Featured Competitor: Hooper, Golfer, Bowler Mark Eberhardt
For Mark Eberhardt, competing in the Special Olympics isn’t just a fun way to fill downtime, it’s a way of life. He spends the winter months fine-tuning his jumpshot, the spring and summer perfecting his golf swing, and the fall, chasing turkeys around the bowling alley.
It’s been Mark’s annual routine for years: practice, compete, rinse and repeat.
In 2015, he participated in the Rip City 3-on-3 tournament, Portland’s premier amateur hoops event, for the eighth time, taking home a silver medal. “We had a pretty good team, but we came up short,” said Mark. “Hopefully (we’ll win) this year.”
Ascending to the podium was a definite highlight in Mark’s competitive experience, but that experience goes far beyond just medals and trophies.
“Mark has grown a lot since he began participating in Special Olympics,” said his mom Leona Eberhardt. “He more readily accepts the losses with the wins. In the beginning, he would pout, but now he’s better about it. He talks about teamwork. He shares the ball.”
Mark’s Special Olympics journey, which began with a medal-winning performance in track and field in his first summer games, hasn’t been one he’s made alone. “Mark has a lifelong friend who started track and field with him many years ago, they both still participate,” said Leona.
She points out the importance of family support as well. “I make certain Mark gets to his practice and tournaments on time, almost all of which I’m able to stay and watch,” she said. “His family supports him 100 percent; he knows that.”
This year’s Rip City 3-on-3 Tournament is expecting roughly 2,000 players on almost 500 different teams, with competitive divisions spanning youth (boys and girls), high school (boys and girls), adult (men, women and co-ed teams), elite (men and women), the Special Olympics division and the Unified Sports division. It will be held in Portland’s Rose Quarter on July 30 and 31.
Anyone interested in volunteering or registering an athlete should visit the official tournament website. You can also “like” the Facebook event page, or follow @RipCity3on3 on Twitter and Instagram for more information.
“When I watch Mark play, I look to see if he’s playing as a team member,” said Leona. “Special Olympics teaches the athletes to be proud of who they are, to believe in themselves and to be fearless in trying their best together.”
Les Schwab Tire Centers is proud to sponsor the Rip City 3-on-3 Tournament and athletes like Mark again this year.
Grit and Focus Power Jesuit Defensive End
Being a high school athlete isn’t always easy. Juggling practice and games, schoolwork, family, friends and everything else takes focus; Jesuit High School senior defensive end David Bridges was more than up for the challenge this year.
Seniors Help Deliver Victory
Including David, Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Oregon had 37 seniors on the football team roster, each of whom was determined not to repeat last year’s 42-41 loss to Tigard High School in the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A football championship quarterfinals. Training hard in the summer and during the season, on the field and in the weight room, helped the Jesuit Crusaders win the sixth state football championship in the school’s history.
Balancing School, Sports and Family
On top of three AP classes, varsity sports and making plenty of time for his family, David has worked hard to make sure everything in his life gets the attention it deserves. When asked how he juggles it all, he said, “I wouldn’t say I have a secret, but I try to manage my time as much as I can. I definitely don’t get the recommended amount of sleep every night. I guess my secret is that whatever I am doing, I give my full attention to it. If I’m at football, I’m not trying to think about my homework or my test tomorrow. If I’m doing homework, I’m not checking Instagram or watching TV.”
That ability to focus served David and the rest of his team well all season: They entered the championship game against third seed West Linn with an undefeated 14-0 record. Nevertheless, late in the fourth quarter they were trailing 14-13. But a 2-yard touchdown with 1:13 left put them over the top, 21-14.
Victory is always sweet, but doubly so when it’s hard earned. David and the Crusaders did their school proud.
Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud sponsor of the Oregon School Activities Association.
Hard Work and Teamwork, on the Field and Off
Felix Songolo, sophomore captain of the varsity boys’ soccer team at De La Salle North Catholic High School (shown here sporting his Knights jersey), has been playing soccer since he was five. The game runs in his family: His father, mother, older brother, younger twin brothers, and even his youngest brother, now five years old himself, all play. Felix says his first memory from childhood is of watching his older brother play soccer when their family still lived in Africa.
Felix and his family moved to the U.S. in 2005, fleeing conflict in their home country of Zambia. Throughout his time in a refugee camp and afterward in adjusting to life in America, Felix found a sense of community in playing soccer. Now, after overcoming difficult times, he refuses to let anything stand in his way. Even with a busy practice schedule, he plans to maintain his 4.0 GPA, graduate as the class valedictorian and go on to play college soccer.
“My parents sacrificed to move to America, and because of that, I don’t take the opportunity to get an education and play soccer for granted,” said Felix. “If my desire for success is greater than my fear of failure, then I will succeed.”
Felix credits soccer with helping him deal with challenges because it’s a team sport.
“I started school in the first grade, and it was tough because I did not have many friends other than my family,” Felix said. “Playing soccer during recess gave me a voice with the other kids and helped me create friendships and a deeper love for the game.”
As an intern at Oregon Health & Science University through the Corporate Work Study Program, Felix also gains experience, friendships and preparation for his dream of becoming a neurologist. He credits his parents as the force that helps him perform to the best of his abilities, as he says, “continuing to push me through thick and thin, placing their lives on hold for me and my siblings.”
We admire Felix for his hard work and teamwork, two values we can get behind.
Big Wheels Plus Little Kids Equal Lots of Fun
For the past eight years, children of all ages in Southwest Washington have had a good reason to look forward to the third weekend in May, because that’s when — rain or shine — they get to go to Dozer Day.
Dozer Day is an annual, weekend-long fundraising event where the rides are heavy construction equipment. Kids get the real-world construction experience by hopping in the cab — with a professional operator at their sides — and drive bulldozers, excavators and other machines. About 20,000 guests attend Dozer Day every year.
Les Schwab Tire Centers has been a proud sponsor of the event for several years. The organization behind Dozer Day, the Nutter Family Foundation, shares Les Schwab’s values: giving children opportunities to grow and develop their talents, and the importance of community.
“Whenever we need anything, Les Schwab is there,” said Renee Nutter, the event organizer of the Nutter Family Foundation. “Like us, their basic attitude is, ‘We’re going to knock it out of the park for them.’”
Les Schwab’s signature contribution is the Tire Crawl, a large sandbox filled sand in which several giant tires the kind Les Schwab sells for tractors, earth movers and log loaders — are stacked up 5-feet high to give kids a place to climb while they wait their turn to drive one of the big trucks.
“The kids have a blast, and it gives me a good feeling to watch them,” said Brien Rose, manager of the Woodland store. “Plus I get to hear their parents’ Les Schwab stories, whether it’s about just enjoying the free popcorn in the store or appreciating the donations and fundraisers we contribute to.”
Les Schwab also hosted the pre-event Friday for disadvantaged or disabled children. This year, several hundred kids came from the Evergreen School District to explore the Tire Crawl and had their yellow construction helmets decorated with a Les Schwab sticker.
Like Les Schwab, the community does its part to make the weekend special for the kids. Members of the Southwest Washington Contractors Association volunteer as operators. Teens, ages 14 to 18, recruited from the key clubs and honor societies in local high schools, make up the other half of volunteers. They do everything from escorting the younger kids to and from the equipment to checking in with guests to make sure they’re having a good time.
The Nutter Family Foundation teams up with individuals and local businesses that also share a passion for fostering kids’ growth. For example, members of Portland YouthBuilders volunteer at the event. The nonprofit organization helps provide education, vocational training and leadership development service to low-income youth, is also a recipient of the foundation’s grants.
Renee’s goal when she started Dozer Day was to raise $1 million in 10 years, and according to Nutter, it looks like she’ll exceed that goal a year early, but the kids will always be her primary focus.
“I remember in the first year, a little boy was crying his eyes out, so I checked in with his parents to see if he’d been hurt or if someone was picking on him,” Renee said. “‘No,’ his parents told me. ‘He’s just mad because we have to leave.’”
Lucky for us, Dozer Day will be back next May, with another opportunity to put children in the driver’s seat of heavy construction equipment, get to pitch in to help their neighbors and to have fun.
Working with FFA Student Members to Fight Hunger
Every October, the student members of the FFA help collect as much food and funds as possible for the annual Drive Away Hunger Initiative (#DriveAwayHunger). Les Schwab stores across Oregon were able to take part in the campaign as a drop-off location for donations as well as a pick-up location for special collection bags.
This year’s initiative brought in 456,546 pounds of food. That’s enough to provide 342,420 meals to deserving families.
The Oregon Food Bank has seen a 40% increase in demand for emergency food boxes since 2008. That steady increase is why FFA student members work so hard every year to help collect food and funds. With their motto of “learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve,” the more than 6,500 Oregon FFA members are doing their part to end hunger. Their hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Les Schwab locations throughout Oregon look forward to helping again next year.
Hockey Fans Toss 11,000 Teddy Bears for Charity
The ice at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum was quickly covered by 11,000 teddy bears just after the first goal during the Winterhawks match on December 1, 2018. Every stuffed animal was carefully collected, driven off the ice, and donated to local charitable organizations to be distributed to kids throughout the region. Partnering with the Winterhawks to celebrate and collect the bears for this 20-year-long tradition is a thrill for everyone involved.
As one of the pioneers of the Teddy Bear Toss, the Winterhawks organization deserves a lot of credit for making this a popular event at hockey arenas around the country. Congratulations to the Winterhawks for another successful Teddy Bear Toss and their 8-2 win that night.
Coach Takes Teams to LSI — Twice
For Marshall Cho, traveling the world is just another way to train young basketball players how to shoot. The Lake Oswego High School coach began his career in 2004 in Central Harlem as a middle school teacher and coach at the Future Leaders Institute Charter School. Then he traveled to South Africa to coach in Mozambique for three years. Cho got his first Les Schwab Invitational experience during his tenure at DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, when DeMatha took the 2010 LSI title. Once in Oregon, Cho and his Lake Oswego team scored a spot in the 2015 Les Schwab Invitational.
Driving the Court
During the LSI, Oregon teams have the opportunity to play against top-level competition from around the country.
“We had to get through very tough games against Westview and Jesuit to get to the final,” Cho recalled. “In both games, we were down at times and I remember how hard it is for an out-of-town squad to play at the LSI with all the fans backing the Oregon teams.”
Cho and his team applied themselves well in 2015 in order to beat Southridge in their first-round matchup; the team had eliminated Lake Oswego in the state playoffs last year and returned with many of its main players.
Though Lake Oswego lost to DeMatha Catholic in the second round, Cho welcomed the challenge of playing four games in four nights.
‘Whether We Win or Lose’
“Coach (Mike) Jones and the DeMatha staff are like family to me and have had a big influence on my coaching philosophy,” said Cho. “I think daily about the lessons I learned there as my coaching staff and I lay down the foundations of the Lake Oswego High School program. The Les Schwab Invitational gives us the opportunity to drive home the lesson of focusing on the next play whether we win or lose, because there is no time to celebrate or sulk.”
Les Schwab Tire Centers thank all the players and coaches who made the 2015 LSI worth watching!
Community Joins Forces to Help Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
Les Schwab Tire Centers is honored to be a part of the Portland community’s response that transformed a senseless crime into a moment of gratitude.
During a winter snowstorm, members of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s Station 66, in Beaverton, went out to help a woman who had given birth in her home. When they returned to the station, someone had slashed the tires of five personal vehicles in the parking lot.
To help the firefighters raise money for the repairs, two community members set up GoFundMe pages. When Les Schwab learned from its media partner, 99.5 FM The Wolf, the first responders were the victims of vandalism, there was no doubt that the company wanted to jump in and support the effort!
Les Schwab believes in supporting organizations and activities that help those in need. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue does that every day.
“This contribution is a small token of our appreciation for all they do,” said Joe Rector, Les Schwab Portland area manager. “Our first responders are there for us when we need them most, and we were happy to be able to return the favor!”
Between the money raised through the GoFundMe pages and the support from Portland-area Les Schwab stores, all tires have been replaced and tow fees have been covered to make this situation right.
“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by all of the support we have gotten from the community,” Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Cassandra Ulven told The Oregonian.
RESPECT Program Pays Surprise Visit to Wilson High
In 2013, rookie guard Damian Lillard, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Les Schwab Tire Centers, tipped off a regional anti-bullying campaign that encourages everyone to stand up for the rights of others and to show respect for all people.
The RESPECT campaign began with a series of 30-second television and radio public service announcements featuring Lillard. The first showed more than 20 local youth from the Portland mentoring nonprofit Friends of the Children reciting the respect pledge and encouraging everyone to join by signing the “Respect, Pass it On” manifesto.
The PSAs directed viewers to the website nba.com/blazers/respect, where they could take the pledge digitally by using their Facebook account, or by printing and signing a paper copy of it. The campaign succeeded right out of the gate: It registered 1,800 pledges in the first 24 hours, and to date over 6,500 people from Portland, Oregon, and surrounding areas have committed to the pledge.
Lillard has been a Special Olympics Ambassador since he was 17. And he helped coach the Special Olympics Unified Sports Game during the 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, Texas. In an interview with the Deseret News in 2014, he discussed how close to his heart the campaign is.
“I’ve seen too many of the negative effects that bullying has on people, especially kids,” Lillard said. “Now that I’ve learned how many people look up to us as NBA players, I want to make the most of it by getting behind positive initiatives like anti-bullying.”
In the second year of the pledge, students submitted stories of how they were showing respect, and the Trail Blazers selected three of them to feature in the next PSA.
Every year, Damian visits a Portland area high school to discuss why respect is important and reward schools and organizations that are leading the respect movement. This year, the RESPECT program surprised Wilson High School Special Olympics Unified Sports participants and Playworks Junior Coaches with a visit from the BlazerDancers and Stunt Team as well as tickets to an upcoming game.
Les Schwab is pleased to partner with Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers to raise awareness about bullying in schools. Showing respect to everyone is important to creating thriving communities. Our employees have taken the RESPECT pledge, and we encourage others to join the campaign.
Rip City 3-on-3 Breaks Down Competitive Barriers
Research has shown that attitudes toward those different than us quickly break down through interaction; we better understand and empathize with others perceived as different than us by identifying shared passions.
It is with this research in mind that the 2016 Rip City 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Portland’s premier amateur hoops event, will feature a Unified Sports Division for the first time. The Unified Sports Division is just one of six competitive divisions, but it’s the only one that integrates athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same teams. The tournament will be held at Portland’s Rose Quarter Campus on July 30 and 31.
“This is a chance for our participants to show what they are capable of,” said Torre Chisholm, Chief Development Officer of Special Olympics Oregon. “It allows non-disabled players to develop an understanding of people with disabilities; it’s amazing for building commonality.”
The tournament also features a Special Olympics Division, as well as others devoted to youth (boys and girls), high school (boys and girls), adult (men, women and mixed teams) and elite (men and women).
This year marks the third year that Special Olympics Oregon has partnered with the Portland Trail Blazers and Les Schwab Tire Centers to put on the Rip City 3-on-3, which has raised more than $50,000 for the Special Olympics.
The funding helps support Special Olympics Oregon, which puts on 30 regional competitions across 15 sports throughout the year — that’s in addition to organizing practices across the state nearly every day.
Last year’s tournament featured 16 Special Olympics teams, but Chisholm is hopeful that the new Unified Sports Division will bring even more intellectually disabled athletes into the fold. “While we have 13,000 who currently participate in Special Olympics Oregon, there are as many as 100,000 statewide with intellectual disabilities.”
In addition to the scheduled games, the tournament will also feature plenty to keep noncompetitors entertained, including a slam dunk contest, an interactive games area and various vendor booths.
Les Schwab Tire Centers has been a proud partner of the Rip City 3-on-3 Tournament since 2014 and is proud to be the presenting partner this year. For more information on the tournament or to register as a competitor, please visit the official Rip City 3-on-3 website.
Rip City 3-on-3 Features New Format, Same Community Spirit and Fun
Les Schwab Tire Centers is once again sponsoring Portland’s premier amateur hoops event, the Rip City 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. The tournament, which benefits Special Olympics Oregon, will be held in the city’s Rose Quarter on July 30 and 31.
After a two-year hiatus, the popular event returned in 2014 with a roster that included roughly 1,300 participants on 325 teams. Building on that success, last year’s tournament grew to roughly 1,500 players on 389 teams, all with their eyes fixed on taking home a Division title.
For players, competitive divisions include youth (both boys and girls), high school (both boys and girls), adult (men, women and mixed teams), elite (men and women), the Special Olympics division and the Unified Sports division. All ages play on a standard 10-foot hoop.
This year, a brand-new format will begin with pool play on Saturday morning and culminate in single-elimination playoffs on Sunday. Pool play results will dictate playoff seeding, and every team is guaranteed a minimum of three games over the two days.
Thanks to the more than 300 volunteers who give 4,000 hours of their time each year, the event has managed to raise more than $50,000 for Special Olympics Oregon to date.
If you’re interested in getting involved, either as a player or volunteer, please visit the official tournament website to register. You can also “like” the Facebook event page, or follow @RipCity3on3 on Twitter and Instagram for more information. All volunteers will receive a Rip City 3-on-3 volunteer T-shirt.
Les Schwab has been a proud partner of the Rip City 3-on-3 Tournament since 2014 and are proud to be the presenting partner this year.
Setting Herself and Her Team up for Success
Rachel Thompson is a senior scholar-athlete and setter for the varsity volleyball team at Benson Polytechnic High School. As a setter, she has to take control and lead the team; the position is usually compared to that of a quarterback in football, requiring a person to communicate well and make decisions.
But Rachel isn’t just a team leader, she’s also a team player:
“Honestly, the best part of my day is coming to practice and playing with my girls,” Rachel said. “I love every single individual on my team. At this point we’re a family, and nothing could break that bond. Being able to see all of my sisters for those 2.5 hours of the day genuinely makes me happy and keeps me going. This team in is my blood. They may not know it, but they mean the world to me.”
The team’s grade point average is high, because nothing but the best is expected of them on and off of the court. Rachel says that playing on the volleyball team pushes her to rise above and makes her want to be the best player and person she can be.
In addition to prepping her homework and classwork ahead of time, so she can devote more of her attention to her sport when she competes, Rachel has one surprising strategy for getting her game on.
“When it comes to right before the game, I usually listen to music. My teammates don’t even know this, but my No. 1 pre-game song to listen to is the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. It’s so weird to listen to classical music to pump up, I know! But it helps calm me and keeps me focused on the game ahead.”
We can relate to a team that sets high standards for itself. Go, Techsters!
Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud sponsor of the Oregon School Activities Association.
Teammates Provide Competition and Camaraderie
People unfamiliar with cross-country may think it is strictly an individual sport, but a lot depends on teamwork. Though runners often race individually, the team scores points collectively, so it is important that everyone is running strong.
As a senior, Samantha Nizich ran cross-country at Central Catholic High School (Portland, Oregon) this year, and she is happy to encourage other potential runners, just as her role models encouraged her.
Motivation to Push Through
“It is not only at races that cross-country is a team sport but at practice too. It is sometimes hard to find motivation to get through workouts, but having teammates to push you makes it manageable and fun!”
Samantha credits Julia Green, her former “runner bud” and current Santa Clara University cross-country team member, with showing her how to be a successful team leader and determined runner, as well as a dedicated student.
“I have been lucky enough to have the best role model show me the way for my first three years of high school. Julia was always the one inviting me to join her on long runs or yelling at me to stick with her during a hard workout. Her drive has made me want to achieve more and be the best I can possibly be.”
This camaraderie extends to the larger team too. Her teammates are her favorite people and best friends, and there is no separation based on age or even skill.
Challenge Yourself and Your Team
After her experience at CCHS, she has some clear advice for beginners.
“Put on those Nikes and get goin’! My advice for new runners is to not be afraid to challenge yourself and others on the team by running up with them. Holding back not only hurts you and your times, but it does not force the experienced runners to fight for their spot. Also, try different race strategies. Get out faster one race and start conservative the next; this is the only way to figure out what works best for you.”
Although sports take up time, Samantha says she wouldn’t trade running for sleep, because she feels more focused after a good workout and even has time to think of essay topics for schoolwork while running! Aiming high pays off in more ways than one.
Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud sponsor of the Oregon School Activities Association.
Workshops at World of Speed Let Women Practice Car Care Hands-on
A lot of women customers have told Les Schwab Tire Centers they want to learn more about how to take care of their cars, so we offered three basic car care workshops for women this spring. We teamed up with World of Speed, an educational and interactive motorsports museum in Wilsonville, Ore., to host these events. The sessions were hosted by Les Schwab managers: Joe Rector, Jerry Lee, Kevin Leasure, Dorian Moore, Howard Magden, Gary Wanderscheid and Cam Durrell.
The World of Speed features historic racecars, boats and motorcycles that tell the story of motorsports culture. Through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, it offers visitors a behind-the-scenes view of the racing world; including drag racing, road racing, land speed racing, motorcycle racing, open wheel, NASCAR and hydroplanes.
The museum hosted an educational clinic for women to practice basic car care skills — some for the first time — and get answers to their questions. Even though the workshops were geared toward women, some participants also brought along the men in their lives.
At the session hosted by Dorian Moore and Kevin Leasure, a store vehicle served as the women’s guinea pig. Kevin and Dorian demonstrated how to change a spare tire and then had their students practice raising and lowering the car with the jack from the trunk. When it came time to remove the lug nuts with the lug wrench, Kevin and Dorian were invaluable references on how to get the easiest mechanical advantage out of the equipment.
The managers reassured the attendees of one crucial point: That if their tire went flat in an isolated area where there was no phone service, it is OK to “just drive on it.” As Kevin pointed out, “We can replace the tire or the rim, but not you!”
A total of 36 students attended the workshops. The participants came away with greater confidence and knowledge, as well as a complimentary tire pressure gauge and a penny to measure tread depth.
“We’ve had great feedback, so far, from the workshops,” said Lewis Ferguson, World of Speed’s director of education. “Not only is World of Speed proud to offer this program with Les Schwab, we’ve heard from participants that the class is very informative and they benefit from the hands-on demonstrations.”
World of Speed and Les Schwab Tire Centers plans to host a father-daughter car care course as another way to teach car care basics in a casual, comfortable environment.
Les Schwab Invitational: 20 years of Great Basketball
In December, the Les Schwab Invitational basketball tournament celebrated its 20th anniversary. According to a USA Today ranking based on talent level and attendance, the LSI is the No. 2 basketball tournament in the United States. John McCallum, president of Prime Time Sports, the tournament’s organizer, has been the director of the event since its inception and is one of its biggest champions.
“For a tournament to last that long and keep getting stronger says a lot about the Oregon fans who come out and appreciate grassroots basketball,” said McCallum.
Two legendary high school coaches, Barry Adams and Nick Robertson, began dreaming of what became the LSI in the 1990s. At that time, many of Oregon’s best high school boys’ basketball teams were already traveling out of state to play in preseason holiday tournaments. Although the players got to pit themselves against other high-caliber teams, most fans couldn’t travel to root for them.
In 1996, with approval from the Oregon School Activities Association and financial assistance from local sponsors, the Oregon Holiday Invitational was born. In 2000, the tournament was renamed to recognize Les Schwab Tire Centers’ continued support.
“Les Schwab has been a tremendous partner and was the perfect fit for lead sponsorship, given the company’s OSAA partnership, commitment to high school sports and dedication to making Oregon communities stronger,” McCallum said.
The LSI benefits schools and students beyond the teams competing because they receive free tournament passes worth $70. The kids can sell the passes and use the money to pay for athletic gear. In addition, clubs such as band and choir at Liberty High School, the home venue, run all concessions for the event and keep the money they earn.
For the 20th anniversary, the concourse at Liberty was full of photos of the players, some of whom have become NBA all-stars. Not surprisingly, McCallum’s favorite memories from his 20 years as director includes two of them: Kevin Love, who played for the Lake Oswego Lakers (and plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers); and Kyle Singler, who played for the South Medford Panthers (and plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder).
The two rivals and their teams met during the LSI on Dec. 29, 2006, in a rematch of their 2006 Oregon State Championship final. The defending state champion Lake Oswego Lakers battled the South Medford Panthers in front of the biggest crowd ever assembled at Liberty High School, a game televised by ESPN. The Panthers evened the score with the Lakers with their 71-63 victory.
The next day, in the final match against No. 1 Oak Hill Academy from Virginia, Kyle Singler brought a raucous crowd to its feet when he spun baseline on his defender and nailed a ferocious dunk to bring the game within 7 points, with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Though Oak Hill prevailed in the end, the match showed the LSI at its finest: Oregon high school basketball players putting themselves on the line against the best teams in the country and Oregon supporters behind them all the way.
Moving From the Sidelines to the Stands
In five years of coaching the Forest Grove boys soccer team, Coach Angelo Simonetti led his Vikings to a 40-30-11 record, four playoff appearances and the state quarterfinals in 2012. He hung up his whistle at the end of last season after his team had yet again qualified for the Class 6A playoffs. But he’s not leaving Forest Grove student-athletes in the lurch: He just needed more time to cheer his own three children on as they compete.
Simonetti has a 10-year-old son who plays football and basketball, a 12-year-old daughter whom he is readying for high school volleyball in two years, and an older son who as captain of the Tigard High School soccer team led his squad, the Tigers, to the state playoffs his senior year. In fact, the Vikings beat the Tigers narrowly, 3-2, in what turned out to be the final season for both the father and son.
But as the coach told The Oregonian last fall, “I’m going to be there and watch games and always cheer for the kids. Forest Grove is my family. You don’t have an ex-family.”
Vikings athletic director Doug Thompson was clear about his requirements for Simonetti’s replacement.
“I really need the next coach to understand that it’s not just about winning soccer games, it’s about developing kids and making sure they graduate and making sure they’re making a positive contribution in the community. We really had a change during his tenure with that,” said Thompson.
The new coach will have big shoes to fill. Thanks for setting the pace, Coach Simonetti, as a role model and a fan!
Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud sponsor of the Oregon School Activities Association.