By Jethro Swain
This Spring was a good one for the ‘Varks, and it ended with a bang.
This past Wednesday, May 31st, our boys lacrosse team stunned the home crowd, the state, and quite possibly the nation when they upset undefeated West Linn in overtime 11-10.
“It was an amazing feeling defeating the #1 seed on their home field, and more than that I’m just glad our season is still alive and we get a chance at a ring,” said sophomore defender Charlie N., who had a big play to help win the faceoff that led to the game-winning goal in overtime, after the game.
As a fan, the game was exhilarating. I walked into the stadium six minutes into the game and we were down 3-0 already, so our chances looked bleak. But the boys battled hard, and everyone in the stands was on their feet, holding their breath, intensely chanting and returning cheers with the home crowd West Linn fans, who outnumbered us OES students by at least 150 students. It was a typical David vs Goliath battle in which we came out on top.
I thought they couldn’t outdo themselves with that win. But then they did.
In front an overflowing stadium of Sunset, OES, and lacrosse fans alike, the OES boys lacrosse team took down the Sunset team six goals to nine and won their first state championship in almost a decade. “We’re getting two banners and a ring,” said goalie Jack S, “I believed the whole time we could do it. We just needed to play to the best of our ability, and that’s exactly what we did.”
The game itself was extremely tight in the first half, but, led by All-American sophomore Alex S., who had five goals, OES blew it open in the third quarter to take a four goal lead, and held on to secure the three goal victory. The OES fans stormed the field after the win and watched the award celebration.
Sadly though, the girls championship game didn’t go as they had planned as they faced a seemingly invincible Lake Oswego team. “We made history,” said captain Lexy T. “I’m proud of us for how far we went. The ending wasn’t the best that’s true, but it was still amazing for us to even get to the championship game and I’ll remember our win against Jesuit forever,” said captain Emma F. in reference to the semi-final game against Jesuit, where the OES girls came back from down seven goals mid-way through the second half and won in overtime. While they couldn’t take down LO, the girls still had a very successful season and got to the state championship for the first time ever; second place is not something to be ashamed of, as I’ve learned in my many years of getting second place in fantasy football.
While the lacrosse teams are making history with their winning ways, the tennis teams simply did what they always do with their winning ways and took care of business.
The guys tennis team won their sixth state title in a row, as well as continuing a six year streak of at least one of the singles or doubles champion hailing from OES. Except this year, OES actually had three of the four finalists. Nat S. and Sam B. lost a hard fought match to Daniel L. and Alex O. in the finals. Vineet E. finally finished a season and almost breezed through the singles bracket as the #1 seed. “It was the year we hoped for and the year we worked hard for,” said captain Nat S., “It was a great run and hopefully the streak can continue next year.” The guys tennis program is graduating a whopping thirteen seniors, including all of their state players, so next year will be a much different look for the team, but I’m sure Lucas S. and co. are ready to handle it.
The girls tennis team took home a state title as well, their ninth all time, continuing to grow the success of the OES tennis programs. The girls took two doubles teams and two singles to Corvallis, or ‘Corvegas’, as it’s known by some. Anna S. and Jennifer L. made it to the quarterfinals, and Kyla K. and Zoe C. made it to the semifinals before being knocked out by the eventual champs. In singles, Mia F. made it to the quarterfinals, and Kate K. made it all the way to the finals match. All six girls combined for enough points to secure the state championship for the team. “I’m proud of all of us for a really good season, and I know they’ll be able to do really well next year,” said senior Zoe C. The girls will be returning a lot of players next year so I’m sure they’ll be well positioned to defend their title.
For track and field, OES sent five athletes between the boys and girls, including Stephanie F. who competed in three running events. During lunch, nearly the entire school gathered in the great hall to watch Stephanie run her 3000m, where she took second place, one spot better than she did the previous year. She was then able to qualify for the 400m finals a couple hours later, and then, with some actual rest behind her, she took fifth place. The second day was when she ran in her third event, the 1500m, where she won first place by a whopping five seconds! In the boys 3000m, also watched by many in the great hall, both Grant T. and Jack C. competed. Jack took second place as well and Grant took 7th place. In the 400m, Oren P. took fifth place, earning four points for the team. Eben R., who won districts in pole vault, was the sole competitor for OES in a field event where he tied for 9th place.
Lastly, and surely not least, actually if anything, best, were the OES golf teams. A lot of the other programs had had a lot of success in their pasts, but for the golf teams, the boys highest ever finish at state was 4th (last year) and the girls had never even fielded a state team before. But this year, both teams exceeded all expectations.
The girls won districts for the first time ever to start things off for their young team led by senior captain Clem D. It was safe to say they didn’t have any set goal or place they wanted to reach going into state, and since they had never even made it to state before, any finish would be a record finish. It rained a lot in Corvallis where their state was held, and the girls played tough, with only four players the first day, so every score counted. They found themselves in fifth place by the end of day one, but the second day is where they really made their move. With some help from the other teams playing worse, the girls took advantage of their opportunity and improved by almost twenty strokes between day one and day two to jump up two spots and take third place in 4A/3A/2A/1A. Furthermore, freshman Anna L. took sixth place individually, beating Jane Schlendorf’s record setting 8th place finish last year.
The boys team, captained by yours truly, smacked our rival PAA by thirty strokes in districts, and were riding a lot of momentum going into state. We had the lowest district team score in the entire state, and suddenly felt like we had an actual chance to win for the first time ever. After the first nine holes, we were in first place by five strokes over Cascade Christian, behind “Big Man” Alden F.’s 34 on the front nine where he had eight pars and an eagle. The back nine was tougher than the front, and we fell behind five strokes after the first day. I think of that as being down five at halftime of a basketball game; so anything could have happened. After the front nine on the second day, we actually gained a bit of ground and we were only down four strokes. Sadly, when the weather faded into rain, hail, snow, and 25 mph winds, our game followed suit, and we lost out on second place by 12 strokes to the two time defending champs Cascade Christian. What’s special about that, though, is that the bad news was also the good news. Second place was another new record, two places better than last year, and better than we had expected at the beginning of the year. Alden especially made a name for himself by finishing in 4th place, the first top-10 finish in boys history and the best finish at state for both guys and girls. With Cascade Christian losing all five of their players next year, the boys are well prepared to make history yet again and win state for the first time in OES golf history.
Like I said at the beginning, this spring was a good one for the Aardvarks. Three state championships, two second place finishes, and a third place finish for six teams, as well as three individual state champs and eight top-5 finishers, all in one season. OES has always had a dominant sports program, but this season, in every single sport, we showed how far all of us have come. As a twelve season athlete from freshman year soccer through senior year golf, I’m definitely going to miss putting on the OES uniform, but I know that my teammates will carry on OES’ winning tradition.