Blog: Athletic Director

Wednesday night I was in a familiar space, but with a different role.  After parking in the OES upper lot, I walked down SPARC hill with my 2nd grade daughter Rhiannon.  We were early, but the tennis courts already had dozens of Aardvarks dribbling basketballs.  Rhiannon sprinted away after seeing her teammates, leaving me standing with the rest of the parents.  Since Cindy McEnroe retired last spring, it was up to Missy Smith to calm everyone down.  Each team gathered in a small circle and the coaches started the practice with several mindfulness activities.  Nine circles of lower schoolers, nine teams, all led by parent volunteer coaches.  I remember Year 1.  Mindfulness?  Not really.  The first practice felt more like organized chaos.  This year, Year 5, things ran smoothly thanks to Missy's leadership and so many veteran coaching volunteers.  As I watched the 2nd grade girls start their dribbling exercises I was grateful for the three parent coaches that were patiently working with the 13 future WNBA stars.  Two coaches were back from last season and they had added a rookie.  The three of them made sure each player was hearing her name.  Before you could say Double Dribble the hour was up and SPARC emptied out.  As we walked back up the hill Rhiannon was re-sharing every detail of the practice. Her energy was off the charts.  

HS basketball had the week off.  It was ideal timing as our student-athletes prepare for finals next week .  Coaches continued to remind their players to use the down time to prepare.  Similar to an athletic season, the work has to be done ahead of time.  You can't cram everything you need to get done at the last second and expect to be successful.  Next week basketball and dryland training will be the healthy escape for many of our students as they spend Tuesday through Friday demonstrating what they have learned during the first semester.

The Ski Team will head out again this Friday.  Last weekend the race was cancelled due to high winds. The stormy conditions were a bummer, but they also dropped a lot of snow to set up the rest of the season.  The Ski Team is excited to defend their Metro Championship this Saturday!

The Athletic Department is slowly packing up the gym.  In March construction for the new Athletic Center will start.  We are packing up closets and preparing for 15 months of construction.  Everyone in Fariss Hall is going to need to be flexible.  Peter Kraft stepped up to model this.  Lower School PE will move into his office.  We will rely on the Fariss Hall Conference Room and Movement Room for changing spaces for our student-athletes.  The AD office will also be used for a changing room along with storage.  

You will not hear any complaints from us though.  This new building will be the community space that we have needed for a very long time.  All three divisions will live there on a daily basis.  We can't wait!

Read More about BAM, Finals, and Prepping for Construction

I am guilty of it just like everyone else.  You watch a game and you are ready to make predictions with the same certainty of the sports show hosts.  "No way are we going to win a game this year!"  "Get to the store and buy the champagne, we are destined for a championship!"  There is no sport at OES that has to deal with immediate responses more than basketball.  No one watches the first cross country meet and declares that this squad will not get faster!  I have never heard a tennis parent make declarations in March before Coach Davis or Coach Collie can work their magic.  But basketball is a little different.  There is no sport that allows the fan in as much.  We almost sit on the bench with the team.  The players are feet away and we can see every grimace, smile, or cold stare.  We can transcribe what the coaches say in the huddle.  It is also a really simple game, right?  

Not at all.  As I walk around SPARC or the gym I am reminded on a daily basis how much work the student-athletes put in.  It doesn't matter if it is 6th grade girls or Varsity boys.  The coaches continue to teach knowing that the best way for someone to grow as a player is to fail first.  It is no different in math class.  I sometimes imagine the parents sitting in the bleachers with Karen Seder or Gabe Edge teaching their children in front of them. "What is she doing calling on Billy?  There is no way he is ready to answer this question!"  It doesn't matter that Billy's parents are close enough to hear.  "Why would Susie give Jill the white board pen instead of writing the answer herself?!"  We need this answer!"  

I remember our MS boys B coach, Ray Kellstrom drawing up the end of the game play during a timeout.  OES was down 1.  The team broke the huddle and the four boys hustled to their spots on the floor with purpose and focus. The boy who was passing the ball inbounds received it from the referee.  He slapped the ball and yelled, "Break!" just like Ray told him.  The other four boys orchestrated the play perfectly. And then the young man holding the ball passed it directly to the other team.  Ray had the opportunity a week later to do the same thing.  Again he gave the same young man the job of passing the ball inbounds.  Again, the same thing happened.  I walked over to Ray after the game and told him how much I appreciated how he handled the situation.  "Ray, that young man may never get that chance again to be responsible for a big play.  Thanks for giving him another chance."  Ray looked at me and said, "Oh, he is going to get another chance."  For the final game of the year the hoopster made the correct pass and the boys won.  

I hope everyone makes it to a game early in the season.  I wish every teacher got to see the first game of their advisee.  So often we catch the final game or senior night.  But when you get to watch the first one and then you continue with the team, you see the growth.  It doesn't mean the team always wins, because the other programs are committed to the same thing, getting better every day.

Girls Varsity remains undefeated after defeating Amity and Rainier at home.  They are 5-0 and currently ranked #2 in the state.  The boys suffered a tough defeat to Amity 44-42, but rebounded with a home victory over Rainier 56-48.  Their record is 2-3.

Lauren H'21 led all scorers against Rainier with 23 points.  She hit 7 three-pointers! 

Congratulations to junior Charles W on earning All PIL honors for Lincoln HS football.  Charles was 1st Team All Utility Back on offense and 2nd Team Defensive Back on defense. #Caardvarks!

 We will announce All State soccer and volleyball next week!

Read More about Growth Mindset

Stress levels were high in the AD office as Missy and I went over the injury report.  There is nothing more helpless than an athletic director two days before opening night of the basketball season.  Everything is scheduled and you are just anxiously waiting to see what the character of the team will be when they step on to the floor.  We tried to busy ourselves with spring scheduling, stalking middle school soccer players who haven't returned their jerseys, and reviewing the fall 2020 calendar one more time, but in our minds we stressed about ankle sprains, shin splints and a fever that was running through the Upper School and had hit one of my favorite student-athletes Rachel H'20.  

The basketball teams traveled to Salem Academy on Wednesday and Rachel was dressed and ready to lead the girls team.  The reason Rachel always stands out to me is I love kids that have great fundamentals.  Rachel does all of the little things.  Instead swiping at the ball, she moves her feet on defense!  Instead of trying to block a shot and fouling, she hustles to the spot and draws a charge.  She boxes out her opponent every time there is a shot!  On offense she doesn't waste her dribble and although it sometimes seems like she is allergic to shooting the ball, it is often more likely that she sees a teammate that is moving to a better spot, so she throws a bounce pass that would make Pete Carril beam with pride.  She sweats the small stuff that no longer gets noticed on Instagram or other self curated highlight shows.  She is just a winner that focuses on playing a complete game.

The girls jumped out on Salem Academy.  On offense the girls set great shoulder to shoulder screens, and they attacked the boards.  You know a team has established its culture when the freshmen get thrown into the first game and you see them doing the hard things also.  When Cayton S lost the ball on a breakaway, she didn't hang her head.  She sprinted back to the defensive end and was in the right spot to get a steal.  Hollis H stepped in at center due to captain Ava C getting in early foul trouble, and Hollis stood tall, she closed out on shooters and she boxed out.  And Rachel H?  Two days removed from being home in her PJ's with a 102 fever?  She played every single minute. She finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 deflection.  But when you watch the film you would see her on every rep doing the little things that lead to the team's 32-20 victory.

The boys struggled during their first game against Salem Academy losing 54-36.  The coaches were in the film room early the next day identifying what they need to improve on.  After watching both of our teams on film after one game I know there is a lot of basketball left this season.  The coaches will continue to stress the importance of taking pride in doing the little things that lead to success. 

I am fortunate to be one of the 5th grade boys coaches.  We had our first practice on Wednesday and the drills that I was in charge of were all about what I saw from our varsity teams.  As I wrapped up my drill on closing out and moving your feet instead of trying to block shots or steal the ball, I huddled up the boys and told them I hope some day they are on this court playing for a league championship.  And maybe they will be as good as Rachel H.

Congratulations to Emma W!  Emma recently competed in the Pan American Climbing Championship with the USA Climbing Team in Ibarra, Ecuador.  After two qualifying rounds and four knockout rounds, Emma brought home the silver medal and two PRs. 

Thank you!  Sitting in an office all day can really suck the life out of you.  That is why Thursday was so amazing.  As I sat in front of my computer, alum Stephen London'09 stopped by to donate his old ski racing equipment to the team.  I hadn't seen Stephen since 2009 and it was so amazing to reconnect.  He shared with me how much skiing, soccer, his teachers and coaches positively affected him and how he had started to coach soccer so he could pass it on. It was like rocket fuel to get back behind the desk and keep working.  Our alumni are amazing.  They come back to cheer on their former teammates, like Stephen, they donate gear to the program, but more importantly they take the what they learned here at OES and share it with the greater community.   

https://www.oes.edu/support-oes/game-changer-campaign/join-the-alumni-challenge

Read More about The Fundamentals

For four years of high school I had to walk across a small pedestrian bridge that connected my high school campus to the football practice field. Before you could cross over Saddle Brook River to practice you saw the same words painted on the pavement, "Choose To Lead."  Every year Coach Johnson freshly painted those words in white paint so that they popped off the grey pavement.

Five years ago Missy Smith chose to lead.  After hearing multiple times from colleagues from around the state that no one was doing anything to help develop the leadership skills of Oregon female student-athletes, she announced she would create a program.  This weekend will be the 4th Oregon Girls Sports Leadership Summit.  Over six hundred young women from all over Oregon will arrive on campus to develop new skills, attend workshops, network, and listen to other women share their stories of discovering and developing their leadership skills. It is an amazing day and our OES student-athletes not only attend but lead discussions and break out activities.  How often do you hear people talk about developing leaders, but can't explain how they do it?  Missy created an event that provides the instruction, mentorship, and inspiration but most importantly provides hands-on experience for a female student-athlete to develop her leadership voice.  To learn more about this amazing event check out the information online:  https://www.oes.edu/athletics/girls-leadership-summit

Last Saturday our girls and boys soccer teams competed in the OSAA State Championship game.  The girls loss 2-1 to Catlin and our boys fell 3-1 to Catlin also.  It was a special day.  There were so many moments that filled me with pride.  Watching Sophie C play her final HS match after fracturing her knee earlier this season, attending the Tailgate Crew's parking lot party between matches and seeing a senior class focused on celebrating their classmates' achievements, watching both teams handle defeat with such character and respect.  Congratulations to Catlin Gabel on their championship seasons.  Thank you to our student-athletes for doing such an amazing job representing OES.  Seniors thank you for four inspiring years of fall sports.

Sko Varks!

 

More photos from the Championships: https://holloran.smugmug.com/School/State-Finals-Soccer-Games/  and https://jimfitzhenry.smugmug.com/2019-Boys-Varsity-Soccer/State-Championship-Game-v-Catlin-Gable and https://jimfitzhenry.smugmug.com/2019-Boys-Varsity-Soccer/Girls-State-Championship-Game-v-Catlin-Gable

Thank You!  

Thank you to John Holloran, Kate Lieber, Donna Morrow and Jim Fitzhenry for taking photos this fall!  Thank you to Todd Mansfield for broadcasting soccer matches on Mixlr. Thank you to all of our team parents who helped organize team dinners, extra snacks for road trips, and everything else that makes the season so special!  Lastly, thank you to our bus drivers for getting the student-athletes to and from events safely.

Congratulations

Congratulations to 8th graders, Mia G and Jackson R for competing at the USATF Oregon Association Junior Olympics Championships on Saturday.  Moving from a 3,000M to a 4K both 8th graders had exceptional performances.  Jackson finished 35th and Mia finished 24th.  Mia's younger brother Mateo(4th grade) entered for his age division and finished 11th.  Way to go Aardvarks!

Alex Slusher'19 spent last weekend in Columbus, Ohio with the U-19 USA mens lacrosse team.  Team USA had two scrimmages and then they had to cut their roster down from 32 to 26.  Alex served as captain for the second scrimmage and made the latest round of cuts.  The next training session will be in January in San Antonio for Team USA.  Alex is currently a freshman at Princeton University and will play lacrosse for the Tigers this spring.

Read More about Choose To Lead

The Final Match

They have done it again.  Our boys and girls varsity soccer teams will play in the State Championships tomorrow at Liberty HS. The girls kick-off at 10:30am and the boys follow at 1:00PM.  I went back to see what the last 10 years have looked like.  Our boys have made it to the final game 5 times during that span.  Seven different Oregon programs have made it to the championship since 2010 with five different champions. The OES girls soccer team have played in the final game 9 years in a row.  That is a staggering accomplishment.  They have the opportunity to win their 8th state championship in a row!   

At the same time I never plan to take it for granted.  Their success comes from hard work, commitment, and sacrifice.  As soon as our student-athletes assume they are entitled to make it to this day is when it all falls apart.  It is going to be great weather for soccer.  Be sure to join us to cheer on the Aardvarks as both teams face Catlin Gabel.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/seniors.

Tuesday Road Trip!

Sometimes being a teacher, a coach, and definitely an athletic director can make you feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again.  Missy and I talk about the Groundhog Day feeling.  If you do not know what I am referring to then you need to watch the Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day.  It was filmed in my wife’s hometown of Woodstock, Illinois and it is about a weather broadcaster who wakes up every morning doomed to live the same day over again. The same people say the same thing.  The same events happen at the same time.  At first Bill Murray spends the first half of the film feeling trapped and bored. But as the movie progresses, he starts to see the amazing opportunities that present themselves, and each time he wakes up to the same Sonny and Cher song on his clock radio he does his best to embrace the day with a renewed positivity.  It sounds hokey, but when I woke up to my alarm, “Doctor My Eyes” covered by the Jackson 5, I told myself I needed that same positivity as Bill Murray. The road trip to Medford and back can seem long, but there is no guarantee that I am going to have another one.  I also know that this is the only one I get with this team. So I figured I would keep my laptop open and I would try to write down the magical moments.  Driving south on I-5 I experienced a Groundhog Day moment.  One year ago to the day I was in the same seat on a Charter Bus heading south to Medford with the girls varsity soccer team.    He tries to see all of the beautiful things that happen and connect with each person.  He strives to make the day better for everyone else which makes his experience better.

 Below are my notes:

 We are four hours from Medford.  The girls are relaxing as best as they can and their laughter is infectious.  It is the kind of laughter that I don’t hear at OES when I eat with colleagues or talk with parents.  It is pure joy.  No one is telling jokes.  They are jut sharing daily stories and retelling past adventures.  It is just teammates, friends excited to be with each other, finding joy in their shared experiences.  I don’t think I paid attention to this part of the trip last season.  I was focused on answering emails and prepping basketball practice schedules.  I was so focused on the logistics of the event I didn’t realize the power of the journey.

Oregon is a big state. The girls continue to laugh and tell stories.  Some move seats to retell or share something specific, but mostly the stories are for everyone.  No one is wearing headphones now. We are still a ways away, but the music is started to play a little louder.  Does any parent like their child’s music? 

I just got a text from a ’19 OES parent.  “One year ago today! Go ‘varks!”  She let me know how much she misses being on the sideline cheering with other families, team dinners, watching her daughter compete.  I remember how much my own dad and mom were a little lost after I was done playing. I had moved to California to teach and they didn’t have something on the calendar for every Saturday of the spring season.  When I returned to NJ to coach football and lacrosse, my dad was always in the stands.  Upon surveying the bus I notice the only ones with their laptops open are the seniors.  They are working on the essays and applications that will help them find their next adventure.

Head Coach Justan Wolvert has the game film on in the seat behind me.  Every once in a while he will call one of the girls up to his seat.  He will show them 5 seconds of a St Mary’s film.  Those five seconds are magic.  He uses the film to affirm what our OES athlete does well, or he points out an opportunity to try something new.  He never belittles the opponent.  He always makes it about the OES player and why they are going to be successful. He quietly builds the confidence of each player one at a time.  It is masterful how he does it. 

This team has experienced adversity.  There are several girls who won’t be able to dress today.  But I wouldn’t be able to tell you which ones by how they are acting.  They are all in.  That is obvious.  When I first got to OES in 2004 I had a student-athlete tell me that he wasn’t going to come to practice because it was his second sport. He had club soccer and that was his top sport. I told him to quit.  If he wasn’t going to commit to his teammates, he didn’t deserve a spot on the roster.  It upset a lot of my colleagues.  They told me we had a no-cut program.  I told them that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have responsibilities to his team.  Our girls soccer program doesn’t have any issues about girls understanding that they are accountable to each other. For the last 17 years I have watched leaders like Molly Nakayama'90, Alyssa Gregg'95 Ashley Berman'96, Amy Green'96, Annie Warner'98, Jessica Tsao'05, Carling Leon'09 Hannah Dugoni'12, Hannah Huston'13, Catherine Leon’15 Carolyn Ruoff’15 Mikaleah McKinney-Griggs”16, Ruby Aaron'18, Annika Lovestrand'18, Megan Ruoff'18, Stephanie Finley'19, Joanna Cloutier'19 and countless others ensure that the team holds itself accountable on and off the field.  Our captains this year, Sophie and Harper,  have continued this commitment to accountability, hard work, and selflessness.

Lunch time!  There are blue skies at the rest stop.  It is time to fuel.   The girls gather at two picnic tables and eat everything from bacon to salad rolls.  For the fast eaters, boredom leads to dance sessions.  We are two hours from game time and the texts from last year’s seniors start to roll in.  Joanna, Maya, Olivia, etc.  The class of 2019 lets the current squad know that they are with them both figuratively and digitally.  The NFHS network will be streaming in New Hampshire, Maine, California, and Oregon and our college Aardvarks will be watching this year’s rematch with St Mary’s in the semifinals.  Our college freshmen have already learned that there is nothing like high school sports.  Maybe it is due to the distance from home, or the added independence, or some other reason, but college athletics are not the same.  One more hour until we arrive.  Back to the bus.

At exit 66 I realize that we are still in Oregon, but this doesn’t look at all like Portland.  There is no time for a side trip to Hugo or the Pottsville Museum.  Four hours in a bus where I grew up meant you were either in Vermont or Virginia.   

Our three freshmen mix up with all of the classes and they separate and return to each other more because they enjoy each other rather than security.  They aren’t really freshmen anymore.  They are playing in the semifinals of a state tournament.  They are critical to the team’s success and they are treated accordingly.  It is unique to OES and their experience will shape how they treat next year’s freshmen. 

I turn on Todd Mansfield’s broadcast of the boy’s game and the entire bus hangs on his play by play call.  Olivia finds  the live stream on FACEBOOK, but we decide to rely on Todd’s commentary.  We pull in to the field complex and as the girls change and set up their bench area they listen intently on their phones.  It is great to see the girls and the boys support each other.  Both programs support each other  and make the effort to attend each other's games.

With only minutes until the National Anthem and introductions, a group of parents arrive.  They let me know they went to the school instead of the game location.  I remind them the game location is on the website.  Another set of parents arrive and say the same thing.  5 minutes into the game another two parents arrive. Same story.  I realize that our website may suck.

The girls begin the game with amazing energy.  They line up passes and senior Zoe S fires a rocket to make it OES 1   St Mary’s 0!  The dozen Aardvark fans erupt.  At the 15 minute mark it hits.  All of a sudden we look like we drove 5 hours before the game.  The girls continue to make plays, but they look tired.  St Mary’s doesn’t adjust and they continue to keep 9 back with the goalie and hope they can create something in transition.  The first half ends and the parents shift uncomfortably.  OES has dominated possession, and St Mary’s seems content to sit back on defense.  But will we have enough in the tank to win this match?

In the second half OES continues to dominate possession, but St Mary’s doesn’t allow the girls to create easy opportunities.  Our girls remain poised, but then it happens.  The counter attack!  St Mary’s transitions to offense.  They have the uneven match-up.  OES goalie Izzy comes out to confront the attacker who deftly lobs it over her head.  The St Mary’s fans begin to scream and the OES fans bellow, “No!” when Grace A'21 sprints in from the backside wing and makes a sliding kick at the goal line to clear the ball away.

OES earns the 1-0 victory.  They are going back to the State Championship for the 9th year in a row.  It is In and Out time.  Burgers and milkshakes, music, and retelling of Grace’s play, Zoe’s goal and countless other moments in the game. 

Finally we get on the bus and head north on I-5.  Ice packs are handed out.  When you play for this long, the body takes a beating.  Lights go on and off, but the conversations and the laughter continue steadily for the final 5 hours.  It is the final road trip of the season and it seems the girls don’t want to waste a minute of their time together.  I am so grateful that I was able to watch the day unfold.

GOOD LUCK!

Our two soccer teams will not be the only OES competitors tomorrow.  Good luck to 8th graders Mia G and Jackson R as they compete at the USATF-Oregon Junior Olympic Meet at Western Oregon University.

High school basketball and ski racing season begins Monday.  Girls basketball will be in the gym and the boys will start in SPARC.  Dryland training will meet in the weight room. The best part of playing in the final game is not having to wait around before the next season begins.

Read More about The Final Match of the Season and Observations from an Epic Road Trip!

Last Friday rocked!  It was a cold beautiful autumn day. I had Quinn and Rhiannon in the back seat heading to Tualatin High School for the XC Districts. Our boys and girls ran their final race of the season.  Congratulations to our seniors, Ashok and Asa.  The only thing more inspiring than watching a student-athlete run as hard as they can for 5KM, is to see their genuine excitement for their teammate's success.  The entire running community is racing the clock and collectively they are all focused on racing their best race. 

All League and All District teams have been announced:

Volleyball All League

Lewis and Clark Player of the Year

Maxine Matheson-Lieber

1st Team All Lewis and Clark

Maxine Matheson-Lieber

Ava Casalino

2nd Team All Lewis and Clark

Cayton Smith

Honorable Mention

Paige Morrow

Becca Perry

Girls Soccer All District

1st Team All Special District 1

Olivia McCoog

Nadia Schwartz

Olivia Faucera

Wylly Wilmott

2nd Team All Special District 1

Grace Armstrong

Honorable Mention All Special District 1 

Macy O'Hara

Zoe Strothkamp

Maggie Bankowski

Bella Kellogg

Izzy Ponce

Boys Soccer All Special District 1

1st Team All Special District 1

Mason Lee

Jonah Song

James Lawliss

2nd Team All Special District 1

Kennedy Balandi

Connor Mansfield

Congratulations to 8th graders Jackson R and Mia G!

8th graders Mia G and Jackson R extended their XC season and raced in the PDXC State Meet at Western Oregon University!  Over 500 runners raced.  Mia finished 75th in the Girls Super Champ Division and Jackson finished 48th for the boys Super Champs Division.

This weekend boys and girls varsity soccer host state quarterfinal matches!

OES boys soccer  vs Riverside 2:00PM on the turf

OES girls soccer vs Blanchet Catholic 5:30PM on the turf 

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for studenta and seniors.  OES athletics will cover the admission for all OES students and OES employees!

One more time!  OES MS Girls Soccer celebrate after winning the MS Championships last Wednesday!  Congratulations girls and thank you Coach James and Coach Malia!

Read More about All District, Soccer Quarterfinals, and MS Success!

Senior Night is always a special evening for our student-athletes and their families.  It doesn't mean the season is over, but we take the time to make sure we show our appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice seniors and their families have made.  For the parents it means they won't be standing on the sidelines in the rain or sitting on wooden bleachers for extended periods of time.  That is a good thing, but it also means that their child is getting closer to leaving for college and there won't be a reason on weekday nights to gather with their friends and fellow parents to cheer on the Aardvarks.  For the seniors it means that the playoffs are near and their is a greater sense of urgency to soak up the fun and friendship while maximizing the effort and preparation.  Each victory means your high school career lasts a little longer and more importantly, you get to spend more time with your teammates.

 

Congratulations to our MS Programs!  Wednesday was a busy day for our MS teams.  Volleyball lost in 3 sets to Corbett MS in the semifinals.  The MS Boys Green Soccer lost to Southwest Christian 1-0.  The only goal was a penalty kick awarded to the other team in the early minutes.  MS Boys Central controlled possession and had multiple opportunities, but loss to Catlin 1-0. And MS Girls soccer won 3-0. Ending on a loss is always tougher than finishing on a win. No one wants to pose for that team photo after losing while the winning team never wants to leave the field.  But we are proud of all of our MS fall sports teams!  They did an amazing job representing OES to the greater community.  They demonstrated class and poise in victory and defeat all season long. 

MS Girls pose after winning the MCL Championship by defeating Riverdale 3-0. 

OSAA Playoffs! 

OES Volleyball at South Umpqua 3PM Saturday November 2

Pack the van and head south to support our girls volleyball players as they take on South Umpqua in the first round of the State Playoffs! Tickets $8 for adults $5 for students.  Go Varks!

Good luck Cross Country!  Our boys and girls cross country teams head to Tualatin High School this afternoon for the District Championships!  The girls race is 3:25 PM.  Boys run at 4:05PM. 

Read More about Senior Night means things are wrapping up for the fall!

The coaches, players, students and parents can get caught up in the moment, but the Athletic Director is supposed to remain objective.  It can be hard.  Especially when the game is on the line.  I remember the exact moment the above picture was taken. OES was playing inspired basketball against our rival and we were set to win.  Instead of cheering and focusing on the student-athletes I was watching a group of lower schoolers who were getting too close to the court.   As I continue to serve in this role I know that many of my evenings are going to look like this. Even though I  maintain my poker face, the best part of my job is getting to watch OES student-athletes experience moments that they will hold on to for the rest of their lives. 

Here is a list of a few magic moments from the past week:

Last Friday I hustled over to Southwest Christian for the MS Cross Country District Meet.  Jon, Kiah, and Ben do an amazing job coaching our MS cross country team.  This year we had more lower schoolers join this team than ever before.  At first I was opposed to the idea, but then I had the chance to watch our 8th graders leading this group.  Jackson, Mia and Sean were amazing.  They were patient with their younger teammates and they made everyone feel like they were important.   Before the big race the XC team was having so much fun being together.  They were laughing and encouraging each other.  It was so great to see student-athletes from five different grade levels supporting each other.  I wish faculty meetings were this positive. 

During the boys race Jackson R'24 came out of the woods in the lead.  On his heels was his rival from St Stephens.  It was going to be a dramatic finish.  Jackson had the lead and he was emptying the tank.  As he headed toward the final 100M I was a wreck.  Sitting in front of a computer scheduling basketball seasons doesn't teach me anything about myself, but right in front of me I was watching a young man figure out his own limits and then stretch beyond.  At the finish line Jackson was just edged out by the other runner.  It was heart breaking and beautiful at the same time because Jackson had not won the race, yet he had run his best race of the season.  Then Jackson who was just as wobbly as the other runner, put out his hand and congratulated the winner.  It was so classy.

The next evening I got to watch the MS Boys Green Soccer Team return from their match.  Down 4-1 with fifteen minutes left, the team had rallied to score 4 goals in the final fifteen minutes.  The joy these boys showed was infectious!  Each an everyone of them was talking a million miles per minute sharing each detail of the game.  Peter M'25 summed it up best, "That is why you never stop competing until the final whistle."

We had two senior nights where I had to start processing that another class is going to be leaving in June.  Families that I have seen on a daily basis for 4-14 years will be gone.  Our girls volleyball team thanked Aim, Maxine, Paige and Ava while the boys soccer program celebrated Cameron, Matthew, Daniel, Andre, Oliver, Hugh, John, Kennedy, Jonah, Alex, and Mason.

I watched Milo, Matthew, Ethan and other seniors organize and host a BBQ to make sure our Thursday soccer  and our girls league playoff matches would have a well-fed crowd of students to support the Aardvarks.  It was a difference maker and their leadership is appreciated.

It is back to the desk and the computer, but we have girls soccer senior night and MS soccer and volleyball playoffs next week.  I know that those events will fuel my soul enough to make it easier to be in the office.

Read More about Rocket Fuel for the Soul

It happens every season, but it still catches us by surprise.  We are entering the final weeks of the fall season.  US Volleyball finished #2 in the Lewis and Clark League and will host the first round of the league playoffs next Tuesday.  Cross country heads to Warner Pacific tomorrow and then sets their sights on the District Championship November 1.  Both soccer teams will close out the regular seasons over the next two weeks and both are heading to the postseason.  While our varsity teams are focused on the second season, our JV programs are wrapping up.  OES has a no cut program, so there is a spot for every student who is committed to the team. Many of our underclassmen on the JV teams aspire to make varsity.  As the season wraps they renew their goals for next year.  Next August they will be on varsity!  However, we have numerous seniors that play on our JV teams.  If they were at other schools their high school athletic careers would have ended earlier, but at OES they are still playing the games they love to play. 

Some seniors also take the risk of trying a new sport during their final school year at OES. This is the case for Aim Poonbunkhong.  Aim is a senior residential student who came out for volleyball in September.  On Tuesday like every other senior volleyball player she was honored.  As Missy read each player's favorite memories, big matches stood out.  For Aim, her favorite memory was a bit different.  Her answer was,  "During the Homecoming JV game against De La Salle, I set the ball to my teammate and we scored the first point of the match. I was so happy that day because it was the first point of the game and I helped earn it.  I was so excited I had to call my parents in Thailand to tell them what I had accomplished.  Thank you, everyone, on my team!"  The entire JV team was cheering her on as she was honored.  I love championships and dramatic wins and losses, but these are the moments that always inspire the Athletic Department to step up their game.

Congrats Aim and all of our seniors as you finish up the fall season.

Important Games and Matches

Friday 10/18 . OES MS Boys Blue Soccer vs OES MS Boys Green Soccer We have three boys teams.  The Central team plays in a different league.  These two compete in the same league and this game always brings out their best.  This is a great opportunity to see 2/3 of our boys MS soccer players battle against their best friends.

Tuesday 10/22 6PM . #2 OES Varsity Volleyball hosts the opening round of the Lewis and Clark League Playoffs.  $6 for adults $3 for students.  OES will cover the costs of all OES employees and students.

Thursday 10/24 6:15PM OES Boys Varsity Soccer hosts Westside Christian on Senior Night Come celebrate the 10 seniors as they play their final regular season game at OES.

Tuesday 10/29 6:15PM OES Girls Varsity Soccer hosts Portland Christian on Senior Night.  Come celebrate the 6 seniors as they play their final regular season game at OES.

Friday November 1 3:30PM OES Cross Country Sneak out of work early and meet me at Tualatin HS for the XC District Championships!  This is always an amazing event.  

Good luck to our Alumni!

Good luck to Grace McGee'15 tonight as Connecticut College Women's Volleyball host the Coast Guard Academy!

Good luck to Jack Casalino as he and the Vassar XC team visit Connecticut College for the CC Invite.  Be sure to say hi to Grace!

Good luck to Alex Slusher'19 this weekend at the American Boy Fall Brawl in Virginia where Princeton will face Colgate and Notre Dame.

 

 

Read More about Why No Cut?

 The beginning of school is so wonderful.  Everyone is ready to make this year the best one yet.  Outfits are planned, folders are organized, alarms are set so the teachers, students and coaches are all ready to take on the world.  But it is now October.  The newness of the school year or the season starts to wan.  That first day of school outfit is replaced by gym shorts or leggings.  The perfectly organized folder starts to resemble the junk drawer in the kitchen.  Waking up is tougher.  The darkness of the autumn morning makes it harder, but so does having to stay up late to study for that Economics test or that Physics quiz.  Everyone likes to talk about grit and resilience.  October is the month where our student-athletes will show their grit and resilience.  How do they handle the academic and athletic workload over the next three weeks?

We ended September with Homecoming.  Thank you to Homecoming Chair Tricia Edwards and all the parent volunteers for organizing an amazing evening.  The food was delicious and our teams battled on the turf and the wood court.  I loved the parade and seeing the joy of the lower schoolers marching with their older classmates.  Check out some amazing photos from the morning Pep Rally and the evening taken by US teacher John Holloran.

Boys Soccer travels to Catlin Gabel tonight for their second meeting.  After losing to Catlin last Friday 3-0, they defeated Portland Christian 10-0 on Tuesday.

Girls Soccer also travels to Catlin Gabel.  They hope to win tonight's rematch after losing 2-0 last Friday.

Girls Volleyball defeated De La Salle North 3-0 last Friday.  On Tuesday they went on the road and defeated #5 Horizon Christian 3-0 putting them in first place in the Lewis and Clark League.  On Thursday they won again in three sets against Riverdale.  The girls travel to Cresswell this weekend for their final non league tournament and then face Rainier and Catlin Gabel on the road next week.

Cross Country travels to Joe Danner Park for the Flat and Fast Invitational tonight.

Read More about October-Time to work!