PHIL HAWKINS - Gustavo Lopez made a great showing at the 5A state cross country meet, finishing in the middle of the pack at 36th.It was a banner year for local high school athletic programs in the Woodburn Independent coverage area. Records were set, titles were won and fought for and playoff runs were deep and plentiful.

It seemed that every season of the athletic calender in 2015 was packed with momentous occasions and memorable events.

Each school in our coverage area — Woodburn, North Marion, Gervais, Kennedy and St. Paul — each had their share of greatness to celebrate and important events that impacted their athletic programs in the past 365 days.

Boys soccer makes another deep run

The Woodburn boys soccer team continues to rank among the elite teams in the state after making its sixth consecutive appearance in the state semifinals.

Although the Bulldogs failed to achieve their annual goal of winning a state championship, the team deserves recognition for constantly putting together a top-tier program year after year, regardless of the great players that pass through the program.

Athletic independence

After years of struggling to compete with the other teams in the Mid-Willamette Conference, the Woodburn softball and football programs have elected to play independent schedules in 2016.

The moves should bring greater stability to each program, allowing the Bulldogs to attract more athletes to each sport by offering a better experience for the players, the teams, the coaching staffs and the fans.

PHIL HAWKINS - Junior Reggie Reyes returns to the golf team this spring after joining his teammates at the state tournament in May for the Bulldogs' first time in 45 years.

Golf team rises to the top

Once an annual cellar-dweller, the Woodburn boys golf team made a meteoric rise in the past five years, culminating in its first trip to the state tournament in 45 years.

A.J. Martinez, Julian Kuznetsov, Gabriel Hernandez, Reggie Reyes and Steven Martinez combined to place second at the district tournament in May, paving the way for continued success for the Bulldogs on the fairways.

Gustavo goes to state

Gustavo Lopez had a career year this past fall for the Woodburn cross country team. The junior distance runner placed third at the district meet in October, advancing to the 5A state championships in Eugene where he went on to place 36th overall.

Tennis trio finish strong

It had been more than 10 years since Woodburn sent any representatives to the state tennis tournament before Beto Salmeron, David Samano and Marco Soria broke that streak this past spring.

Salmeron placed fourth in the district singles tournament, while Samano and Soria placed fourth as doubles partners, as all three seniors finished their tennis careers in emphatic fashion.

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