Track and Field- The Loggers are about half-way through the season, and have participated in 5 meets, 3 of them big invitationals with much larger schools from Oregon and Washington. Head coach Byron Brown and assisant coach Teresa Williams have been able to evaluate their talent and how best to take advantage of their strengths. “I think we have a very good team with several outstanding athletes and many more very good athletes that have shown improvement so far,” said Brown.
Nathan Fleck, Samantha Lindauer, Meghan Sullivan, Lane Sullivan, and Maina Martin are outstanding athletes who would be successful in any program. Fleck is either first or second in the NW league in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 and has the fastest time in the state in the 800. Lindauer is currently 2nd in league in the 1500, 3K and triple jump, and 3rd in the 800. Meghan Sullivan is 2nd in the 100 and 200 and long jump. Dezi Roberts is 2nd in high jump. All should qualify for the state meet at Hayward Field in Eugene in late May.
All four of the Logger relay teams are also on track to qualify for the state meet.
Drew Cheney has shown tremendous improvement in the 3K, beating his previous best by nearly a minute in St. Helens on Saturday, April 13th. Devon Shay and Dan Rice have made the team deeper and stronger in the 400 and 800. Jacob Medearis has shown great improvement in the 1500 with a 4:52 performance at Knappa on Thursday April 11th.
The girls team is on track for a great performance at the District state qualifying meet at Portland Christian May 17th and 18th. “This may be the best overall girls team Vernonia has ever had,” says Brown. Brown thinks the boys team has the same potential. “Everything we do from here on out is to be in a position at district to qualify as many athletes as we can for state,” say Brown. “Last year we had one of the best track teams ever at Vernonia and it will be difficult to top it, but who knows, maybe we can. It’s been a very exciting year so far and the best is yet to come.”
Softball- The Lady Loggers have 2-4 league record and a 5-7 record overall so far this season. Coach Randy Shockey and his team are in fourth place in special District 1, and were looking towards an important three game series against Knappa on April 16th and 19th.
Shockey says the girls have been hitting the ball well and noted the bat of freshman Sara Smith who hit a home run against Nestucca. Samantha Wallace also had a home run and has been leading the team in hitting. Kenzie Anderson also added a home run.
Shockey has been pleased with the development of his starting freshmen battery of pitcher Kassidy Fetch and catcher Sara Smith. “They are getting better and better every week,” says Shockey. “That is one of our real bright spots for now and for the future.”
Defense has been a struggle at times and Shockey points to the teams tendency to make several mistakes in the field and give up one big inning. “Our defense has been letting us down, that has been our big problem this year,” says Shockey. “When we don’t make errors, as we did in our 8-5 win against Gaston on April 5th, we can play with anybody. We have just been beating ourselves.” Shockey did note that the Lady Loggers pulled off a triple play against Gaston, something Shockey says is extremely rare in high school softball.
Shockey says he is pleased to see his team continuing to improve as the season progresses. “We’re a young team and some of them are still learning all the aspects of the game,” says Shockey. “I think by the end of the season we are going to be a pretty good team.”
Baseball- The Loggers were currently in fifth place in Special District 1 in Division 2A as they headed into a three game series against league leading Knappa on April 16th and 19th. The Loggers league record is 3-5 and overall record is 4-5.
Coach Aaron Miller says pitching continues to be a strength this year with Austin Cutright, Tim Jennings and Bo Clark making up the starting rotation; Ron Maldonado and Adonis Hopkins and Jake Titus have provided relief.
Defensively Miller is still trying to fill some gaps and decide on a starting lineup. Miller says he has a good core group of returning players with a lot of varsity experience, beyond that he has a lot of players new to varsity high school baseball, including several foreign exchange students who have never played before. “We have players who are competing for positions and getting stronger,” says Miller. Miller noted that, in a 14-2 win over Faith Bible on April 9, the Loggers played a very solid defense game and only made one mistake. Miller says multiple defense mistakes in one inning have been a downfall in several league losses, so he is pleased to see the improvement. Miller noted the play of Ethan Johnston, who has filled in at catcher due to injuries as a bright spot for the team.
Offensively Cutright and Jennings have been the most consistent Loggers at the plate. Both have been hitting the ball solidly, putting the ball in play and not striking out. Against Faith Bible Cutright had four RBI’s on 3 hits, including two very long doubles. Jennings is hitting for high average and is a strong baserunner. Clark has been battling a thumb injury; Miller hopes he will be able to contribute more consistently when he is completely healed. Miller also noted the offense of Johnston who has been making solid contact and Maldonado who has contributed some clutch hits. Ryan Roberts added a grand slam in a 20-10 loss against Gaston and has been doing a good job of putting the ball in play.
Miller says he is pleased that his team has continued to fight back in several games when they were behind and have not given up. “They continue to play hard and make games competitive.”
Golf- Coach James Brookins has five golfers this season, two with some team experience, and three who are new to golfing. The team had competed in two matches this season at Quail Valley, including a match on April 10th and one scheduled for April 17th. The Loggers will host a league meet at the Vernonia Golf Club on April 24th at 11:00 AM.
Matt Bringman and Austin Ragsdale are the two returning players. Ragsdale finished in the middle of the pack after shooting 105 for 18 holes at the teams first match. Brookins says both are where he expects them to be this early in the season and both have been improving with each week.
Jerrid Whitton, Justin Ragsdale and Alexis Baska are the new golfers this season. All three have been progressing well and are very enthusiastic.
Brookins also has Gabe Roberts, a middle school player, who is practicing with the team. The team has two assistant coaches this season: Marv Long who has been with the program for eighteen years and a new volunteer, Laura Blacker who played women’s collegiate golf at Bowdoin College in Maine and is working primarily with Baska.
Brookins says his players are enjoying the social aspect of competitive golf and like the opportunity to meet players from other schools. “Some of these new kids who have played other sports like football and baseball are used to trying to beat the other guy,” says Brookins. “They told me, ‘Hey, golf is kind of friendly!’ While they’re still trying to score better than the other guy, they can still cheer and appreciate it when they make a good shot. You want to beat the course, but if the other guy is having a better day than you then you can congratulate him. It’s a good game in that regard.”