Thursday, December 29, 2011
Oregon's top sports stories of 2011
By David Auguste
You guys know the deal; it's the end of the year and time to reminisce about the top sports stories of the last 12 months. We have selected five of our favorite athletic moments from the 2011 season and sprinkled in a couple honorable mention items to end the year with a bang. So let's ring in the New Year by giving some love to the top stories of 2011.
1. Crouser throws his way into the record books
Ryan Crouser missed significant time during his senior season with myriad injuries, but you couldn't tell by his performance in the winter and spring. The former Barlow stud launched a mammoth throw of 77-2.75 in the shot put to shatter the national record, then unleashed a 237-6 toss in the discus during the spring to take eclipse the former national mark.
2. The New Boyz fuel Lake Oswego's title run
Lake Oswego found the pieces it needed to finally corral a Class 6A title this fall. Former Sherwood RB Steven Long's addition combined with the promotion of strong-armed QB Alex Matthews was enough to power the Lakers to their first state crown. Long took home Gatorade State Player of the Year after rushing for 37 TDs, while Matthews took center stage with seven total TDs during the team's nationally televised win over Jesuit.
3. The duel on the hardwood
Corvallis and Benson delivered an instant classic in last March's Class 5A title game. Corvallis junior Jake Ehlers netted 36 points to fend off a 41-point outburst by Benson's Andrew Andrews and lead the Spartans to a 79-73 double OT win. Ehlers went on to take Player of the Year in 5A, while Andrews moved on to UW.
4. The rise of Carson Kelly
Rated one of the nation's top prospects in the Class of 2012, the Westview SS had a huge 2011 campaign. In the spring, he tallied two hits, two RBIs and scored twice to power Westview to the Class 6A title. He finished the year with 14 homers and 51 RBIs, while going 9-1 on the hill. He also went on to sign with Oregon and helped Team USA cop gold at the COPABE 18U/AAA Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Colombia.
5. Mikie Rodriguez joins elite company
With a 5-4 decision over Roseburg's Reed Van Anrooy, Hillsboro's Mikie Rodriguez became the state's 19th wrestler to close out a career with four gold medals at state meet. The performance helped validate Rodriguez as one of the state's best after the team moved up in Classification.
1. Jesuit cut down the nets for the third straight season behind the play of Gatorade State Player of the Year and current Kentucky forward Kyle Wiltjer.
2. Westview claims its first soccer crown as Jaime Velasco leading the way with a school-best 30 goals and the decisive score in the final.
3. West Albany RB Jake LaCoste shattered the state's single-game rushing mark with a 508-yard output in a win over Silverton.
4. Thomas Tyner became Oregon's fastest sprinter with a blazing run of 10.35 in the 100.
5. Paced by gold medal winner Cameron Stitt, Sunset captured its first swimming championship since 1965.
We limited our focus to these 10 stories, but chime in with your picks for top sports stories in the comments section below. Happy New Year, everybody.
David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.