Volleyball- The Lady Loggers will bring a very experienced and athletic varsity team onto the courts this season. With nine returning seniors, Head Coach Teresa Williams’ squad is loaded with talent, experience and leadership.
Last year, Williams’ team had a 13-6 record, finishing in third place in the 2A Northwest League. The team qualified for the State Playoffs for the third year in a row. The Lady Loggers were eliminated in the first round by eventual State Champion Days Creek.
Williams says she expects senior setter Taylor Titus and senior outside hitter Julia Fletcher to lead the team both on and off the court this year. Fletcher was last year’s team MVP and was named First Team All League.
The front court looks strong for the Lady Loggers with seniors Meagan Sullivan and Lily Lindsley providing size in the middle. Coach Williams says she has seen hard work and improvement in the off season pay off for juniors McKenzie Titus and Paige Smith; both should see a lot of playing time in the front court. This group of players has seen a lot of previous varsity playing time. Exchange student Nathalie Sholz from Germany is an experienced player as well, giving coach Williams a lot of options at the net.
Williams says she is pleased with the way the team is passing the ball. “Right now I can’t say there is anyone on this team I couldn’t put out there and rely on,” says Williams.
The back line will be manned by senior Brittany Young and juniors Sara Smith and Kassidy Fetch. Williams says she feels comfortable playing all her players just about anywhere on the court.
The future also looks bright for Williams. She says JV coach Brandy Everett’s team is also loaded with size and talent. Everett has returning sophomores Megan Ely and Cassidy Whitton on the front line along with freshmen Allegra Poetter, Grace Coleman, and Morgan Harrel. Sophomore Peyton Wolf will see time as setter.
“I’m feeling pretty confident this year,” says Williams. “You’re always a little worried when you lose that ‘go to’ player, but so far we’ve been able to replace that every year.”
Williams says she expects the Lady Loggers toughest competition to come from City Christian, who moved up from 1A this year. One of Vernonia’s chief rivals, Portland Christian, has moved up to 3A and is no longer a threat. Williams says Faith Bible is always very competitive and a cohesive team.
At the Northwest League Jamboree on August 30, the Lady Loggers played well, winning all four sets in their first competitive play of the season. Coach Williams said standouts for her were Sholz, Fletcher, Taylor Titus and McKenzie Titus.
“We’re pushing for a league championship and still working to get to that second round in the state tournament,” said Williams.
The Lady Loggers play early season home matches against Colton on September 11 and Faith Bible on September 16. They host the Vernonia Tournament on September 20.
Football- Head Coach Gordon Jarman and his staff are fairly optimistic this year. After going 1-8 last year and 0-5 in league play, things can hopefully only get better for the Loggers this season.
Jarman and his coaches have been pleased by the off season habits the team has developed and the leadership shown by several of the players to get the team to workouts and unscheduled scrimmages.
Starting quarterback, junior Devon Shay has been one of those leaders, constantly encouraging other players on the practice field and organizing workout sessions. Starting running back junior Alex West has been another off season leader.
Jarman has twenty-eight players on his young squad this season. He says his starting line-up looks strong but the team starts to get a little thin after that.
Jarman says the team looks solid at the skill positions with Shay continuing to improve at quarterback. Running backs Jake Harbour, a junior, Jake Butcher, a sophomore and West are all quick but not real big. Senior co-captain Reed Jones as the starting flanker has speed and is a threat for the Loggers. Sophomore Brett Elliot is a very good athlete who will start at split end and is the back up quarterback. Sophmore Bailey Morrison should also compete for playing time at receiver. Freshman Ben Shulte, Luke McCallum and foreign exchange student Will Botelho are all fighting for playing time at tight end.
The line will be anchored by senior co-captain Justin Wolf at center. Senior Nick Rainbolt is back after missing a year. Kane Losli saw some varsity time last year. Freshman Gavin Everett is competing for playing time. Several exchange students may also see some starting action on the line.
On defense Harbour could see time at either corner back or defensive end. Wolf, Rainbolt, and Losli will also play defensive line. West should play at linebacker along with Jones. Shay will play at safety. Freshman Noah Ryland has impressed with his speed and should also play at safety.
Exchange student Niklas Merzahah will take care of kicking duties.
The Loggers play a non-league game away at Warrenton on September 5. They play at home in non-league contests on September 12 against Gold Beach and on September 19 against Chemawa. The Loggers will play home league games against Knappa on October 3, St. Paul on October 17 (Homecoming) and Gaston on October 24.
Cross Country- Head coach Byron Brown looks to have a solid boys squad this year. The quality of the talent on his girls team is an unknown.
Brown has a total of twenty-two runners out for the team this year, including four middle school runners. All the girls on the team are exchange students, so Brown has never seen any of them run before. Because of the late start of the school year and the early start of the season, Brown has only had a few practices with many of his runners.
Returning seniors Drew Cheney and Daniel Rice will anchor and lead the team this year. Both are four year cross country athletes and Brown says both were working out prior to the start of practice and came on in good shape. The rest of the boys squad is very inexperienced but Brown sees some promise and has high hopes that he will see some contributions from Luke Boutwell, Jared Shaw, exchange student Nikita Osiyev, Ben Fleck, and Clay Sullivan. Brown says he has been especially impressed with the work ethic of middle school runners Josh Rice and Kale Sullivan, who Brown says has been beating older brother Clay in practice.
Brown says several of the exchange student girls have shown particular promise including Celine Loffler and Cecilie Birkelund. Brown says the rest of the squad, Ruth Aim, Maria Alvarez, Kristine Lauenborg, Sandra Meyer, Lisa Paje, and Maca Veselkova are learning quickly and improving.
At the Northwest League Jamboree on August 30, the Logger boys easily took first place, with Cheney winning the race and Rice finishing 3rd. For the Logger girls Paje finished 2nd Alvarez finished 3rd and Veselkova took 4th. “It was a very good showing for the team and we answered some questions about where we are at relative to our conditioning and the rest of northwest league,” said coach Brown.
Brown’s teams will compete in several dual meets including races at Oregon Episcopal on September 16 and Knappa on September 24. They will also take part in several invitational events including the SW Christian Invitational on October 3 and the Rainier Invitational on October 11. Vernonia will host the Vernonia Invitational on Thursday, October 16.