Wow-what an amazing past two weeks it has been in the world of OES sports. Nothing says spring is coming like a few sunny days and a wild ride through the District Basketball Tournament. This is the time of year that gets me beyond excited! I get to witness how far our athletes have come over the months of training and competing and witness the growth they have made both individually and as teams. I get to watch them put it all on the line for a chance to earn a state tournament birth and an opportunity to win a state title. It is a brand new season of winner moves on and loser goes home. I am going to age myself a bit here but I can’t help but hear the theme from the Wide World of Sports program ringing in my head. “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat”. That is exactly what this time of year brings to all of the teams that are still alive. Only one champion will be crowned and the rest of the teams will leave having ended their season on a loss. This loss however will fuel their passion to improve in the off-season and it will challenge them to get better. Their focus will be on erasing those feelings of loss that will haunt them for the next year until the time comes to lace up their shoes in the quest for a title. That is unless they are seniors and their careers of playing with their teammates are over. This played out so vividly as I watch the girl’s district championship tournament. The girls would have to get to the title game to earn a birth to state. Their ranking was so low that this would be their only shot to move on to state. The girls started the season with a dismal 2-6 record and it looked like it would be a long season for the Varks as this young squad with no seniors to lead would struggle to find their identity early. However, no one in the program gave up and everyone worked harder to get better. The junior captains of Hollis H. and Cayton S. had to figure out how to lead this sophomore, freshmen-heavy team and get the buy-in for what it was going to take to find success. The individual roles were established and the buy-in was happening and the results were impressive. The Varks would turn it around in the second half of the season going 10-3 and currently on a 7 game winning streak. Recently they knocked off #2 De La Salle and #1 Riverdale in the league to bring home the 2nd District Basketball Title in program history. Watching the Varks pull off an enormous victory in an overtime game when their backs were against the wall so many times was the most fulfilling thing to witness as a spectator and mom. The composure and determination never wavered in that game and the magic was in the air Saturday night as a record-size crowd of Aardvarks attended the game and helped cheer them to victory. I just rewatched the ending on video and “Thrill of Victory”, for the Varks brought me to tears. I know I am a softy but I am a softy for our student-athletes. I think of each and everyone of these athletes as if they were my own child and watching them whether they succeed or fail fills me with emotions that are hard to explain. I understand that each and everyone of them have left everything they have on the court and for that they should be proud! Go Varks and shock the state!
Aardvark Sports Corner Highlights
Last weekend, Delaney O. (Sunset HS) and Grace M. (Beaverton HS) competed in the Metro League District Championships. They both did very well, Delaney '23 placing 3rd in the 100 breasts, 5th in the 100 free, and 3rd in the 200 Medley relay. Grace M. '22 placed 5th in the 500 free, 200 IM, and the 400 free relay.
In addition, they both competed at the OSAA 6A High School State Championships!!!
Delaney was seeded 16th in both of her events, and Grace was seeded 14th in the 200 IM, and 13th in the 500 free.
States this year was only a finals session on Saturday morning. Sadly there were no spectators allowed, apart from 1 ticket per athlete. Delaney O.'23 finished 17th at State in the 100 Free, and 16th in the 100 breaststroke, Grace finished 14th in the 200 IM and 14th 500 Free
Girls Basketball took down the #2 seed De La Salle North Catholic last Thursday night in a heated battle to earn the right play in the District Title game vs. #1 seed Riverdale who the Varks split with during the regular season. The team then traveled to Sherwood Saturday night for the title game. The Varks came out victorious in a back-and-forth battle. Cayton S. '23 hit a huge 3 pointer with 30 seconds left in regulation and the defense would stop Riverdale’s last efforts and take the game to OT. Big buckets from Morgan M. '24 and Hollis H. '23 were crucial to the upset and Ellie J. '25 would get the steal and ice the game at the free-throw line on an intentional foul by the Mavericks. The win secured a top 16 spot in the State Tournament and the Varks will travel to Willamina Saturday night to take on the #1 ranked Bulldogs in the first round of the state tournament. The game is set to tip-off at 5 pm. The winner of this game will advance to the elite 8 in Coos Bay.
The Ski Team is getting fired up and getting prepared for the State Tournament. The tournament will take place March 2nd-4th at Mount Hood. They will travel up together and spend time staying in Hood River as a team and racing on Mount Hood. The boys finished 3rd place overall and the girls finished 1st overall in an extremely talented Metro League and they have set themselves up to find success at State. We are so proud of their efforts on slopes this season but even more importantly their efforts with sportsmanship. Theo S. '25 was awarded one of only two sportsmanship awards given out in the Metro league where there are over 190 racers. Way to go Theo we are extremely proud of you for receiving this award. Good Luck to the Aardvarks at State!!!
Junior Captains and First Team All-League Players Hollis H. and Player of the Year Cayton S.
Boys basketball lost a tough road game in the semifinals of Thursday night's doubleheader at De La Salle. The boys would be sitting out the District Championship game this year. As the Varks just didn’t have an answer for the stifling defense and hot shooting of De La Salle North Catholic. It was great to see the strong support the boys showed to the varsity girls in the title game in Sherwood Saturday evening. The boys however put themselves in a great position during the regular season to be able to host a state playoff game Friday night February 25th. The #7 ranked Varks will take on #10 Brookings Harbor at 4 pm with the winner advancing to the elite 8 in Coos Bay. We hope to see the new athletic center rocking on Friday night.
- Friday (Feb. 25), the seventh-ranked boys play 10-seed Brookings-Harbor at OES at 4 p.m. PST.
- Saturday (Feb. 26), your 16-seed OES girls play Willamina at Willamina High School at 5 p.m. PST.
Important note: OSAA is requiring all playoff and championship games to only offer 100% digital ticketing. This means you will NOT be able to buy a ticket at the door and will need to purchase in advance.
All League players Connor M. '22 , Ronit M. '22, Henry G. '23, AJ M-L '23
2021 All-League and District Awards by Team
First Team All League
Cayton Smith '23 OES
Hollis Hale '23 OES
Player of the Year
Cayton Smith '23 OES
First Team All League
Connor Mansfield '22 OES
Second Team All League
Henry Gewecke '23 OES
Ronit Mehta '22 OES
AJ Matheson-Lieber '23 OES