Rhys Takes A Look At 4 Years Of Eagle Sports


S Vawter

Rhys Atkinson.

Throughout my four memorable high school years, our sports teams had their amazing seasons, their good seasons, and their “let’s try to make a play-in game” seasons. Here’s a look at the highlights of each sport, and their most mind-boggling moments.          

My freshmen year wasn’t filled with excitement, but our football team was the best public school in the Mount Hood Conference (Central Catholic was the best school in the MHC though). While losing their first three games of the season, the Eagles bounced back during league play winning five games in a row, with a very close nail-biter against Barlow, in which the Eagles led 29-28 with two seconds on the clock. The game concluded with a missed field goal from Barlow’s Kicker, Zach Standish.

My sophomore year the football team had an off year in which they only had three wins. This easily could have been five wins, but a last minute effort on opening night against the Beaverton Beavers turned out too short. Then, with a nail-biting ending, Junior, Annouson Keobounnam missed a 25 yard field goal. Keobounnam was not their starting kicker though. The Thursday before the game their starting kicker, Fernando Uribe quit. Who knew they would’ve needed him that night?

Junior and senior year the team had great seasons in which my junior year the team lost to Tigard in the first round of the playoffs at home 34-22. My senior year the team had a season that will be remembered for years to come. They finished third in the conference, but beat the Rams of Central Catholic 46-36, ending the Ram’s 43 league-game winning streak. They ended their season at Clackamas in the second round of the playoffs though, losing 63-42.

The volleyball team did not win a league game during my years at Centennial. As I have seen many of them play with their club teams, their skill level was not the reason they were losing. The fact that the team had no chemistry, and was never united as one was the base of their problems on the court. People underestimate the power of off-court relationships with your teammates.

For basketball I personally feel honored to be coached and mentored by Osa Esene. He took over as the head coach my sophomore year, and he turned Centennial into a winning program by the time it was my senior year. The most memorable moment I spent with the basketball team was our week in San Diego. We won the tournament, and made memories with each other we will never forget. To end our season we lost to Sprague High School in triple overtime.

On the other hand, Girls Basketball started strong my freshmen year, but fell off in my junior and senior year. Under Head Coach, Jeff Stanek (freshmen and sophomore year), the team had a great season sophomore year, in which they won nine games in a row to open up the season. That season they battled hard against the number five ranked team, Oregon City, in which they led 51-49 with 2 seconds left, but then hearts were shattered when Junior Point Guard Cierra Walker who now plays basketball for Vanderbilt, hit a three point buzzer beater.

While Jeff Stanek retired after this season, the team was then taken over by Tom West. West tried hard to turn around their 3-19 season during his first year, but was unsuccessful in which the team only won two more games than that his second season as head coach. Jeff Stanek will be coming out of retirement next season to take over as the Girls Varsity Head Coach once again.

As far as swimming goes, I’m pretty positive on the fact that everyone in the Centennial District knows about Jamie Stone and her outstanding accomplishments. Jamie Stone after her senior year was known as the best female swimmer in the state of Oregon of all time. She won eight state championships in a row, which is an unbeatable record because that is the most someone could possibly win. As for the rest of the swim team, the whole program went from 29 athletes, to 38 my junior year, and is looking to increase those numbers by each year. Another great swimmer for Centennial was Tim Ly, who placed 4th in the state in the 100 yard butterfly, and 6th in the 100 yard back stroke.

Cheerleading was turned into an outstanding program during the four years that I was here. During my freshmen year the competition team was still a new team to the organization, but the following year they were honored to receive 5th in Large All Girl. Then, in my junior year they placed 4th in the state for Large Co Ed, and went on to Anaheim for nationals, and placed 10th in the nation. During my senior year they placed 5th in Large Co Ed. The team even has the honor to say that they’ve coached four Division-1 athletes, Kelsey  Funkhouser – Portland State University, Alyssa Black –  Portland State University, Deleena Saechao – Oregon State University, Ryan Payne – Oregon State University.

The dance team has made remarkable improvements to their squad over the past four years, and it was easy to spot the differences. Junior year, juniors, Brittney Pioquinto, and Cheng Lee tried out for dance for their first time ever, and immediately made tremendous improvements to the team. You could easily tell during halftime shows that the team had been practicing hard, and that Head Coach Anne Ellett was an effective coach.

The wrestling team has been recognized over the years for their hard work at Centennial in which my freshmen year, sMichael McGuire set the bar at Centennial when he tore his ACL, and came out victorious in the state championship match. After this season there was a noticeable difference in the team’s work ethic, and during my senior year, sophomore, Phillip Kue won his first state Championship, while many others placed at the state meet.

Baseball at Centennial was probably one of the best experiences of my life even though we weren’t a very successful team until my senior year. My sophomore year we had the chance to go to Arizona to compete with some of the best baseball programs in the nation. That turned out to be unsuccessful in which we lost every preseason game, and only won four league games. However, during my senior year we went down to Arizona once again, and won one of the games there which happened to be our only preseason win. Later on that season we bounced back during league earning 3rd place honors with a record of 11-6. We beat Tigard in the playoffs 1-0 with Dawson Day throwing a whole nine innings. Two days later we were beating Gresham 2-1 in the 6th inning, but they came back in the 6th and beat us 4-2. Head Coach Kevin Christie went on to win the Coach of the Year award in the Mount Hood Conference, and Dawson Day received the Player of the Year award in the Mount Hood Conference.

As far as softball goes, the team had a stellar year during sophomore year in which they placed second in conference, only one game behind Clackamas for the first place spot. They went on to lose to Southridge in the first round of the playoffs. The next year the team was not as successful, but they achieved something that all coaches wish to achieve in the long run. Head Coach, Steve Baker won his 500th career win that season, and he is still going strong in the upcoming seasons to raise the bar to 600. As for my senior year, the team lacked a lot of chemistry and leadership. The best thing that happened during this season though was beating Clackamas, one of the best teams in the conference. That was their first league win, and it probably made up for all the losses that they had accumulated over the course of the season. Senior Jill Uyeda ended her high school softball career with the most career hits, and most runs scored for Centennial.

The tennis team was never that recognizable until my senior year when the girls tennis coach, Ben Petersen was honored as the Coach of the Year, and the boys tennis program was recognized for one of the best team GPAs in the state. Over the four years that I was here, the tennis program grew much larger, and turned into a winning program. It was remarkable how much that athletes like, Frankie Moua, Jordan Peacock, Madison Scully, and Brittney Pioquinto turned their tennis game into something to look out for over the course of four years. It was easy to identify the players that were working hard in the off season because they showed huge improvements to their game.

The track team turned into very impressive program by the time it was my senior year. It felt like during the previous three years their wasn’t as many stand out athletes, but their still was a few like Thomas Morrell III. Senior year many athletes placed at the state meet, including Julia Colling, receiving 2nd place for pole vault, and the whole girls program got 6th place in the state, setting a high bar for the future. As for the boys, they turned a freshmen into a star at Centennial. Jimmy Barton broke the 100 meter Centennial freshman record during his first race for Centennial, and eventually made it to the finals at the state meet in the end of the season. If that doesn’t tell you much about Jimmy, then make sure you are reading the papers in years to come because I’m sure he will be all over them in the future.

Being an athlete at Centennial is probably one of the most amazing things that could ever happen to a high school student. Every program is extremely supportive of each other (especially football because who doesn’t love football?), and the friendships you make are the friendships that you will remember for the rest of your life. If you are a student at Centennial and are not involved in a sport, make sure to get yourself out there because you will regret it if you don’t.