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Straight from the coach's mouth


With only days before the first games and meets, the coaches are laying out their season expectations and concerns.



People look at Molalla’s record the last two years and dismiss us, Coach Kaleb Mitchell said. “I think this year we’re going to shock them.”

Mitchell’s high expectations for this season aren’t unfounded. Molalla brought in Defensive Coordinator Paul Roher, who has 33 years of coaching experience.

And even though Mitchell has a large group of freshman, he’s happy with how the team looked over the summer.

The athletes attitudes on the field are more positive this year, Mitchell said, adding that they are more willing to lead when necessary and follow when necessary.


“We’re very excited about this season,” Coach Carol Grauer said, adding that they have a good freshman class coming in and several excellent returners. “I’ve been very impressed this year.”

In the past, it’s been difficult for students to get experience prior to high school, as there is no junior high team. However, a few of the incoming players had older sisters on the team the last couple years, Grauer said, “which helps build knowledge early.”

The Indian’s biggest competition is in Estacada, Madras and La Salle. This year, they’re aiming for wins with all three and looking to go to the playoffs.

Girls soccer

“I want them to play beautiful soccer,” Coach Jim Seward said, during a kick around last month. Winning just happens to be a byproduct of that, he said.

Seward stepped in as the girls head coach this summer. Last year, he was a junior varsity coach.

Attacking is at the top of his philosophy.

“If we can win the ball and keep the ball, we’re good,” he said. “The game play should be just as entertaining as the goal itself.”

Boys soccer

“One of the questions going in is can we generate the offense we need,” Coach Ryan Gates said.

Gates took over as coach this summer, after many of the team’s big scorers graduated. So, he started with what he had: defense.

“It’s a great building block,” he said.

But a strong defense and weak offense most likely will leave the scoreboard reading 0-0. So Gates is changing the formation a bit, he said. “I’m hoping it becomes more fluid.”

Rather than focusing on following strict roles, he intends to give his players more freedom to move on the field. “It will be a bit of a transition,” Gates said, “and it will take a bit to click. But when it does, I think we’ll be one of the best teams in the state.”

Cross country

“The girls are really good,” coach Gary Fischer said. “On paper, we’re the team to beat.”

The girls team has four solid returning runners: Hannah Clarizio, Emily Bever, and Brianna and Heather Loughridge.

The boys team, however, is going to be pretty young. Pake Benthin graduated and Gabe Collins is going to Franklin High School this year.

“[Collins] was a huge loss,” Fischer said.

Though there are several inexperienced runners on the team, there is also a lot of raw talent, he said. “We’re getting better every week.”



“The offense and defense will be very, very similar to last year,” coach Dan Leighton said, “but with a few tweaks.”

Leighton stepped in as the Vikings’ head coach this year. He’s adding more running plays than in the past, and he’s sticking with the same 3-5 defense.

“But hopefully we’ll execute it better,” Leighton said. “We’re getting better. Hopefully we get over that hurdle and into playoffs. I’m expecting it.”


“The goal is to make the first round of playoffs,” said Linda Rasor, who took the helm of Colton’s volleyball team this year. “It’s very doable for this group.”

Rasor was hired in mid-August, which didn’t leave a lot of preseason time for her and the team to get used to each other. While adapting to a new coach can be difficult, Rasor said, the girls are enthusiastic and playing well.

Ten seniors joined the team this year, and they’ve been playing together for a long time, she said.

For Rasor, the goal is to teach them to be aggressive on the court and play hard at all times, while emphasizing team work. “I’m teaching the girls that every ball has a purpose,” she said.

Cross country

“My expectations are a little higher,” coach Mark Shelton said. “We should be in better shape than last year.”

Looking at their first meet, the Darrel Deedon Cascade Invitiational, Shelton said it’s hard to say what to expect though. “I’m hoping everyone gets top 20 finishes,” he said.

Shelton has a few returning runners that he has high hopes for, particularly Louis Norton and Brylee Moyle.

Norton did well for a freshman last year, and Moyle has been training a lot, Shelton said. “Hopefully she’ll finish in the top ten.”

Country Christian


“The league will be strong again this year,” coach Janin McGrath said. “We’re trying to crack the top two spots.”

The Cougars landed the third seed at state last year. Getting above that is a lofty goal, but a very realist one, McGrath said. “We definitely have the pieces.”

Though they lost a power duo—Taylor Rasor and HaiLee Richardson—they return a lot of players, as they were very young last year.

“[Miranda] Halverson can play anywhere,” McGrath said. “Courtney McGrath and Kennedy Nofzinger were great as well. Those three will be relied on heavily to lead.”

Cross country

“We’re really learning what it is to be runners,” Coach Kurt Lewandowski said. “I have a lot of high hopes come districts.”

The Cougars cross country team is back for the second year in a row. Lewandowski said he suspects their two newest runners may be the fastest on the team. Junior Levi Losli and senior Carolyn Botsford, who is a transfer from Molalla.

There are a couple key returners, who may contend with Losli and Botsford though. On the boys side, Ben Grandle and Alex Satrum, and on the girls side, Anna Cunningham.