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Remembering 2013 - Central Oregonian

December 31, 2013
Crook County High School



2013 was another memorable year for Crook County High School athletics.

Three teams won state championships during the course of the year, while a number of individuals also enjoyed tremendous success.

Three storylines lead our list of top stories for the year. Which one is the biggest story depends on who you talk to. The three stories are — in no particular order -- the CCHS volleyball team winning its eighth consecutive championship, the wrestling team winning its first state championship since 1975, and a series of significant changes in the structure of the CCHS athletic program and OSAA district alignment.

We have chosen to concentrate on the high school athletic programs, however, there are a number of other Crook County athletes who also enjoyed success this year. Below are the top 10 stories of the year as chosen by the Central Oregonian as well as a list of other significant athletic achievements from the year.

1.The Crook County High School wrestling team was dominant in winning their first state team championship since 1975.

The Cowboys rolled through the Greater Oregon League Championships, qualifying 21 wrestlers for the state meet. Once at state, 16 of the 21 wrestlers placed as the team scored 290 points to outdistance second-place Henley (196).

Jason Williams (285) and Colbran Meeker (138) won individual championships for the Cowboys while Trayton Libolt (106), Grayson Munn (126), and Gunnar Robirts (220) all placed second.

The Cowboys graduated just three wrestlers from last year’s state championship team and appear to be even stronger for the 2013-2014 year. The team has already won the 10-team Central Oregon Officials Tournament as well as the Coast Classic. Last week, the Cowboys finished fifth at the 110-team Reno Tournament of Champions. In addition, the JV team has been entered in two varsity tournaments and finished in second place at the 22-team Culver Invitational.

Adding to the team’s power are a pair of transfers. Tyler Berger has transferred from Hermiston where he won Class 5A individual state championships each of the last three seasons, while Kurt Mode has returned to Prineville from Scappoose after finishing in fourth place at last year’s Class 4A state championship.

2. The Crook County Cowgirls continue to win state championships. The team won their eighth consecutive state championship. Hannah Troutman and Karlee Hollis were both named to the all-tournament and all-state first teams, while Troutman was named Oregon Gatorade player of the year, and maxprepsports.com national medium school player of the year.


2. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the Crook County High School volleyball team.

The Cowgirls rolled through the 2013 season, finishing with a 38-5 record while winning their eighth consecutive state championship.

In addition to winning the state championship, the Cowgirls also won the Rogue Valley Classic, finished second at the Mt. Hood Invitational, and took third place at both the Clearwater Classic and West Linn Invitational while playing against Class 5A and 6A opponents.

The Cowgirls did not lose a match against Class 4A opponents in 2013. The team dropped one Intermountain Hybrid Conference match against the Summit Storm. The four remaining losses all came in tournaments. The team dropped a pair of tournament matches to Class 6A runner-up Central Catholic, and lost one match each to West Albany and Santiam Christian, the Class 5A and 3A state champions respectively.

The Cowgirls also won the Intermountain Conference championship. The team has won at least a share of the conference title each year since 2007. The Cowgirls finished second to Mountain View in 2006, then won their first state championship when they defeated Mountain View in the state finals. The championship was the first of four consecutive Class 5A state championships before Crook County dropped to Class 4A in 2010.

Individually, several Cowgirls also gained recognition. Hannah Troutman and Karlee Hollis were both selected to the all-tournament and all-state first teams, while Kathryn Kaonis was named to the all-tournament second team.

Troutman was also named the Class 4A player of the year, the Gatorade Oregon volleyball player of the year, and the maxprepsports.com medium school national player of the year.

Although Troutman, Kaonis, and two other Cowgirls graduate this year, the team’s championship streak could continue as the team was able to win this year’s championship with five freshmen in the starting rotation.

3. Changes in Crook County’s athletic policy and the OSAA districting and playoff system may turn out to be the biggest sports story of 2013.

Although the changes have already been announced, some of the more significant alterations do not actually take place until 2014.

The changes began in the spring when the Crook County School Board voted to put money back into funding athletics. Going through tough financial times, the district had cut all funding for sports four years earlier. The district had gradually added back some money for transportation. However for the 2013-2014 school year, the district added more money, taking much of the fundraising load off of individual programs.

The district also implemented a new funding policy that changes the way money is allocated, how gate receipts are shared, and what coaches the district pays for. The policy is expected to add stability to athletic funding for years to come.

A new face also came to the high school athletic department this year as Rob Bonner moved up from the middle school to become high school athletic director and vice principal. Bonner has big goals for the athletic program and has eagerly stepped into the new role.

Although the changes the district has made are significant, the ones announced by the OSAA will probably have an even larger impact on Crook County athletics moving ahead.

As of 2014, hybrid leagues will be a thing of the past. Crook County will move into the Class 4A Tri-Valley League along with Madras, Gladstone, Estacada, Molalla, and Corbett.

The new league alignment would be for all team sports and all individual sports except for golf and wrestling. Currently, wrestling and boys golf would qualify for the state championship through a regional qualifier, which would include teams from both the Tri-Valley League and Cowapa League. Girls golf would qualify from a special district, which includes all Class 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A schools east of the Cascade Mountain Range that offer golf.

Also changing slightly will be the format to earn a play-in contest in team sports.

 4. The change in play-in format couldn’t come quickly enough for the Crook County High School football team.

This past year, the team finished with a 5-4 record after winning five of their last six games.

Despite the strong finish and a 23rd ranking in the final OSAA power rankings of the season, the Cowboys failed to qualify for a play-in contest. As a member of the Intermountain Hybrid Conference, the Cowboys had to hope for an at-large berth into the play-in format. Hybrid champion Ridgeview went on to win the state championship, while Crook County, which played Ridgeview closer than any other Class 4A team (12-3), was left wondering why they did not earn a play-in contest.

The Cowboys were bumped from play-in contention when Estacada finished third in the Tri-Valley League, earning an automatic berth despite a power ranking of 31, eight spots below Crook County.

The path to a play-in contest will be much clearer next season as each of the seven league champions plus the highest ranked No. 2 team will automatically qualify along with eight additional teams. Although there will still be at least one at-large team, the emphasis will be placed on finishing first or second in league play.

5. The Sparkles have finished first or second each of the last six seasons. For the second consecutive season, Crook County out-pointed Astoria for the championship. The Sparkles finished with a score of 85.69, to just 76.03 points for Astoria. The Sparkles' score was higher than all but three other teams at the state championship. 4A large school champion Stayton posted the highest score in the competition with a score of 88.06, while 6A small champion Lake Oswego, and 5A/6A large champion Pendleton each finished with scores slightly ahead of the Sparkles.

6. The Crook County High School track and field team had 10 athletes place at the state championships in Eugene.

Laken Berlin was the highest placing Crook County athlete at the meet, taking third place in the long jump with a leap of 17-02.50.

Berlin was also a member of the Cowgirl 4x100 relay team, which placed fifth at the meet in a school-record time of 50.23 seconds. The entire relay team of Madeline Bernard, Audrey Bernard, McKenzie Zirbel, and Berlin are all back this year, so expect even faster times in 2014.

Three Cowgirl throwers placed at the meet as well. Hannah Troutman tossed the javelin 123-06 to finish in fifth place, while Molly Viles took sixth in the discus with a throw of 110-05 and Kathryn Kaonis heaved the shot put 36-11.75 to finish seventh.

Daniel Michael, who was an alternate on the 4x100 relay team, also placed at the meet, soaring 9-00 to finish tied for eighth in the pole fault.

Chance Sutfin led the way for the Cowboys, finishing sixth in the shot put with a heave of 47-03, and seventh in the discus with a throw of 144-07. Grayson Munn was the final Crook County athlete to place in the meet, taking sixth place in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:07.57.

7. The Crook County High School boys soccer team had their best season in several years, finishing the season with a 7-6-1 record.

Although the Cowboys failed to reach the playoffs, the season was a major turnaround for the team that won just two contests in 2012.

The Cowboys have plenty of reasons to be optimistic as the team returns all but three members of this year’s roster.

8. Seven Crook County athletes qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals. Carly Hibbs came from behind to win the state championship in goat tying, while Harley Byram won the state title in barrel racing.

Team ropers Jessie Maley-Loper and Miranda Mosby also qualified for nationals along with barrel racer Bailey Beall. James Beatty also qualified for nationals in trap shooting and steer wrestling while Talia Radabaugh earned a berth in girls cutting.

Hibbs competed at nationals in breakaway roping as well. The senior had an outstanding national championship, finishing 11th in goat tying. Hibbs was one of just three Oregon athletes to reach the short go round at the national finals.






9. After a nearly three year hiatus the Crook   County High School NJROTC returned to competition in the fall of 2013. The team immediately returned to the same form that has earned Crook County 17 JROTC dual state championships. Crook County took first place in unarmed drill in each of the first two competitions of the season. The team is expected to qualify both armed and unarmed drill teams as well as two color guard teams for the dual state championships, which will be held in the spring of 2014.

10. Led by Elsa Harris, the Crook County High School girls tennis team finished in sixth place at the OSAA Class 1A/2A/3A/4A State Tennis Championships.

Harris finished third in singles at the meet.

Although the team did not win a trophy at the state championship like they did each of the previous three years, the team showed that they are still one of the top tennis programs in the state of Oregon.

High school students were not the only Crook County athletes to enjoy success in 2013.

Brandon Beers went into the National Finals Rodeo in third place in team roping. After struggling in the finals, Beers and partner Jim Ross Cooper fell to seventh in the final standings. Beers was also honored when his horse was named horse of the year by the PRCA.

Meanwhile, fellow Crook County team roper Charly Crawford moved up from 13th to 10th in the final standings after having a solid finals performance.

Three youth who train at Norm’s Xtreme Fitness also had a memorable year as they each won world championships at the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters championships in Reno, Nev. Molly Moore and Gage Garner each won their division in the dead lift, while Emma Eldridge won the dead lift with a world record lift, and also finished first in the bench press with an American record.

Water skier Jeff Hancock also set a world record in competitive slalom at the National Disabled Water Ski Championships. Hancock then competed in the world championships where he earned a bronze individual medal and a gold team medal.

Also of note this year, Mason Tibbs finished sixth at the Oregon Juniors Golf Championships, Casey Loper was named volleyball player of the year for the Cascade Collegiate Conference, and Makayla Lindburg earned a starting spot for the Portland Pilots volleyball team.

How did we do?

Crook County athletes took part in many other athletic endeavors during the year. Did we miss something significant? Did we get our stories in the right order? Send us your choices for top stories of 2013 at sports@centraloregonian.com.

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