Leave the past in the past

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By: Grant Lucas
The Bulletin

Ron Kidder remembers that day well — a chilly, mid-November morning made even cooler by a Gatorade bath. As the Summit coach filed in line, awaiting the presentation of the Class 5A boys soccer state championship trophy to his Storm, he set his attention on the grandstands of Hillsboro Stadium. He soaked in that moment, that elation, that feeling that had eluded him and the Storm for so long — the overwhelming, almost bewildering sensation of being state champs.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Boy, it took a long time to get here. I’m glad we got it done the first time around.’” Kidder recalls. “It takes so much to get to that point. … And then to make it to the finals and not know whether or not you’re going to have that opportunity again.”

Rational logic provided by the longtime Storm coach. After all, since Kidder’s first season in 2006, Summit had advanced to the state playoffs in five of his first seven seasons, earning bids to the semifinals in 2011 and 2012, only to be denied further advancement by one-goal losses.

Eight seasons it took Kidder and the Storm to not just earn a bid to the boys soccer state final but take home that coveted championship hardware. Reaching the top rung of the state ladder in any sport is undeniably a challenge. And Summit boys soccer, which made the rigorous journey from start-up program (in 2001) to state champ, can attest to that.

That is why last fall, Kidder agrees, seems to be something of an anomaly — setting quite an improbable standard for Central Oregon schools and feeding their supporters with silver spoons.

The High Desert was spoiled last fall. Period. To refresh: Summit became the first school to sweep the boys and girls state soccer finals since the OSAA expanded to six classifications in 2006. Crook County nabbed its eighth straight volleyball championship (the longest streak in OSAA volleyball history). Sisters claimed its first boys soccer state title, and Ridgeview, in just its second year of existence, won it all in football.

Think about it: In the four OSAA fall team sports that involve playoffs (football, volleyball, boys and girls soccer), five area programs advanced to five state finals and won five state championship.s To boot, and for the third straight year, Summit swept the boys and girls cross-country team titles, giving Central Oregon seven state champs — the most ever in one fall season for the region.

Even Rosie Honl, the Cowgirls’ longtime volleyball coach, will tell you how difficult it is to win even ONE title. Especially that first one — like three Central Oregon schools did last fall.

“It is tough,” says Honl, who began coaching at Crook County in 1996 — 10 years before her Cowgirls won their first state championship. “It takes a special group of kids to believe in it and work at it mentally. … Getting a group to buy into it, to believe in it, and getting that first one is the toughest.”

Honl continues, saying how Central Oregon has developed a culture of winning. Perhaps that is so. But seven state titles in one season? Or how about Mountain View sweeping the runner-up spots in boys and girls cross-country, the first time ever Central Oregon claimed the top two places in both the boys and girls team competitions?

And that includes only the OSAA sports. Mountain View added a championship in boys water polo. The Summit girls and boys each reached water polo state finals.

Final tally: eight team state champions, four runners-up … and one lofty precedent that spoiled Central Oregon.

Kidder likes to tell his players that the past is in the past, to move forward, to focus on the present and maintain a championship-caliber hunger.

Perhaps Central Oregon should follow that advice.

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