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15 iconic moments from 2022-23 Oregon high school sports year

We look back at some of the unforgettable moments of the recently concluded school year.

By René Ferrán | Photo by Naji Saker 

What a year in Oregon high school sports! 

It started with the promise of a first back-to-back-to-back big-school football state champion since the mid-1950s. It ended with a flourish — a bevy of state track records, a wild ending to the 6A softball final, and the first repeat big-school baseball champion since the Nixon Administration.

This week, we’ve celebrated the best athletes in soccer, volleyball, football, basketball, softball and baseball. Now, as we catch our breath and ready for the 2023-24 seasons, we look back at some of the iconic moments of the recently concluded school year.

15. Addison Kleinke breaks the girls pole vault state record (May 6, 2023)

It took almost two months into her freshman season for Kleinke, a Willamette Connections Academy student competing for Churchill, to clear 13 feet for the first time as a high schooler, going over 13-1 far away from the spotlight at the Grants Pass Rotary meet. She won an OSAA 5A title with the Lancers and broke the national freshman record by clearing 13-7½ at the USATF Oregon High School Invitational at Putnam High School in Milwaukie on June 10.

14. Will Semler wins his second OSAA 6A boys singles title (May 20, 2023)

The Lincoln junior successfully defended his championship with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Beaverton’s Tannor Binder in a rematch of their 2022 final. Remember Semler’s name — the five-star recruit is ranked No. 2 in the Northwest’s class of 2024 and recently finished second at the Pacific Northwest Junior Sectionals to Purdue signee Soham Purohit of Kirkland, Wash. 

13. Monsoon plagues Round 1 of OSAA football playoffs (Nov. 4, 2022) 

Few had seen anything like the deluge that hit during the first round of the state playoffs. “Even as a Coastie, I’ve never been on the field for anything as nuts as it was tonight,” Tillamook coach Kye Johnson said of that night.

12. West Linn’s Drake Gabel outduels likely first-round MLB pick in 6A baseball final (June 3, 2023)

The scouts were there for Jesuit’s Noble Meyer, the SBLive Oregon pitcher of the year who should hear his name called among the first 15 picks of the upcoming baseball draft — and he delivered, allowing just two hits (both in the first inning) and striking out 14 in six innings. But it was Gabel, a senior lefty, who came out on top in a 2-0 pitchers duel, scattering six hits to lift the Lions to a second consecutive state title.

11. Rocco McClave’s record night under center for Crescent Valley (Oct. 27, 2022)

The Raiders junior broke state records for passing yards (654) and touchdowns (10) in a game, but it still wasn’t enough to get the 1-8 team a victory in its season finale, as Dallas pulled out a 79-71 victory. The teams combined to break the record for combined points in a game, and the Dragons ended up advancing to the 5A state playoffs thanks to their wild win. “Unfortunately, we lost, but I think it ended for us on a good note, showing how good we really are,” McClave said.

10. Tyrone Gorze sets the course for spectacular track season with record run at cross country state meet (Nov. 5, 2022)

The Crater senior built off a fabulous junior season that included a national U-20 title in the 5,000 meters, starting by breaking the Lane Community College course record in repeating as OSAA 5A state champion. The University of Washington signee would go on to break the national indoor 5K record, move to No. 2 on the all-time state list in repeating his 3,000 title, and pass Steve Prefontaine as the fastest high school 2-miler in state history

9. Jordan Fisher caps amazing season with career-best 417 rushing yards in Westview’s Columbia Cup victory (Nov. 25, 2022)

The Wildcats senior kicked off the season with a 237-yard performance against Clackamas — one of nine 200-plus-yard games among the 13 he played — and finished it by rushing for a career-high 417 yards in a 51-22 victory over North Salem in the inaugural OSAA Columbia Cup. The UC Davis signee had a chance to become the fourth running back in state history to rush for 3,000 yards but chose instead to allow injured teammate Irason Kekaualua to take the final snap.

8. Sheldon softball wins 6A state title in bizarre fashion (June 3, 2023)

The Irish had not put a runner on base against Oregon City’s Lily Riley through six innings of the OSAA 6A title game, but in the bottom of the seventh, Brooke Peterson was hit by a pitch. An error on a sacrifice bunt turned into utter chaos, with Peterson initially called out at home trying to score on the play — the front end of an apparent inning-ending double play that would have sent the final to extra innings. Peterson was obstructed rounding third base, however, and after a conference, the umpires awarded her home, giving Sheldon the title — shades of the Cardinals’ Game 3 victory over the Red Sox in the 2013 World Series.

7. Destiny Rodriguez savors moment of becoming four-time wrestling state champion (Feb. 26, 2023)

Four more Oregon high schoolers joined the four-time state champion club during a snowy weekend in Portland, but none did so in as dominant fashion as Rodriguez, the West Linn senior who completed an undefeated career in a Lions singlet with a 47-second pin of Hood River Valley’s Lauraine Smith in the OSAA 6A/5A girls 155-pound final. She will continue her career at women’s wrestling powerhouse McKendree University

6. Sophia Beckmon shatters state long jump record, moves to No. 2 on all-time national list (April 28, 2023)

The Oregon City senior arrived at the Jesuit Twilight Relays fresh off breaking her state record six days earlier at the Eason Invite, where she jumped 21 feet, 4½ inches. Buoyed with confidence and surging down the east runway, Beckmon splashed into the sand, looked back and immediately knew she’d done something special. Once a meet official certified the mark, she could erupt with joy — it was a 22-4 jump that was one inch off the national record set by Kate Hall of Casco, Maine, in 2015.

5. Jazzy Davidson, Clackamas girls basketball program arrive with first OSAA state title (March 11, 2023)

Davidson, the No. 2 recruit in the latest ESPN HoopGurlz class of 2025 rankings, is the headliner, but the Cavaliers showed off their team depth in defeating South Medford 56-46 in the OSAA 6A final to win the program’s first state championship. Senior Rhyan Mogel, playing on her future home court after returning from a torn ACL as a junior, finished with 18 points and five rebounds to lead Clackamas to victory.

4. West Linn football team avenges loss to Sheldon to win OSAA 6A state title (Nov. 25, 2022)

In early September, Sheldon traveled up I-5 and handed West Linn a 31-20 defeat on the Lions’ home turf. Eleven weeks later, the teams met again — this time at Hillsboro Stadium, with the OSAA 6A state championship on the line. This time, the Lions left little doubt who was king of the gridiron, jumping out to a 20-0 halftime lead and defeating the Irish 23-14 for the program’s second state title.

3. Lake Oswego’s Mia Brahe-Pedersen scorches Hayward Field in 11 seconds flat (May 27, 2023)

The Lakers junior already owned the state records in the 100 and 200 meters when she arrived at the iconic track and field stadium in Eugene. She added another legendary moment to its lore when she won her third 6A state title with the then-third-fastest 100 time ever (Shawnti Jackson of North Carolina later broke the national 100 record, dropping Brahe-Pedersen to No. 4 all-time), then ran the third leg on the Lakers’ state-record 4x400 relay to help them win a share of the team title.

2. Tualatin boys basketball repeats as state champion by downing West Linn behemoth (March 11, 2023)

Few people inside Chiles Center could believe it. Eight minutes were completed in the OSAA 6A boys basketball state final, and a West Linn team that a night earlier scored a then-record 89 points in a semifinal victory didn’t convert a single field goal against Three Rivers rival and defending champion Tualatin. The Timberwolves led 12-1 after one quarter and went on to successfully defend their title with a 60-47 victory.

1. West Linn wins Les Schwab Invitational title behind otherworldly performance by Jackson Shelstad (Dec. 30, 2022)

The future Oregon Duck had an incredible week at the prestigious holiday basketball tournament, capping his MVP week with 30 points and eight rebounds as the Lions took down then-national No. 1 Duncanville, Texas, 62-50 to become the first in-state LSI champion since 2012. Shelstad, the SBLive Oregon player of the year, finished the season as a second-team SBLive All-American and Oregon’s seventh participant at the Nike Hoop Summit