November 12, 2005
In perfect synch with the weather, fall sports seasons wrapped up over the last couple of weeks for high school athletes. With little time to spare before their first competitions, winter sports started practices Monday afternoon, giving some multi-sport athletes only a weekend’s rest.
With each new sport comes new muscles to condition, old rust to polish off and teammates and coaches to get to know, so the theme for the next couple of weeks in each winter sport is going to be getting into shape, working on fundamentals and connecting with each other as a team. The fun of competition is set to start on Nov. 28 when the boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams travel to Portland for the Reynolds Jamboree. Starting Dec. 1 it’s full steam ahead until the end of the winter season in February.
Led by head coach Phil Vesel, the varsity boys look to improve on last year’s 8-15 season (5-11 league record). After losing seven seniors, four of whom were starting varsity players, the boys will need to draw on their summer ball experience to give them an edge early in the season. With issues last year in high turnover numbers, the boys will need to work out any bad habits early, while continuing the defensive intensity they had last season.
Last year was a season of building for the varsity girls, who finished with a 2-14 league record. According to head coach Phil Hukari, last year’s team played with all the heart and determination as other teams, but the girls were behind in fundamentals. With five seniors graduating last season, Hukari and the girls look to draw from players who kept their skills honed with summer ball.
In his second year coaching for the Eagles, Rich Polkinghorn has a young, hard-working group of wrestlers to work with. Last year the team placed sixth at the district meet, with nine wrestlers earning a spot on the podium. Because none of those nine were seniors, the team’s season is wide open so far, with a good potential for several wrestlers to make it to the 4A state meet in February.
Last year’s varsity boys tied for second place at the district meet, second only to three-time state champions, Summit High School. Graduating four top swimmers means coach Jane Nichols will have some holes to fill this season. The girls finished fifth at districts last year, but they only graduated one varsity swimmer. With several young, year-round swimmers entering the high school program with club experience under their caps, both teams look to draw from previously rare young talents this season.
The weather played a big role in last season’s ski teams. With inconsistent training due to poor snow conditions, the teams had a disappointing showing at the state meet. Six skiers, five girls and one boy, qualified for state, which was held at Mt. Bachelor. The racers, coached by Jessica Gunesh, just couldn’t put it together, however, and their season ended with a tough last experience. On the positive side, this season’s snow conditions already look promising and, of the five girls that made it to state, none were seniors.
Horizon boys’ basketball:
With a winning 14-12 overall record and their first playoff trip in team history, last year’s team only graduated a couple of seniors, meaning the boys’ season is wide open this year. Head coach Ron Haynes and the hard-working boys look to qualify for state with the leadership of a last year’s all-conference players Jared Nagreen, Bobby Cofrances and Stephen Stenberg.
Horizon girls’ basketball:
In only their third season as a team, the Horizon girls are young and full of spirit and positive attitudes. The girls, coached by Kelly Hallyburton, look to improve on last year’s one-win season with the experience and leadership of the seven returning players.