Track and Field-VHS head coach Byron Brown, along with assistant coach Teresa Williams, have developed an outstanding program that culminated last season with a 5th place finish at the state meet, including four state champions. All this with an inadequate track and training facility.
Returning from last year’s team is Nathan Fleck, the defending state champion in the 800 meters. Fleck also brought home a second state championship last year as part of the 4×400 relay team. Fleck is a rare talent who excels at both distance and sprints.
Also returning this season is Samantha Lindauer, who placed 7th in the state in the 400 meters. Lindauer has also shown the ability to excel at sprints and distance events. As a sophomore she took 5th at the State Meet in the 200 meters; this past fall Lindauer ran cross country for the first time and found out she is also an excellent distance runner, winning the Northwest League title and finishing 5th in the District Meet.
Also returning for the Loggers with experience at state are Dezi Roberts who placed 6th in high jump, Meghan Sullivan who led the girls to 4th place in the 4×100 and Lane Sullivan who competed in the 4×100 and long jump.
Drew and Rowan Cheney are veteran distance runners that are entering the season in good form. New to the team this year that show potential are Larry Andersson, Ezio Rusticuli, Devon Shay, and Maina Martin.
Brown says he has scheduled three more big invitational meets than usual. “We know we have some very good athletes, better competition with the bigger schools should pull them to better performances, and really get us ready for the district meet—which is the only meet that really counts—that is, until State,” says Brown.
Baseball-Head Coach Aaron Miller has a good mix of players, including a core group returning with varsity experience. He also has several players with almost no baseball experience.
Pitching looks like it will be a strength for the Loggers this year. Miller will have Bo Clark, Austin Cutright, and Tim Jennings all returning to anchor his rotation. Jake Titus, Ronnie Maldonado and Adonis Hopkins could also see time on the mound as well.
Catcher may be a problem early in the season. Clark is expected to see most of the duty behind the plate, with Maldonado filling in when Clark goes to the mound. Both have injuries they are recovering from that could limit their playing time early in the season.
Defensively Ethan Johnson will likely return at third base. Jennings will play in the middle of the infield either at shortstop or second base. Cutright will play first base. Second base may be a spot where someone without much experience has to fill in. In the outfield, Titus is a 3rd Team All State returner. Hopkins has also played well there. The third outfield spot is still a question mark.
At the plate Miller expects his returners to be pretty strong and carry the load. Expect to see Clark, Jennings, Cutright, and Titus leading the way for the Loggers.
Miller mentioned a couple of the new players that look promising including: freshman Brandon Clapshaw, who has quick hands at the plate and listens really well, foreign exchange student Ruben Fabers has never played baseball before but has picked up the game very naturally and Jared Leone is a natural athlete who hasn’t played baseball for several years but looks very promising. Miller expects the team to be in the thick of the Northwest League with Gaston, Knappa and Faith Bible being the strongest competition. The top four teams qualify for league playoffs, the top two from there go on to the state tournament.
Softball-Head coach Randy Shockey got a good early look at his team during a six game road swing to southern Oregon last week.
Shockey says he has a nice mix of returning players with varsity experience and some younger players who he expects to contribute to the squad.
Shockey says pitching will be a strength for the Lady Loggers this season with freshman Kassidy Fetch and Stepahanie Castro as his main pitchers.
The offense looks pretty strong this season, as the girls swung the bat well at times during their 3-3 preseason trip. Freshman Sarah Smith has been a surprise, hitting a grand slam against Chiloquin. Expect seniors Samantha Wallace, Riplee Burch and Sarah Levie along with sophomores Castro and Tori Dalebroux to lead the way at the plate.
Defensively the girls are experienced in the infield but have uncharacteristically struggled so far and with mental mistakes and errors. Look for Wallace to hold down second base, Levie will be at first, sophomore Taylor Titus will play third base, and Castro will play shortstop.
In the outfield Burch will be in center field, Dalebroux will play right field and can also play in the infield when needed. Freshman Paige Smith, Jerrian Pond and Kenzie Anderson will also see some playing time.
Sarah Smith will be behind the plate at catcher and team up Fetch to form a freshman battery.
Shockey says he expects Gaston and Knappa to be the league leaders this year, although the whole league looks fairly competitive. Four teams qualify for the District playoffs and two of those qualify for the state tournament.