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Category: Youth Sports

Whiteaker falls to Parrish in championship game

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Whiteaker’s varsity football team didn’t get its storybook ending, falling to Parrish 20-6 on Thursday, Nov. 1 in the Salem-Keizer Middle School Championship game.

“We came out flat,” Whiteaker head coach Tom Larimer said. “I think the kids were super nervous. We didn’t block well in the first quarter. We started to play better in the second quarter. We got close a number of times and just didn’t execute when we had to execute.”

The Wolverines tied the game at 6-6 when quarterback Braiden Copeland scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown with 55 seconds remaining in the first half.

Whiteaker then recovered an on-side kick and Copeland connected with Johan Singh-Sanchez for a 34-yard gain to get inside the Parrish 5-yard line. However, three players later, Copeland was tackled at the 2-yard line as time expired.

Parrish running back Josiah Davis then broke free for a 53-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter to give the North Salem feeder the lead for good.

The Wolverine offense again drove inside the Parrish 10-yard line but weren’t able to score any points after a holding penalty set up a fourth-and-long at the 21.

Whiteaker’s defense then produced a turnover when linebacker Hunter Ruberto blitzed through the Parrish line and intercepted a handoff from Pioneers quarterback Nevin Zeller.

But even starting at the Parrish 14-yard line, the Wolverines failed to add any points.

“It was tough to run the ball against them,” Larimer said. “They’re big. They’re strong. They were putting eight or nine guys in the box and they were making it tough to run. They have some really good athletes up front.”

Micah Richter added an 88-yard touchdown run for Parrish with 6:52 remaining in the game.

Copeland got Whiteaker back into the red zone on a 59-yard run but the drive ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down at the 13.

Copeland finished with 99 yards rushing and 144 passing.

The Wolverines entered the game 7-0.

“I love these kids,” Larimer said. “They try so hard and I told them win or lose I feel exactly the same about them. I love these kids. They’re like my own kids now. I just feel grateful to be involved and to have this kind of interaction with these kids. Parrish has a bunch of good athletes and when they needed to make plays they made plays and they deserved to win that game.”

Holiday edges Cambridge

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Two points.

That is all that decided Holiday’s swim meet at Cambridge on Thursday, July 12 with the Keizer neighborhood pool coming out on top, 261-259.

On one of the hottest days of the year, Holiday’s girls led the team to victory, winning seven relays (8-and-under, 9-10, 11-12 and 15-18 freestyle; and 8-and-under, 9-10 and 11-12 medley) to outscore Cambridge 146-106.

Individually, Kassy Winters and Kyra Norstrom each won three events. Winters took first in the 15-18 IM, free and butterfly. Norstrom won the 11-12 IM, free and fly.

Maggie Gerig and Claire Hicks swam the fastest times in the 8-and-under fly and breaststroke, respectively.

Emery Love won the 11-12 backstroke and Erika Robinett placed first in the 11-12 breaststroke.

Tessa Talento and Emma Privratsky swam the fastest times in the 15-18 backstroke and breaststroke, respectively.

Holiday’s boys won five relays—the 11-12 free and the 8-and-under, 9-10, 11-12 and 15-18 medley.

Jack McCarty took first in the 15-18 breaststroke and butterfly.

Holiday won three 8-and-under events—Jacob Castronova in the breaststroke, Ozzy Arnold in the butterfly and Michael Hudgins in the IM.

Vinny Arnold took first in the 9-10 free, Josh Oliver won the 11-12 breaststroke and Carter Hollis swam the fastest time in the 13-14 fly.

Tony Gonzalez won the 15-18 backstroke.

Northview Terrace beat Jan Ree 300-240 on Thursday, July 12.

Individual winners from Northview include girls: Ally Castaneda 8-and-under IM, butterfly, and breaststroke; Carly Castaneda 8-and-under freestyle; Taylor Sponable 8-and-under backstroke; Izzy Kilby 9-10 butterfly; Kara Everitt 11-12 backstroke; Jana Everitt 11-12 breaststroke; Lily Snyder 15-18 butterfly.

Northview girls won 9-10 medaly and free relays and 11-12 free relay.

Northview boy winners were: Nick Kosiewicz 8-and-under IM, backstroke and breaststroke; Connor Price 8-and-under freestyle and butterfly; Cole Pedersen 9-10 freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke; Carson Smith 9-10 backstroke; Zach Kilby 11-12 IM, freestyle and butterfly; Dominic Snyder 11-12 backstroke and breaststroke; Kaden Chanthalangsy 13-14 backstroke; Jeremy Becker 13-14 IM, freestyle and butterfly; Cole Garland 15-18 IM, freestyle; Alex Kosiewicz 15-18 breaststroke.

Boys won 13-14 and 15-18 medley and free relays and 9-10 free relay.

McNary wrestlers eye state finals

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Brayden Ebbs and West Linn junior Sean Harman, two of the top 160-pounders in the state, have known each other for a long time, training on the same club team, All-Phase Wrestling, since they were little.

But they’ve never met in high school competition.

Ebbs hopes to change that at the OSAA State Championships Feb. 16-17 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

“We’ve been best friends for a very long time,” Ebbs said of Harman. “We’ve gone on out of state trips together, multiple camps and we’ve been very close for a long time. We have trained a lot together. He’s actually helped me become a tougher wrestler.”

Harman, undefeated at 40-0, enters the state tournament as the No. 1 seed. He won the 152-pound state title last season and is part of a wrestling family that includes a grandfather, father and two brothers who have all wrestled for Navy.

“When we were younger I actually used to beat him a lot but he got a lot better as he grew older and he became a great wrestler,” Ebbs said. “As long as I make it to the finals, I know it’s going to be a good match between me and him and there’s going to be a lot of respect from both sides and I think it will just be a fun match to be a part of, too.”

To get to the finals, Ebbs, the No. 3 seed, will have to first get past No. 2 Josh Grant of Century.

Grant, a senior, lost to Harmon 5-2 in the semifinals last season, and took third in the state.

“He’s a tough wrestler but me and my dad (McNary head wrestling coach Jason Ebbs) have prepared and we know what we’re going to do and what we need to avoid,” Ebbs said. “I think I have a pretty good shot of beating him.”

McNary junior Enrique Vincent was just happy to qualify for the state tournament a year ago.

That won’t be the case this time around.

Vincent is the No. 3 seed at 126 pounds after winning back-to-back district titles.

Leading his bracket is No. 1 Gavin Jolley, a two-time state champion out of Sherwood and Phillip Kue, the reigning 113-pound state champion from Centennial.

Vincent lost to Kue at the Oregon Classic last month.

“My coaches and my parents, everyone said I wasn’t wrestling like I normally do and at first I went into the match intimidated,” Vincent said. “I wasn’t wrestling like I normally was, aggressive wise or technique wise. I was just stalling out and trying to get any point I could and that didn’t work out that well. My game plan is to go in and do what I normally do.”

Vincent wants to improve on last year’s performance when he placed third in the state at 120 pounds.

“This year I’m not scared at all and I’m just looking towards that finals match,” Vincent said. “Last year was my first time there so I thought I’d be lucky to place but this time I better place and I better place higher than third.”

McNary sophomore Nicolette Parra also has her eye on the finals of the girls state tournament.

Parra finished second in her 135-pound weight class out of 47 girls on Jan. 26-27 to qualify for the exhibition tournament. The OSAA Executive Board voted Monday, Feb. 12 to create a separate state championship division for girls beginning in 2018-19.

Parra will open the tournament against Grants Pass senior Kaitlyn Dara. Mostly likely awaiting her in the finals would be Central Linn junior Sarah Conner, who defeated Parra in the qualifying tournament and won the 132-pound state championship last season.

Parra has spent her break from competition getting in better shape.

“I’ve really been taking care of my body because my health wasn’t that great at qualifying,” Parra said. “I’m not really worried about. It’s like any other tournament.”

McNary senior Blake Norton is seeded fourth at 220 pounds after winning the district championship at McKay on Feb. 3.

Norton has something in common with No. 1 Brett Nicholson of Aloha and No. 3 Julian Stone of North Medford. All three wrestled in the state tournament as heavyweights last year and were eliminated early. Daniel Serik, the No. 2 seed out of David Douglas, hasn’t wrestled in the state tournament before.

McNary junior Nick Hernandez and freshman Grady Burrows will make their debuts in the state tournament after finishing third at 138 pounds and fourth at 106 pounds in the district.

Headlining the 138 bracket are David Douglas senior Kyle Beal, who was the state runner-up last season, and West Albany senior Sawyer Myres, who placed sixth last year.

David Douglas senior Max Hodge and Sprague senior Bollong Joklur are the top two seeds at 106.

The state tournament begins Friday at 8:30 a.m. Finals are scheduled for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Montoya the hero in win over Whiteaker

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Claggett Creek football got its storybook ending.

All tied with nine seconds remaining, running back Aron Montoya found a hole and out-ran the Whiteaker defense for a 60-yard touchdown as the Panthers won the battle of Keizer middle schools 44-38 on Wednesday, Nov. 1 under the lights at McNary High School.

“You can’t really ask for a better ending for all the hard work,” CCMS head coach Aaron Carr said.

Before the final play of the game, Carr asked Montoya if he could take it to the house and the eighth grader in his first season ever playing football replied “yes.”

“I was running it and I saw an open hole so I cut in and I took it,” Montoya said. “It was very exciting because everybody is going to know me for that now and I’m just happy that we won against our other school in Keizer.”

Trailing 38-22 with 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Whiteaker had to score two touchdowns and convert two 2-point conversions to even tie the game.

Axel Zapien, in his first game back after suffering an injury at the start of the season, broke free for a 59-yard touchdown run and then also ran in the 2-point attempt to get the Wolverines within 38-30.

After getting a stop on defense, Whiteaker then went on an 11-play, 58-yard drive, capped off by a Carson Long 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 38-36 with 18 seconds remaining in the game. Zapien then added another 2-point conversion to tie it.

“I told the boys I’m not going to remember the last play because that kid (Montoya) deserved it and we got beat by a kid who was beating us all night,” Whiteaker head coach Tom Larimer said. “I’m going to remember coming back from two scores in the last few minutes of the game. I’m going to remember converting two 2-point conversions and I’m going to remember what it felt like to take a bunch of kids that have never played football before and have that feeling that they earned when they tied the score with 18 seconds to go.”

When Whiteaker defensive lineman Laz Chavez then sacked CCMS quarterback Nathan Allen, the game appeared to be heading to overtime. However, Montoya had other plans.

“He’s got the ability to put it in the end zone from anywhere on the field,” Carr said.

The game-winning score was Montoya’s third touchdown of the game. The first came on a 28-yard run to give the Panthers an 8-0 lead with 2:16 remaining in the first quarter.

Rudy Garcia, Claggett’s power back, then added a 9-yard touchdown run to stretch the lead to 14-0 with 7:22 remaining in the second quarter.

Long gave Whiteaker a spark with 5:20 left to play, returning an interception 80 yards for a touchdown.

After CCMS receiver Evan Cornell caught a 55-yard touchdown pass over a Wolverine defender, Long answered with a one-handed grab on the sideline for a 26-yard gain and then broke a tackle for a 7-yard touchdown to get Whiteaker within 20-14 with 10 seconds remaining in the first half.

“Carson is super versatile,” Larimer said. “He plays a bunch of different portions and he’s been a real leader. He’s a great athlete on a team that has a lot of kids that haven’t played team sports before and they needed to be led and Carson meant a lot to them, by leading by example and being very positive with them.”

Cornell scored a 28-yard touchdown on a reverse and Montoya added a 20-yard touchdown run to stretch Claggett’s lead to 32-14.

But Whiteaker kept fighting as Zapien got around the edge of the Panther defense for a 50-yard run and then Long capped the scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to keep the game within reach.

“These kids love each other on this team and it matters when your teammates want you to succeed and you saw it out of these kids, they want it so badly for each other,” Larimer said.

After the game, McNary football coaches spoke to players on both teams.

“I hope all these kids keep playing football,” Larimer said. “The Claggett kids showed great sportsmanship and I think playing for your school matters and I think this rivalry matters and I think it matters for every middle schooler in this district and I’m really grateful for middle school football.”

Claggett Creek also won the JV football game earlier in the day, defeating Whiteaker 28-16.

Claggett wins as future Celtics on display

Claggett Creek running back Ethan Martin stiff arms a Whiteaker defender on his way to a three-touchdown performance.
Claggett Creek running back Ethan Martin stiff arms a Whiteaker defender on his way to a three-touchdown performance.

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Playing under the lights at McNary High School, the varsity football game between Claggett Creek and Whiteaker middle schools was back-and-forth for much of the first half.

But then Claggett Creek running back Ethan Martin busted it wide open.

Martin had three touchdowns in the game, including one as time expired in the first half, to lead the Panthers to a 66-20 victory over their Keizer rival on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

CCMS never trailed, scoring its first touchdown on a 49-yard pass from quarterback Jack McCarty to Elijha Devoursney. The Panthers failed to convert the two-point attempt but led 6-0 with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Whiteaker only needed one snap to answer with a big play of its own as Ian Martin connected with Rian Canini for a 68-yard touchdown. The Wolverines too missed their two-point try.

Claggett Creek marched back down the field and on the 10th play of a 57-yard drive, Dyami Rios powered his way into the end zone from the 1-yard line. Rios also converted the two-point attempt to give the Panthers a 14-6 lead early in the second quarter.

CCMS then recovered an inadvertent onside kick and on the first offensive play from scrimmage Ethan Martin took a sweep to the right, then reversed field, stiff-armed a defender and sprinted 51 yards down the left sideline to extend the Panthers lead to 20-6.

“It just shows how athletic that kid is,” Claggett Creek head coach Aaron Carr said of Martin. “He turned a blown up play into a touchdown. Once he sees open field, it’s hard to contain him. He is so fast. He has progressively seen the field better in the last few weeks. We’ve really been working on keying on the blockers and he’s definitely improved there.”

Whiteaker head coach Tom Larimer noted his kids were just simply out of position.

“We knew what play they were going to run,” he said. “Our backside contain and we have practiced this continuously, our backside contain was 15 yards out of position. It’s hard for kids to stay disciplined when the play is on the other side of the field. When he (Ethan Martin) reversed course he was able to get to the edge because we simply were not there.”

The Wolverines kept battling as Canini connected with Cameron Parks for a 51-yard gain. Ian Martin then reached the end zone with a 2-yard run to get Whiteaker within 20-12 with 5:47 remaining in the first half.

The Wolverines then recovered an onside kick but dropped a pass in the end zone on fourth down.

But that’s as close as Whiteaker would get to the Panthers.

On fourth-and-1, McCarty threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Devoursney with 36 remaining in the first half.

“I noticed Whiteaker was really stacking the box on defense, expecting the run so we decided to put the ball up in the air,” Carr said.

Ian Martin found Canini for a 32-yard gain but then Whiteaker threw four incomplete passes to give Claggett the ball back with nine seconds remaining.

That’s all the time Ethan Martin needed as he took a fly sweep 72 yards as the horn sounded on the first half.

“The plan was to put some points on the board with nine seconds left,” Carr said. “I knew if he (Martin) could get outside, no one is going to catch him.”

The Panthers carried their momentum into the second half, further putting the game out of reach.

Rios finished with four touchdowns. Devoursney had three.

Unable to run the ball, Whiteaker wasn’t able to control the clock and keep Claggett’s offense off the field.

“I was disappointed that we couldn’t run the ball better because it forced us into a little bit more panicked offensive scheme that did not do a good enough job of keeping Ethan Martin off the field because if you want to beat Claggett, you have to keep Ethan Martin off the field,” Larimer said. “He’s too fast, he’s too good. He’s a touchdown waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. I’m really glad he’ll now be my kids’ teammate (at McNary) instead of playing against that kid.”

Quentin Camenisch scored Whiteaker’s only touchdown of the second half on a pass from Canini in the fourth quarter.

“Because it (giving up two touchdowns in the final minute of the first half) happened so quickly it was a really, really tough blow for kids this age to overcome,” Larimer said. “Up until a minute to go in halftime, it was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had coaching a football team because I knew we were outmatched physically from the beginning but we were in the game. They were the better team from the first snap but I was so proud of the way our kids were hanging in there.”

Claggett won its final six games by a 266 to 85 margin.

“We definitely got better every week and the kids worked hard,” Carr said. “They got out of it what they put into it. They got to learn the lesson that hard work definitely pays off.”

2015: A year in Keizer sports

Ribbon cutting for the new turf field at McNary High School.
Ribbon cutting for the new turf field at McNary High School.

2015 was filled with ups and down for many McNary High School teams, but along the way a few rose to new peaks and a number of individual athletes made waves with top finishes in their sports of choice. Here is a round-up of some of the biggest stories of the year.

New turf at MHS

After months of work by volunteers and contractors alike, McNary High School unveiled its new turf field during the annual Blue Day celebration in August.

The process of installing the turf involved a three-month timetable that included excavating the old field, upgrading drainage systems, filling in with new foundation material, leveling it off, laying down new turf, stitching it together with a sewing gun, clipping out sections for logos and numbers, gluing the pre-made numerals and letters down, adding sand and plastic infill, and laying down asphalt on the areas the turf didn’t cover. Three large I-beams were also added to reposition the old scoreboard.

The project was paid for through about $500,000 in in-kind donations and another $500,000 in cash. The McNary Athletic Booster Club is still raising money to help cover expenses.

The new artificial turf field is expected to be able to handle tenfold the amount of traffic the old natural grass field could.

Boys ignite on hardwood

When it came to team sports at Keizer’s only high school there was no bigger story than the boys basketball team.

The year began with a spectacular 67-60 win over South Salem High School that put the Celtics at the top of the Greater Valley Conference. What followed were a number of close games and a rematch with the Saxons that ended in a loss for the Celtics. That loss meant sharing the GVC title with South, but it was the first time since 2009 the team reached such heights.

The boys barely beat Newberg High School in the first round of the playoffs and ended up succumbing to North Medford in the second round.

In the midst of their wild ride to the top, Celt Tregg Peterson, a senior, was named GVC Player of the Year while teammate Mathew Ismay, a sophomore at the time, picked up Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With the new season just getting underway, the Celts have already knocked off some big names in Oregon and Washington. To date, the only loss was dealt to the team by Central Catholic High School last week. All of it should leave the Keizer community with high hopes for what comes next.

Wolverines go undefeated

The Whiteaker Middle School heavyweight football team capped an undefeated romp over, around and through opponents with a win over cross-town rival Claggett Creek Middle School in November.

Under the wing of a new head coach, Tom Larimer, the team rebounded from several tough seasons to win most of its games by large margins.

Eleven of the team’s 25 players had never played foot- ball before and, coupled with a handful of seasoned athletes, turned in the performances of their young lives.

“Before the game (with Claggett Creek) I asked my kids if they cared enough about their teammates to give their very best on the biggest stage—and that’s exactly what they did,” said Larimer.

Parker out, Auvinen in

In early January, McNary’s head football coach, Isaac Parker, announced he would be leaving to take a new job with Lewis and Clark College.

Within a matter of days and a few brief conversations during McNary’s winter break, there was an offer to become the Pioneers’ new offensive coach and recruiter on the table and Parker had a day to accept or decline. Parker accepted.

On March 2, longtime McNary teacher and coach Jeff Auvinen was announced as the new leader of the program.

In his first year on the job, Auvinen’s Celtics finished fourth in the Greater Valley Conference. The team had its share of ups and downs along the way to an appearance in the playoffs. Unfortunately for McNary, the team drew the state’s defending champs and ended their season with a 42- 21 loss.

Venegas 2nd in state

When McNary senior Alvaro Venegas entered the state wrestling tournament he was the first seed in the 195-pound weight class and had only been beaten once the entire season.

Unfortunately, a state title wasn’t in the cards. He ended up losing in the final match of the tourney with a 3-2 decision.

Regardless of the outcome, Venegas had a storied history with the program, dropping more than 60 pounds since his freshman year en route to becoming a powerhouse in the sport. He even overcame a dislocated shoulder in the district tournament to win the title there.

What carried him through the ups and down was a deep respect for the sport and all those who put on the singlet.

“Anyone who wrestles … I don’t care if you win a single match, but if you can survive the wrestling room, the workouts, the cutting weight, the getting beat up, I have respect for you,” Venegas said.

Childress sisters 4th in doubles

Sibling rivalry can be a good thing, especially when the siblings in question are Sandy and Hannah Childress and the pair join forces on the tennis court.

The Childresses made it all the way to the semifinals of the state doubles tennis tournament and took fourth in the state.

Sandy and Hannah beat McMinnville (6- 3, 6-1) and went on to beat the No. 2-seeded team in the state with scores of 6-1 and 6-0, earning themselves a berth in the semifinals. The Lady Celts fell to a Jesuit High School team in the semis, and battled to three sets in the third place match before settling for fourth place.

While Sandy, a senior, is now off to greener pastures at California’s Sonoma State University, Hannah is expected to return this year for her sophomore season.

For both girls, getting to the highest ranks in the state had a cherry on top in terms of doing it together.

“We’ve played together since Hannah started and getting to be partners was really cool,” Sandy said.

Freshman wins 4 district swim titles

When it came to making waves in McNary swimming it was a freshman who led the pack.

Lady Celt Marissa Kuch exploded on the scene in a big way in 2015 by chasing school records. By the end of the season, Kuch earned two individual district titles in the 100 and 200 freestyle and was part of the relay teams that won the 200 and 400 races.

She capped her first year by finishing fifth in the state in the 100 freestyle.