Fall Sports Preview: 4A Oregon West Conference

Each week, I will be previewing the soccer, cross country, and volleyball programs in each conference from every classification before fall sports are scheduled to start at the end of August, with a goal of getting through all of them before the start of the season. Today, I continue with the Oregon West Conference in 4A…

Credit: Sweet Home Volleyball

Volleyball

Muscle certainly isn’t short in this wild conference, as the top two teams: Sisters and Sweet Home, both return majority of their core roster in 2020 as they battle it out for the conference crown. Sweet Home returns the trying trio in Bailee Hartsook, Graci Zanona, and Savannah Hutchins, all of whom makeup a massive senior class for the Huskies this season. Sisters loses Sam Silva, but return Ellie Rush and Sophia Silva to the roster, alongside five other seniors in a veteran roster.

With Philomath and Stayton shedding a lot of talent from last year, looking for the Huskies and Outlaws to be the clear favorites in the conference, with an edge going to Sweet Home with their studded senior class anchored by Player of the Year Bailee Hartsook. Sisters will be competitive and tough, as they have a seasoned roster with plenty of experience to match the experience presented by the Huskies. In the Wild Wild West, anything is possible and that’s how best to describe the Oregon West Conference for 2020.

Credit: Eric Watkins

Soccer

2019 was the year Woodburn Girls Soccer stunned the entire state, going from the seven seed in the state playoffs to state champion, punching out many top teams on their way to the crown as queens of 4A Girls Soccer. In 2020, the Lady Bulldogs are primed for a repeat season, reloading on a roster that does lose Carla Zamora and Bailey Castro, but return Yahaira Rodriguez, Alyssa Padilla, and Jessica Barron among others. Their toughest competition appears to be Philomath, who lost only two seniors while reloading with a massive senior class that has much experience and talent.

All in all, it is the Wild, Wild West Conference, so anything is possible. However, Woodburn appears to be and should be considered the favorite in the Oregon West, in addition to the favorite to repeat their state title run from 2019. However, with Philomath and Stayton sitting in the shadows, the Lady Bulldogs will have to work hard to repeat their 2019 successes in the new decade.

Credit: Stayton Cross Country

Cross Country

Oregon West has some of the finest athletes in the state every year, which extends to cross country, where the conference boasts a state champion runner, a third place team state finisher, and other credentials. As a freshman, Ella Thorsett stunned all of 4A with a state championship performance, defeating the runner-up by 22 seconds and bringing an individual title to Sisters High School. In a team effort, Philomath finished third and Stayton took fifth. The Lady Warriors were anchored by Hannah Hernandez and Ingrid Hellesto. Stayton got strong showings from Hope Bridge and Hailey Notman, who both return for another season with the Eagles.

While Thorsett might be the individual to chase in the Oregon West and in 4A, Stayton is the team to beat in 2020 from the Oregon West. With the return of Hope Bridge and Hailey Notman, along with Skyla Anderson, Emma Frazeur, and Sarah Wolf, with Eagles have a seasoned, strong roster to take with them to the top of the Oregon West Conference, along with their competition for the 4A state title this year.

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