HSSZ: 2022

Creswell, Cottage Grove host World’s Best

■ Lane County hosted the World Athletic Championships on July 15-24, the biggest track and field competition in the world. There were 179 nations in the Championships, and two of those nations made special connections to two towns in our area.

Creswell hosted the Finnish National Team, well-known for their connection with Lane County through Steve Prefontaine who was close friends with many Finnish Athletes. Just down the road, meanwhile, Cottage Grove hosted Team Botswana Athletics.

Both teams used the local high schools to practice and prepare for the Championships while shaking off jet-lag, and both teams had celebratory meals with their host town.

The WAC proved a legendary affair, with two new World Records being set and the U.S. topping the medal table with 33 total medals (13 gold, 9 silver, 11 bronze).

Thurston wrestling wins 5 state championships

■ The Thurston Colts have a storied wrestling history, and they continued that story in February at the State Wrestling Championships. The girls team came in second place in the state behind Forest Grove, and the boys came in third in Class 5A behind Crescent Valley and Crook County. 

First-place finishers for the girls were junior Kaylee Annis (105) and senior Averie Stockwell (145). The boys took home three individual titles as junior Kolton Malone (138), senior Hunter Harwood (152) and junior Vaun Halstead (220) all won.

Arellano ends career with all-time record

■ On a cold Monday night in Pleasant Hill on Oct. 17, Adrian Arellano of the Billies boys soccer program broke the Oregon state record for career goals by a boys soccer player. Arellano scored the record-breaking 85th career goal from midfield in a game against Central Linn. Arellano finished the fall season with five more goals to extend his record to 90 career goals, including 40 his junior year and 32 this year. Maybe the most impressive part of this accomplishment is that Arellano didn’t play varsity until late in his freshman season and had a shortened eight-game COVID season. Arellano made first-team all-league and second-team all-state this season.

Drifters complete inaugural season

■ The Springfield Drifters, competing at the newly finished Hamlin Sports Complex, completed their inaugural season from May-August. The Drifters, owned by Ike Olsson from Olsson Industrial Electric and Kelly Richardson of Richardson Sports, competed in the West Coast League, a summer wooden-bat league for college athletes. Head coach for the Drifters is Tommy Richards, who also coaches Bushnell’s baseball team.

The inaugural season had some ups-and-downs, with record-hot temperatures lowering attendance and a 17-37 record that put the Drifters in last place in the WCL. That being said, there remained just as many positives and the optimism of the coaches and GM Jamie Christopher never faltered. Just recently the Drifters announced that Alan Embree had been hired to be the pitching coach for next summer. Embree pitched for 16 years in the MLB and won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004.

New faces, New places 

■ There are many new faces in the area when it comes to head coaches. Here is a list of who became a new head coach in 2022. 

Spring 2022: Lance Faxon, CG baseball; Adam Dimock, CG softball; Kaylie Hayes, CG boys golf; Craig Leonard, CHS baseball; Dan Smathers, CHS boys tennis; Amanda Lewis, CHS girls tennis; Kevin Smead, PH track & field; Jeff Litle, THS softball; John Lovdokken, THS boys and girls tennis.

Fall 2022: Kalli Schwehr, CG girls soccer; Jeremiah Heacock, PH football; Jake Bonnett, THS boys soccer.

Winter 2022: Pete LeMay, CG girls basketball; Jeff Cardwell, CHS wrestling; Kim Beer, PH girls basketball; Chelsi Wallace, PH cheer; McKenzie Clemmons, THS dance/drill; Robin Erickson, THS cheer.



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