Now that the spring sports season has concluded and the summer is upon us, the Herald looks back at the teams, moments and players that made their mark during the 2016-17 school year.
The Canby football team's 10-year playoff streak ended last season. An early season loss to Reynolds put the team behind the eight ball and they couldn't recover. However, they put together some nice moments including a 48-0 drubbing of Lakeridge and a nail-biting victory over Tualatin the following week – culminated with a clutch tackle by Nick Ramos to force Tualatin to turn the ball over on downs in the final minutes. The Cougars also had various exemplary individual performances including running back Kendle Boykin's prolific output before his season ending injury, Justin Morris's speed in the Cougars newfangled option running game and Taylor Mottern and Austin Kirkwood's two-way play.
Considering the earth-shifting turnover they experienced from last season to this season, the Cougars put together a season to be proud of. While Macey Wright returned as the Cougars leader and setter, freshmen such as Ruby Kayser and Kennady Ogden stepped up to play integral roles and Diana Krishchenko blossomed into the team's best hitter. The Cougars earned monumental victories over Lake Oswego and Sherwood and then defeated Liberty in the playoff play-in round before losing to West Salem in the first round of the playoffs. Wright earned Conference Player of the Year honors.
While upperclassmen such as Tate Churilla and Collin Miller were extremely productive, it was the play of some of the younger players that left head coach Ivan Munoz feeling optimistic at the end of the season – despite the team's overall struggles. Noe Rodriguez, Kristopher Lopez, Joe Thompson, David Bernal, Uriel Vega and others could lead the Cougars, who didn't win a game in league play and didn't qualify for the playoffs, to greater heights next year.
Led by an emphatic late season charge, Canby not only qualified for the playoff play-in round but also upended Century 1-0 to reach the first round of the playoffs. During the winning stretch, the Cougars eked out a 1-0 road victory over Newberg, beat Tigard 2-1 and tied Lakeridge 2-2 before the Century win. Canby also steamrolled David Douglas 7-0 early in the season. The Cougars were a senior heavy-bunch led by forward Kyra Mull, goalkeeper Allison Davis, midfielder Mackenzie Lee and defender Tia Elder, but underclassmen Claire Wright and Madison Miller were two of the team's best offensive players.
In Neal Cranston, Tristan Oakes and Cole Thomas, Canby boasted its strongest trio of boys cross-country runners in many years. The three ran in lockstep for much of the season and Thomas broke out of the pack at the end of the season – finishing fifth in the Three Rivers League and 58th in state – while Tristan Oakes placed seventh at the district meet and 57th at state and Cranston finished eighth at the district meet and 85th at state. And due to the trio's stellar performance, the team placed fifth in the league and came 12 points short of placing in the top three at the district meet and qualifying for state as a team. The Canby girls team also put forth one of its better seasons in recent years – remaining competitive in some league meets and placing ahead of Sherwood at the district meet. Also, Myah Teacutter finished 17th in the league and Ashley Ambrose finished 40th.
The Cougars achieved success in the preseason – particularly during a stretch in late December and early January in which they won three-of-five games. And, highlighted by Nate McDonald's buzzer beater, they swept Newberg in Three Rivers League-play. But a late season loss to Sherwood weakened their ranking and the Cougars fell outside of the playoff picture. Still, Dylan Taylor was a dangerous slasher, Wade Brewer broke out as a scoring threat from the point guard position and the Cougars challenged highly ranked teams at the end of the season such as Lakeridge and Lake Oswego.
One year after a monumental run to the semifinals of the state playoffs, Canby showed that the signature season was no fluke.
Despite an up and down start, Canby improved defensively and learned how to play without a true point guard late in the season. The Cougars won seven of their final nine games in league-play and upset Benson 44-43 in a highly competitive first round game after Hannah Myers knocked down pivotal free throws. In the second round, they lost to a scorching hot Oregon City team that marched all the way to the state championship game. Also, seniors Cianne Cates and Mackenzie Lee were named finalists to play in the McDonald's All-American game and Cassidy Posey earned Second Team All-League honors.
The Cougars laid waste to all Three Rivers League teams outside of Newberg in both the dual meet season and the district meet while Jake Lowry upset a few acclaimed wrestlers en route to a district title, Gus Warren, Taylor Mottern, Jonathan Zuriaga and Noah Strnad reached district championship matches and Mottern, Zuriaga and Lowry placed in the top six at the Oregon State Championships.
Canby was a force to be reckoned with in the Three Rivers League District Meet. Michael Haring won both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke, Kaitlyn Hester won the 100-yard freestyle, freshman Mairen Chard broke a school record in the 100-yard backstroke, Haring broke a school record in the breaststroke, the Canby boys team placed fourth in the league and three relay teams qualified for state. Then, the Canby boys team placed 12th in state, Haring placed sixth in the individual medley and the boys relay team of Haring, Zach Scroggy, Hudson Ehrich and Jarod Spencer placed fifth in state in the medley relay.
One year after winning the state title and shattering the state record in the show division at the Oregon State Championships, the Cougars won state yet again while a few individuals earned highly coveted individual honors. Haley Fitzgerald and Emma Johnston made the Dance and Drill Coaches Association All-State team, Emma Evenhus won her second drill down state championship while Fitzgerald placed and Kaitlyn Gartrell finished in the top five. Considering the team was relatively young, the win was all the more impressive.
The Cougars lost much of its production to graduation including University of Oregon pitcher Nico Tellache and relied on a very inexperienced roster. Canby pitcher Sean Wiese showed flashes of success while Jack Bigej proved a reliable catcher and impact hitter and Cayden Delozier broke out as the Cougars most dangerous hitter. But Canby won just three of 22 games and did not qualify for the playoffs.
Despite relinquishing fourth place in the Three Rivers League and an automatic playoff spot in the final day of the regular season, Canby kept its 25-year playoff streak alive with a convincing playoff play-in round victory over Reynolds. The front of Canby's lineup, featuring Kamryn Mobley, Emily Hewitt, Allison Davis and Emily Goodman, was the Cougars strength and all four players made either the all-league first team or the all-league second team. The Cougars' season came to an end with a loss to No. 2 Jesuit in the first round of the playoffs.
Canby head coach Nick Hund achieved his goal of leading the team to the state playoffs for the first time since 2011, The Cougars started the season out strong – winning their first five games – sputtered a bit against stout competition thereafter but still played well enough to earn an at-large playoff bid. Canby played competitively against Tigard in the first round of the playoffs but lost 12-6 while Garrett Netter, Zach Pilorget, Nate McDonald and Brandon Tietz earned Second Team All-League honors.
Track and field
Heading into the season, Canby head coach Tom Millbrooke wasn't totally sure which Canby athletes would qualify for state. Nevertheless, Cade Holbrook upset a couple district title contenders en route to a javelin title, Neal Cranston earned his second state track and field qualification – placing second in the TRL district meet in the 1,500 – and first year track and field competitor Ethan Dawson-Hurley's clutch performance in the high jump equaled another Cougar qualification. Team success eluded the Cougars but the state qualifications were a nice consolation prize.
The Cougars graduated most of its varsity lineup in the 2016 season but No. 1 golfer Sam Krauss returned even stronger than his state qualifying freshman campaign. Krauss shot in the mid-to-low 70s at times in the regular season and held the Three Rivers League individual standings league in the heart of the league season. And he finished the season on a high note as well – posting a 73 in the regional tournament, shooting in the 70s twice at the Oregon State Championships and placing 16th in state. Also, golfers such as Trent Johnson, Bryce Gaucho and Dylan Frazier improved steadily from the beginning to the end of the season.
Canby brought aboard a couple eager freshmen in Gabby Holmberg and Rylee Erickson while bringing back 2016 regional tournament qualifier Morgan Hitchcock.
The Cougars weren't competitive with much of the Three Rivers League but Hitchcock put together a few sub-100 rounds and the younger golfers gained invaluable experience.
The Cougars did not win a match at the Three Rivers League District Meet and struggled during the regular season but players such as No. 1 singles player Joe Henry earned a few match victories throughout the spring.
For the second consecutive season, Three Rivers League coaches were impressed enough with the Cougars depth and competitiveness to give head coach Natalee Evans the League Coach of the Year award. The Cougars were particularly strong during the regular season – earning key wins over Tualatin, Sherwood and Tigard. And the first day of the district meet went swimmingly as well. Diana Krishchenko, Hannah Myers, Emily Bennett and Josie Warren and Arika Evans and Cassidy Lowry all won opening round matches. Krishchenko then reached the district quarterfinals for the second year in a row while Myers and Claire Wright received all-league honors.
Maisie Rowley captured a couple state titles in showmanship and hunt seat equitation and reserve titles in those same events at the Pacific Northwest Invitational Championships while the Cougars freestyle team and in hand obstacle relay won regional championships, Kira Tipikin earned a bronze medal at regionals and Olivia Churilla, Hanna Jacobs, Julia Forell and Emily Brown finished in the top 12 in individual events at state.
The Cougars finished the season with a 2-4 a record during the regular season including victories over Reynolds and North Clackamas and won the varsity plate final over Reynolds.