Jalen Reminisces About His Time As An Eagle

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Jalen Reminisces About His Time As An Eagle

Jalen Knight, staff writer

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I am not the first one to write this story, and I doubt I will be the last. Two years ago, senior Rhys Atkinson finished his senior year looking back and writing an article about the most memorable moments from his past four years. Now I, Jalen Knight, will do the same. However, since my first two years were Rhys’s last two years, I will only talk about my junior and senior years, so I do not repeat information. Then in two, or four, years, I guess this ‘torch’ will be passed to another senior.

Throughout my last two 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 junior year the  baseball team was expected to do much worse than the previous years because they lost all their ‘star players’ and our coach, Kevin Christie. While other schools had started preseason practices back in September, Centennial didn’t start until December, when we finally found a new head coach Eric Fogle. In addition, my junior year we started the season off losing a few seniors, with one of them being Mount Hood Conference player of the year Dawson Day. Never was Centennial expected to be a good team that could hold their own, expected to win only a handful of games. However Centennial succeeded in proving the state wrong. In the absence of Christie, Dawson Day, and other graduated seniors, many of the 2018 CHS baseball team and coach Fogle stepped up to do more than fill their shoes. That year, Centennial made it to the play-in game where they battled and beat McNary for a spot in the playoffs. Sadly, however, CHS was knocked out in the first round after a devastating loss to South Medford.

My senior year Centennial was once again expected to do worse than last year since we had lost 9 seniors from last year. But once again, Centennial fought through and surpassed expectations. We were only expected to win only seven games, however we finish the preseason with six games alone, and by the end of the season we finished with an overall record of 15-11. Despite not making it into a spot for playoffs, we made history. For the first time in 15 years, we finished the season with a positive record. The 2019 team had many great players, with the one shining above them all being junior Kyle Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was our best hitter and pitcher, and was a first team pitcher and infielder.

My junior and senior year, the volleyball team still was not able to win a single league game. It was a hard two years for the team but I know they will be able get a win and break their 80 game losing streak.

My junior year the football team finished with an overall record of 2-7 during long-time coach Chris Knudsen’s final season. That record does not truly represent the football team that year as many times Centennial was successful in driving through their opponent’s defense into the 20 yard line, only to make an error and be unsuccessful in scoring. My senior year the football team did much better, with a 4-6 overall record, under Butch Self. Sadly, however, they lost in the first round to Sheldon High School.

My junior year the boys basketball team finished the season with an overall record of 5-19. They finished the season with one last win against the Reynolds Raiders, 54-34. The next year, the basketball team didn’t do as well, finishing the season with a record of 3-21. The 2018 basketball team had many great players, however they lost because they struggled to work together as one unit and lost many games to teams that had better teamwork than they did. In their final game, the Eagles lost to the Central Catholic Rams, 94-62. In many sports Centennial has managed to improve, and I am sure the basketball team will only get better, they will find that family that only gets stronger with time.

As for swimming, Jamie Stone made history multiple times during my freshman and sophomore years. She was the best swimmer in state, winning eight state championships. However, a new name stood out in the absence of Stone:  Amy Hua. In many different aspects Hua was a top swimmer in the conference. She was able to compete and hold her own against the top swimmers in state. Hua is a senior, like me, and when she graduates and moves own to fulfill her dreams, I am sure many swimmers will be able to take charge in the absence of both Jamie Stone and Amy Hua.

History was definitely made for the wrestling team my senior year. First, girl’s wrestling officially became a subdivision of the Olympics, meaning that many high schools introduced girls only wrestling team, whereas before the girls wrestled on the boy’s team. Second, Phillip Kue won three state championships over my junior and senior year. After winning his third championship, Kue then earned a full ride scholarship to Ohio State University, one of the best wrestling colleges in the nation I am told. On top of that the 2019 CHS wrestling team became tied with Sandy to be one of the two state champions. Ihe Gonzales is another 2019 senior that was a top state wrestler, finishing 6th in state.

The track team my junior and senior years could be argued as the best in CHS history. So many athletes those years broke numerous CHS and state records. Maddie McHone, for example, broke the 100 meter hurdle record with a time of 14.78 seconds at the 55th Annual Invitational  and followed that with three individual titles at the state meet. Ten pages could be written alone on the many tremendous track athletes and their infinite number of feats and achievements. The CHS girls track team is one of the best in state this year, and I do not see that fact changing anytime soon.

Athletics may not alway be appreciated at some schools as others, but regardless of the record sports bring the soul and energy to schools. Many dreams are created in sports, and many more opportunities await for those who dare to step up. As Rhys said before me, I recommend all those who have given thought to playing a sport to do it. You never know what can happen in sports. A first-year freshman can be a division one basketball player by their senior year. So I dare all future and current students to tryout for a sport. You may find your calling.

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