compete in fall, winter and spring sports each of the four years they’re in high school.

Susie Fedler

Fedler gives the school’s sense of community an assist for her accomplishment.

“Well, it’s really awesome being a part of McNary because everyone is so supportive here,” said Fedler, who competed in volleyball, basketball and track. “Just playing three sports all four years, it’s been tough. But it’s been very rewarding as well.”

Susie Fedler

And it almost didn’t happen. She contemplated taking a break this spring.

“I couldn’t decide if I was going to do track,” Fedler said. “And then everyone was like it’s your senior year, you might as well as finish out. It was basically at the end of basketball that I was making my decision to play track or not.”

A short conversation with Athletic Director Mike Maghan proved enlightening as well.

“I didn’t even realize that I was one of three until Mr. Maghan came up to me and said, ‘you know, you’re a Celtic Pride winner.’ And I’m like what? And then I realized what he was talking about.”

The accomplishment was equal parts toughness and fun.

“It was really hard, but I love playing sports. So it was also fun at the same time,” said Fedler.

Next up for the senior is Oregon State University, where she expects to play club sports.

Her parents are Jenny and Steven Fedler.

Kristin Phillips

Kristin Phillips concentrated her time and energy on soccer, swimming and golf.

“I played soccer because I wanted to keep in shape for golf,” said Phillps. “And I swim, kind of, to socialize, and to keep in shape, because I’m not the best swimmer.

Her passion is golf. And her dedication and talent paid dividends as she’ll golf for Idaho State University in Pocatello next year.

Kristin Phillips

Phillips qualified for three state tournaments as a member of the Lady Celts golf team.

“I started golfing when my parents started it, and I grew to love it,” Phillips said.

Her mother is Kim Phillips, the McNary swim and girls golf coach.  Ken Phillips, her father, is an assistant principal at West Salem High School.

Sister Katie also received a golf scholarship to Idaho State University, although her athletic career there ended this past spring.

Kristin Phillips was goalie for the Lady Celts varsity soccer team that advanced to the state playoffs in 2009 for the first time in years.

She was aware of Celtic Pride because Katie received the honor five years ago. But she didn’t see it as attainable.

“I didn’t really think about Celtic Pride while in high school,” said Kristin. “Like I’m going to be a 12-sport athlete.”

Taylor Jones

Taylor Jones and sophomore Deven Hunter were mainstays on the Lady Celts’ varsity volleyball, basketball and softball teams that went 41-1 against conference foes in 2009-10.

Jones was the libero in volleyball, point guard in basketball and second basemen in softball. She was a first-team all-conference selection in basketball and softball.

Taylor Jones

“I’m very honored,” Jones said of Celtic Pride. “It’s definitely had its struggles, but I’ve enjoyed it so much.”

Like the other recipients, Celtic Pride kind of just happened.

“Going into my freshman year, I didn’t have my mind set on being a Celtic Pride award winner. I’ve just enjoyed all three sports and I’ve stuck with it,” Jones said.

Not that there weren’t moments of doubt.

“I often had times where I was, like, I need a break, or I need time off, because time management was so difficult,” she said. “I’d go to school. I’d go to practice. I’d do homework and I’d have a game or a choir concert or whatever. It was just nonstop.”

She learned a lot about life through sports.

“I learned there’s ups and downs. There’s times when you don’t get along with your coach. There’s time when you don’t get along with your teammates,” said Jones. “But there’s a common goal that has to be reached, and there’s a time when you have to work with other people to achieve that goal.”

Jones will play basketball at the University of Puget Sound.

Her parents are Darcie and Bob Jones.

Domination nation

The Lady Celts basketball (pictured) and softball teams each went undefeated in conference play and finished in the top four at state. The school’s volleyball team shared a conference title and advanced to the state tournament. KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

Of the Keizertimes

There’s domination, and then there’s the big hurt the Lady Celts varsity volleyball, basketball and softball teams put on the rest of the Central Valley Conference.

The McNary girls won 41 of 42 league games in these sports. They also went 3-for-3 in acquiring conference titles.

“Three conference championships in the same year is a rarity,” said Molly Gehley, head coach for the Lady Celts basketball team. “This class of girls is very focused, talented in the classroom and on the field.”

This accomplishment is so rare, in fact, that those close to the scene report this is a McNary first.

Applying the big hurt wasn’t limited to conference rivals. The basketball and softball teams placed in the top four in state while the volleyball squad reached elite eight status.

“I think the other interesting thing with the girls is how deep they went into the playoffs in each sport,” said Gehley.

One trait the three teams shared was the ability to build on their success. The basketball team showed three-game improvements each year during the regular season for three years. The hoopsters were 3-9 in 2007, 6-6 in 2008, 9-3 in 2009 and 12-0 in 2010.

McNary volleyball coach Dustin Walker noted the girls’ chemistry.

“They are a close group of girls off the court and it shows on the court when they play,” said Walker.

Softball coach Jeff Auvinen agreed.

Maintaining positive relationships between “girls is vital, and it can made a huge difference,” said Auvinen. “When they feel good about hanging out with a group, they just let it out and let it loose. It just makes a world of difference when they’re relaxed and having fun.”

McNary Athletic Director Mike Maghan noted this sense of cohesiveness began developing years ago.

“This girls’ group have had lots of experience competing from third grade on,” said Maghan. “They know each other, and they like each other.”

The girls are also smart. Each team scored a cumulative grade point average that exceeded 3.50.

“It’s really easy to coach kids who are driven academically because it transfers over to their sports,” said Walker. “Kids that are driven to be successful academically are usually driven to succeed athletically.”

The Lady Celts are old-school when it comes to specialization, with many of the teams’ stars playing more than one sport.

“In the realm of specialization, sometimes I think it’s hard for multiple sports to carry on because all the girls play volleyball for a couple of years, and then all the girls play basketball for a couple of years,” said Auvinen. “This group hasn’t done that as much. You have some three-sporters and you have some two-sporters” on the softball team, for example.”

Last but not least, there’s the overabundance of raw talent to consider.

“It’s a deep class of girls, with very good athletes … and they continued to stay hungry, and they continued to work hard in their trade, be it basketball, volleyball or softball.

“It’s just a good group of kids personality-wise that are nice kids, that are hard workers, and have worked real hard at it. They kind of looked at this senior year and said that we want to make some waves, and they have,” said Auvinen.

Former Celts lead current teams in community college semifinals

Of the Keizertimes

Two former McNary baseball players played prominent roles when their current teams met in the semifinals of last month’s Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament.

Nick Phillips is a closer for the Lane Community College Titans and played for the 2009 McNary state championship baseball team.

Chad Fahey graduated from McNary in 2008 and pulled double-duty for the Chemeketa Community College Storm as a pitcher and outfielder.

Phillips and Fahey were high school teammates in 2008.

In the semifinal match-up, the Titans prevailed, 2-1, with Phillips picking up his 14th save of the season. He led the NWAACC with 12 saves during the regular season.

The freshman entered the game in the eighth with a runner on second and no outs. He got the first two batters he faced to ground out and the third to loft a fly to the outfield.

In the ninth, Phillips struck out the first two batters. Then saw two runners reach base before recording his third strikeout of the inning.

Phillips’s earned run average of 0.72 was 10th lowest in the NWAACC. He surrendered nine hits all season.

Fahey kept his team in the game with a solo home run. He also doubled for the Storm’s only other hit.

The former teammates did not face each other during the season. Nor did Phillips face former teammates Sheldon Austria and Jordan Keeker, who suit up for Linn-Benton Community College.

A fourth member of the 2009 Celts team, Brian Kottek, red-shirted for CCC this year.

Phillips expects to return to LCC next season while Fahey is weighing his offers to play ball at a four-year school.

Both men will spend summer break playing in the West Coast Portland League this summer, but not on the same team.

LCC lost to Lower Columbia Community College of Washington in the finals.

Great outdoors enhance students’ experience

For the second year in a row, Clear Lake students attended the three-day Camp Cascade Outdoor School, which allows children to learn in the outdoors lessons that aren’t entirely suited for the classroom. Students studied ponds, survival skills, salmon lifecycle and more. Pictured left: Cade Goff, Nick Brouse and Hunter Murphy; Top right:  Clear Lake students gather; Bottom: Kolby Baker and friends.

Tops in Tacoma

Holding their school’s trophies are, left to right, Emily Grimmer and Rose Pigsley of the choir along with Stacy Saukov and Diego Sanchez of the orchestra. The Claggett Creek musical programs swept the competition at Music in the Park in Tacoma. Submitted Photo.

Get out the brooms.

The Claggett Creek Middle School concert choir and orchestra returned from Tacoma with two first place trophies each.

The programs took first in their division and first overall at the Music in the Park festival.

The choir is directed by Rolland Hayden while the orchestra is led by Bruce Purdy.

The festival was held Saturday, June 14. Some 15 middle schools and one high school reportedly competed.

The concert choir recently placed third at the Best in the Northwest competition.