2017: The Year in Sports

STORIES OF THE YEAR: History continued to be made by both HRV and Horizon sport teams in 2017. The HRV girls water polo defended their 2016 state title by beating conference rivals Sandy by a final score of 24-5 in the state tournament. The girls have won back-to-back state titles. More sports highlights below.

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STORIES OF THE YEAR: History continued to be made by both HRV and Horizon sport teams in 2017. The HRV girls water polo defended their 2016 state title by beating conference rivals Sandy by a final score of 24-5 in the state tournament. The girls have won back-to-back state titles. More sports highlights below.

Another year and another state title for the HRV girls water polo team, as well as a state title for HRV skiing highlighted the year in Gorge sports in 2017, but there were many other stories of athletes in the Gorge that caught our attention. Sorted by the months in which the stories were published, here are some of the headlines from 2017.

— RJ Chavez, sports writer


Paulina Finn, who is now playing for The Dalles with former Horizon girls basketball Head Coach Brian Stevens, had a once in a lifetime performance with the Hawks last basketball season as she recorded a quadruple-double against the Sherman Huskies. The Hawks defeated Sherman 62-33 and Finn’s final stat line was 14 points, 15 rebounds, 11 steals, 10 assists and four steals, a performance unlike any we’ve seen in quite some time from a Hood River basketball athlete.


The Horizon girls basketball team had its best finish in its 14-year program history going 21-6 on the season and winning the team’s first conference title and clinching its first 1A state tournament playoff berth.

Arnaldo “Aldo” Lara, a 2011 graduate of Hood River Valley High School, won the 2017 Oregon Golden Gloves Boxing Title in the 123-pound weight class. Teams from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia competed in this annual statewide amateur boxing tournament.

HRV Nordic skiers placed third in the Teacup Classic race on Mount Hood against a tough group of teams from around the state, including those from the Bend region and elsewhere: Summit, South Bend, Redmond, St. Mary’s Academy and Corvallis.


HRV skiing won the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association state championships; the girls finished in first and the boys in second, earning them the combined state title.


The Horizon girls basketball team makes history. The girls won the team’s first conference title in its 14-year program history with a 49-40 victory over Arlington, the number one seed heading into the district tournament, in the Big Sky District title game. The conference title also secured the Hawks their first 1A state tournament berth in its program’s history.

Despite a poor team performance, HRV wrestlers Jason Shaner, Ryan Zeller, and Justin Wilson came home with first place honors at the Special District 4 championship tournament in Hermiston — the most district titles won by HRV in eight years.

The Horizon boys basketball team bounced back after their previous season’s first round exit in the 1A state playoffs, the earliest for the Hawks since 2009-10, making it to the second round of the 1A playoffs after upsetting Joseph 54-50 in the first round of the 2016-17 1A state tournament. However, the Hawks were unable to get past Day Creek to move onto the quarterfinals of the state tournament.

News came out that the Columbia River Conference will be no more after the 2017-18 school year and will instead combine with the Intermountain Conference. The Intermountain Conference will be reorganized and made up of six teams: The Dalles, Pendleton, Redmond, Ridgeview, Crook County and Hood River.


Jason Shaner won the 126-pound weight class title at the 5A state wrestling tournament in Portland. Shaner ended his junior year with a state title in his weight class and a 47-1 season record — an HRV record.

HRV skiing won the state title at the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association state championships against some of the best Portland metro area 6A schools. The girls first place title and the boys second place title helped the team win the combined title.

In the history of Horizon girls basketball, no other team has had a better season than the 2016-17 squad. They advanced to the 1A state playoffs for the first time in school history and won in their opening round, but fell to Powder Valley by a score of 41-27 in the second round of the state tournament. The loss ended Horizon’s 13-game winning streak and the girls ended their season with a 21-6 overall record and 13-1 Big Sky record.

Sean FitzSimons, a student at HRV’s online school, was invited by U.S. Snowboarding to represent the United States in in the International Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard Junior World Championship for slopestyle in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.


Jaime Rivera, head of the Hood River Valley boys soccer program and the Columbia High School boys soccer program, continued to add to his resume as he earned the opportunity to be in charge of another Gorge soccer program: BSC. The two-time state champion took over as director of coaching for BSC (originally stood for Birdlemile Soccer Club) — a youth soccer organization based in Portland that has teams competing in Hood River.

Aaron Sales, a Hood River local, successfully snow kited to the summit of Mount St. Helens. In doing this, he accomplished a 15-year mission and to his knowledge becomes the first person to successfully snow kite to the summit of Mount St. Helens.

HRV girls lacrosse started off slow, but got things going in April as they went on a six-game winning streak.

Hood River Valley High School graduate Tucker Fitzsimons won the Open Class Men’s Rail Jam at the 2017 USA Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) Freestyle Skier National Championships.


HRV baseball player Isaiah Enriquez earned Baseball Player of the Year honors and Eagles Head Coach Erich Harjo won Coach of the Year. But, for the first time since the 2013 season, the HRV baseball team did not advance to the state tournament. The Eagles were upset by The Dallas Dragons in the first round of the 5A state playoffs by a final score of 5-2, ending the Eagles’ hopes of a fourth straight title game appearance.

The boys and girls sent 24 athletes to the track and field state title meet in Eugene and between the boys and girls, nine Eagles would set personal records (PR) and got on the podium 10 times at the meet. The boys placed 12th out of the 27 schools, tying with Silverton, scoring 23.5 points. The girls ended in 14th place out of 27 schools, scoring 16 points.

The HRV softball team made it to the 5A state tournament for the first time since 2014 after beating the Milwaukie Mustangs 1-0 in a play-in game. The Eagles would go from the play-in game to a quarterfinals matchup with Pendleton, but the girls would come up short from advancing to the semis after losing to the Buckaroos 4-2 in the quarterfinal round of the 5A state tournament.

The Horizon track and field team sent 10 to state after finishing second at districts. At the 1A state championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, the girls placed 16th out of 39 teams with 18.33 points. The boys ended their season in a tie with Joseph, each school earned nine points, for 20th place out of 38 schools.

After a stellar month in April and gaining much needed confidence heading into playoffs, the HRV girls lacrosse team would lose in the opening round of the 5A state playoffs to Lincoln by a score of 13-10.

Both girls and boys tennis teams from HRV took home Columbia River Conference titles. The girls defeated Pendleton 7-1 in their final match of the season to win the CRC title, while the boys defeated Hermiston for the boys CRC title.


Jesse Wiley and Daisy Dolan, 2017 Hood River Valley High School graduates, were named Athletes of the Year by the HRV Athletic Department.

HRV boys lacrosse headed into the Oregon High School Lacrosse Association’s (OHSLA) second-tier playoff bracket as the top seed, and showed why they were deserving of this seeding as they outscored their first three playoff opponents 47-12. The Eagles hosted the Westview Wildcats in the final game of the post-season, but despite being the favorites, HRV fell to the Wildcats and were unable to win their second Cascade Cup title in three years.

Kyle Beam, a 2013 graduate of Hood River Valley High School and a former star on the diamond for the Eagles’ varsity baseball team, signed a professional contract as an undrafted free agent with Major League Baseball’s club the Milwaukie Brewers. Beam was assigned to the minor leagues down in Phoenix, Ariz., after signing his contract.

Hood River held the Oregon Beach Wrestling State Championships and athletes Emily Mitchell (high school middleweight girls category) and Jason Shaner (high school light-middleweight boys category) were the two Eagles to finish in first place in their respective weight classes. For Shaner, this was his fourth state title.

The Oregonian published an article that listed the top-31 best public high school for Oregon athletes following the 2016-17 sports year. On this list, 5A school Hood River Valley was ranked fifth in the state only behind the powerhouses that are West Linn, Lake Oswego, Wilsonville and Wilson.


Jason Shaner continued to make HRVHS history as he became the first male HRVHS wrestler to ever make it to the finals of the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Wrestling National Championships in Fargo, N.D. Shaner, despite entering the event unseeded, earned second-place at the national wrestling championships and capped off this finish with All-American honors.


HRV Wrestler Jason Shaner, at 126 pounds, was the first HRV male athlete to reach the finals of the USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Wrestling National Championships in Fargo, N.D.

Maya Rayle, an 18-year-old athlete from Hood River, participated on the U.S.A. Junior Track Team during the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel. Rayle, who competes on the Catlin Gabel track team in Oregon, won a gold medal in the 800-meter run and a silver in the 1500 and 3000 at the Maccabiah Games.

After graduating HRVHS in 2016, Skyler Hunter finished up his first season playing baseball with the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Ind. As a freshman, Hunter led his team in both batting average (.323) and hits (65), playing in 54 games, starting 53 of them. He also racked up 34 RBIs. It was the first time since 2010 that a freshman led the Boilermakers in batting average, as well as put up at least 30 RBIs.

Fiona Wylde, a professional paddleboarder from Hood River, took first place overall in the women’s category for the stand-up paddleboarding SUP World Cup, held in Scharbeutz, Germany, located on the Baltic Sea. And with the finish she became the number two standup paddleboarder in the women’s world rankings.

Pickleball begins its takeover on Hood River. Community involvement saw a steady growth from eight players three years ago to now over 100.


The Hood River Valley Swim Team sent 10 swimmers to the Arena 11 and Over Oregon Swimming Championships at Mt. Hood Community College. At this meet, the Hood River Valley Swim Team Osprey set a new team record in the 400-meter medley relay, a record that has stood for over 20 years. The 11-12-year-old girls team of Skyla Hollowell, Nora Sandoval, Michelle Graves, and Thea Smith finished with a time of 5 minutes, 28.91 seconds, blowing the old record out of the water, which was 5 minutes, 39.44 seconds, set back in 1994.

Athletes from Australia, Tahiti, Europe, Canada and the U.S. traveled to Hood River to compete in the seventh annual Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge (CGPC). Bernd Roediger and Fiona Wylde earned the top overall titles in the men’s and women’s elite divisions.

Phil Soltysiak won the annual Gorge Cup windsurfing series. Soltysiak finished second in the sixth race and first in the final race of the series, known as the Dakine Derby.


HRV football starts its season with a 2-0 record. The first win of the season over St. Helens, by a score of 47-13, ended the Eagles 10-game losing streak heading into the season. In its second game against Ridgeview, HRV exploded onto the scene as they totaled 474 yards of offense and won 42-14. Michael Jones and Caden Leiblein led the way with Jones’s 201 rushing and 92 receiving yards, and Leiblein’s 239 passing yards.


Columbia River Conference will change to the Intermountain Conference after the 2017-18 school year. Football and many other HRV sport teams will now be in a six-team league.

The Hood River Valley High School cheerleading team attended the first annual Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association (OCCA) Game Day Championships at North Salem High School. The team took home first place in the 5A non-tumbling cheer division and third in band dance.

HRV volleyball goes 9-4 to start the season, including a five-game winning streak to end the month of September. During the five-game span, the girls did not lose a single set going 14-0 against Pendleton, Hermiston and The Dalles.


HRV boys soccer ends the regular season with a 3-1 home win over The Dalles, putting them at 8-2-3 overall. The win helps them hold onto first-place in the 5A OSAA State rankings heading into playoffs. Also, the win over The Dalles put this team at 4-0-2 in league play, which was just enough to edge out Hermiston and win the CRC title.

After dominating The Dalles 6-0, the HRV girls soccer team finished league play 5-0-1 and did not allow a single goal in any of those six contests, outscoring opponents 23-0 during a four-game winning streak. With a 9-3-2 overall record, the girls headed into playoffs as the number eight seed in the 5A OSAA standings and would play the number nine seed team from Hillsboro.

HRV volleyball outlasted Pendleton to win the CRC title for a third year in a row after winning what was a headache of a game for the Eagles versus The Dalles in the final CRC match. The girls, up 2-0 after two sets, would find themselves tied 2-2 after four sets with The Dalles, but HRV would win the fifth set to win the CRC title.

Competitors from 46 states and six countries made up the 1,525 runners in the annual Columbia Gorge Marathon.


The HRV girls water polo team won the 5A State Championship Tournament and dominated in the final game, beating conference rival Sandy 24-5. The title would mean back-to-back state championships for the girls water polo team. Jaime Robinson for the Eagles also won this year’s 5A/6A Player of the Year. Robinson led the Eagles in almost every offensive and defensive category: goals (84), assists (68), steals (85) and total points (152). The girls team was also the Mt. Hood 5A/6A Conference champions this year, ending with a 22-2 overall record during the season. Head Coach Kellie Dunn won Mt. Hood Conference girls coach of the year.

The HRV boys water polo team won their consolation game for the third-place trophy in the water polo state tournament beating Mountain View 19-12. The boys ended their season with a 17-3 record and a 13-3 finish in conference play that earned the Eagles a second-place finish in the 5A/6A Mt. Hood Conference. Head Coach David Robinson won Mt. Hood Conference boys coach of the year.

HRV girls cross country placed second at state. The finish would be the girls best standing as a team since the 1993 girls state championship team. Frances Dickinson, Josephine Dickinson and Lottie Bromham finished in 10th, 11th and 12th place respectively at the 5A OSAA state meet. The girls also won their second consecutive Columbia River Conference championship. The HRV boys cross country team placed sixth in state and won their third Columbia River Conference title in a row.


HRV girls cross country placed second at state, its best finish since 1993.


HRV boys basketball went on a three-game winning streak and were 4-2 through their first six games of the season. The boys also won the Madras tournament and had a top-10 ranking in the 5A OSAA rankings.

The HRV girls basketball team started the season 1-2, but responded with a four game winning streak. The winning streak would help start their season off strong with a 5-3 overall record, giving them a spot within the top-15 5A OSAA standings.

HRV wrestling returned from an Alaska tournament and opened the season dominating St. Helens by a final score of 57-18. After the dominating performance, the Eagles traveled to Liberty for a tournament. At this tournament, the girls won the team point championship in a 20-team field, mainly because of their four individual champions. Gracie McCafferty, Elena Kroll, Emily Mitchell and Christine Marquez were the four girls for the Eagles who won their weight class division at the Liberty tournament.

Hood River Valley swimming opened their season with a dominant 67-30 combined total point victory over The Dalles. Hood River Valley swim team ended the month beating Gresham 177-138 in the final combined total score; the girls team dominated in this dual meet winning by a final point total of 108-55.

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