There was no shortage of high points for prep athletes in the Democrat-Herald coverage area in the winter of 2017.
Many local athletes put up their best efforts against the best competition in the state and held their own. Each sport had its standout teams and individuals, some more than others.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the winter.
Sweet Home broke through for its first team title in eight seasons at the 4A state championships.
The Huskies had five wrestlers reach the finals — two competing against each other — to end Crook County’s four-year run atop the podium. Sweet Home edged the Cowboys, 181-180.5.
Senior Kobe Olson defeated teammate Tyler Thorpe, a freshman, 4-0 to claim the 126-pound title. Sweet Home’s Ricky Yunke (138), Jake Porter (145) and Bryce Coulter (182) all lost in the finals.
Lebanon senior Tanner Salle earned a 14-4 major decision over Dallas’ Clay Coxen to win the 5A 182 crown. Sallee, the 160 runner-up as a junior, ended his career as a four-time state competitor.
In the 3A tournament, Harrisburg’s Chance Hendrickson eked out a 1-0 decision over Willamina’s Remigio Tapia-Bravo in the 113 championships match. It was the sophomore’s first state title.
Teammate Dax Bennett was the 152 champion as the Eagles placed fifth in the team points race. Bennett, who won the 132 title as a freshman in 2016, pinned Glide’s Ryland Parazoo in 5 minutes, 54 seconds.
Scio’s Ryan Mask escaped in overtime and pinned Dayton’s Josue Martinez in 7:23 to claim the 220 title.
Central Linn also had a state champion as Ben Hughes scored a second-round pin of Lowell’s Kenny Late in the 2A/1A 182 finals.
West Albany placed second at the Greater Valley Conference championships and 16th at the 6A state meet. Junior Mitchell Sorte was the Bulldogs’ top state finisher, taking third at 160.
Casey McEuen would not be denied at the 5A state championships.
The Lebanon junior broke two state meet records on his way to individual titles in the 50-yard freestyle (20.6 seconds) and the 100 free (45.57). McEuen, who signed with UNLV in November, also swam the anchor legs on the Warriors’ 200 and 400 free relay teams that placed second and third, respectively.
After carrying Lebanon to a fourth-place team finish, McEuen was named male swimmer of the meet.
South Albany senior Zack Gardner was second in the 100 backstroke (53.45) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:02.54).
In the 4A/3A/2A/1A meet, Sweet Home swept the boys and girls titles with relative ease. The girls repeated as state champions with 99 team points, well ahead of second-place North Bend’s 58. The boys finished with 68 points while La Grande took second at 51.
Sweet Home’s Lucie Davis was named female swimmer of the meet. The senior won her third straight 200 free title (1:52.3) and cruised to a first-place finish in the 500 free (5:00.39).
Teammate Lauren Yon won her third consecutive 200 IM title (2:07.76) and paced the field in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.38). Yon and Davis also helped the Huskies bring home gold medals in the 200 and 400 free relays.
Fellow Huskies Jessica Coats (100 backstroke, 59.04) and Megan Hager (100 free, 53.57) captured individual titles.
On the boys side, Nathan Hager won the 100 free (48.54) and took second in the 50 free (22.33). Rowland Lupoli won the 100 butterfly (54.32).
The Huskies also brought home titles in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
West Albany’s 200 medley relay team of Bailey Dickerson, Zane Van Horsen, Eve Vetter and Emily Harding won the B final and finished seventh overall in 1:52.94 at the 6A meet.
It was a breakthrough season for South Albany and second-year coach Justin Smith.
The Rebels placed third in the Mid-Willamette Conference and made it all the way to the 5A state tournament. It was South’s first quarterfinal appearance in program history.
Losses to Wilsonville — the eventual state champion — and Summit left South with a 19-7 overall record to close the season.
Harrisburg won the Mountain Valley Conference and advanced to the 3A state semifinals. The Eagles suffered a 44-40 loss to De La Salle North Catholic but bounced back to defeat Cascade Christian 55-45 in the third-place game.
Senior wing Tel Jones was voted MVC player of the year.
Despite finishing 6-6 in Tri-River Conference play, East Linn Christian qualified for the 2A state tournament and placed fourth.
The Eagles ended the season with an 18-11 overall record.
Bolstered by the transfer of point guard Katie Mayhue, South Albany finished 12-12 — its best record since the 2010-11 campaign — and made it to the 5A state play-in round. Mayhue, who signed with Montana last month, was a first-team all-MWC selection.
Santiam Christian took second in the West Valley League and fell at Portland Adventist, 52-46, in the 3A state round of 16.