Athletics and Fostering Independence

 

Saturday night was a special occasion on the OES campus. It was the night that we opened the athletic center to our gracious donors and celebrated all of those that made this dream a reality. The shoe game was on-point as the guests showed up in their dressy attire with their favorite tennis shoes. All a secret plan to protect the new wood court from any black-soled shoes or high heels. The weather was perfect and the tent outside along the center made the event festive. 

This well-planned out night gave everyone a chance to mingle and talk with the OES community. Parents, alumni, faculty, and friends had the chance to catch many of whom had not seen each other since Covid shut many of our gatherings down. It all felt a little normal other than the masks and was a joyous occasion for all in attendance.

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Prepping for the night would send me into a place of deep reflection as I prepared to give a few remarks about the legendary Kris Van Hatcher, “Hatch” as most know him. I thought about what it must be like to be part of the same place for 53 years. Yes, you read that right 53 years. Hatch started here as a student, left for college, returned to teach and coach, and then went on to lead the athletic department as the director and coach. Even to this day, you can find Hatch on the sideline where he is still coaching our Middle School Boys Lacrosse Team. I reflected on what it must have felt like to relinquish the reins to Dennis Sullivan and what it must feel like every time he steps on campus and comes home, to a place that he has built in stature and in programming.

Saturday night we honored “Hatch” with his name that will forever live on the wall of the old court that Hatch built. The most important part to me about Hatch’s legacy is the no-cut policy that he created and the culture of sports as part of being a student at OES. The no-cut program allows kids the opportunity to try something new, to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and gives them the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and succeed and sometimes fail. These are all great experiences that will make every student that goes through OES stronger and grittier. (Pictured: Some of the greatest kicks on hand Saturday evening.)

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Watching the no-cut program play out in our athletic department today, is pure magic. Kids that might never try soccer are out on the pitch getting dirty learning to kick and pass a soccer ball. Kids that have never ran more than a few blocks are out training with the Cross Country Team and pushing themselves through a very uncomfortable training regimen. Volleyball players are learning to pass, set, and spike the ball. However, the most important lessons these kids are learning are life skills. They have to communicate with coaches, be good teammates and share a mental and physical experience that you can’t replicate anywhere else in your life. They will still be celebrated on senior night even if they don’t make a varsity team. (Pictured: Addie Van Hatcher. ‘06, Hatch ‘70, Associate Athletic Director Missy Smith, and Athletic Director Dennis Sullivan.)

This no-cut experience is unique to OES as many of our opponents hold tryouts and cut athletes from their programs not knowing if the sport might be the one thing that changes their lives for the better. Every time I step into the Kris Van Hatcher Court and look at his name on the wall I will always remember the legacy that will live on for eternity: the opportunity to play sports no matter where your talents lie OES has a place for you in our athletics program where you will learn and grow as a student-athlete. 

Aardvark Sports Corner Highlights

Volleyball

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Congratulations to JV Volleyball for finishing the season undefeated with a perfect 14-0 record! We are proud of you! This strong team was rarely challenged this year and the leadership and camaraderie were second to none.

JV2 Volleyball had a long road trip to Santiam Christian on Monday night and lost a heartbreaker by two points in the final set. The girls had an amazing season and improved each and every day. They were really hitting their stride late in the season. They celebrated their success Tuesday night before the varsity girls playoff match.

Girls Varsity Volleyball hosted a parent vs. kid game last Friday night and had a blast. The kids prevailed over the parents but the parents gave them a good run for their money. After finishing 3rd in the Lewis and Clark League the Varsk went into the District Playoffs ranked 9th in State! They played Westside Christian on Tuesday in front of a raucous crowd and the girls came up with a big victory 3-1 the girls will move on to play on the road Thursday night vs. a hard-hitting Horizon Christain team in the semifinals. (Pictured: The undefeated girls JV Volleyball Team. Photo courtesy of Coach Lauran Pratt.)

Soccer

JV2 Boys Soccer gave a great display and earned a victory last Friday over Riverdale, the boys finished their season Monday night with an unfortunate loss to Catlin. However, this loss is merely a slight mark on a truly remarkable season. Individually, there was huge improvement across the board in every aspect of the game and as a team. They gelled well and started playing some lovely soccer near the end. Coach Gabe Perry Freer '15 could not be more proud of this team and he said “it was an absolute privilege to be a part of it.

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JV Boys Soccer shut out Astoria 8-0 on Monday. The boys will host Catlin on Friday night hoping to avenge their earlier season loss to the Eagles.

Congratulations to Tobias K. '25 for scoring his first and second varsity goals of the year vs. Portland Adventist Academy as the boys went on to win 6-0. Tobias kept his game streak alive, scoring again vs. Astoria. Alex C. ‘22 had 2 goals and 2 assists and Connor had 1 goal and 3 assists. Sam L. '24 had his first assist of the year as the boys closed out Astoria early with an 8-0 victory. The boys are on a roll winning their last four matches and are winding down the season and getting ready for the playoffs. The boys will travel to Riverdale on Saturday to secure a state birth. (Pictured: JV soccer at Tualatin. Photo courtesy of Eric Kristich.)

Varsity Girls Soccer defeated Westside Christian and De La Salle last week. They traveled to play St Mary’s on Friday in Medford and won 4-0.  Goals were scored by Cam G. ‘24, Olivia F. ‘22, and Annie H. ‘22. The trip was successful in more ways than one. The girls were able to build a stronger team bond with the young freshmen and newer players to the program. The girls enjoyed a victory dinner at In-N-Out on the way home. 

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Cross Country

Cross Country raced at The Vernonia Invitational last Tuesday night and the pair of Olin G. '23 16:50 and Tyler E. ‘22 16:51 (and a new PR)  finished in 3rd and 4th overall for the day.  The girls also had a great race at Vernonia with Ruby G. '24 finishing in 6th place and  Morgan M. '24  finishing in 7th place. This week the Varks will race on Thursday afternoon at the Valiant Invitational at Valley Catholic. This cross country team is quietly setting themselves up for an epic finish at the District Tournament on Oct. 29 at Sherwood Middle School. (Pictured: OES Cross Country team, including Tyler E. ‘22 and Olin G. ‘23 with their 3rd and 4th place medals, at the Vernonia meet. Photo courtesy John Edwards.)