It happened rather unceremoniously, but there was a changing of the guard last Monday and Tuesday for one of the state’s biggest high...
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BUTTE FALLS — Skylar Harrington was told that other coaches at Butte Falls High were raving about a girl named Mariah.
"She sparks the team and tries to get everyone going," softball coach Roni Burg said of her.
"She is a leader," basketball coach Larry Wetjen said of her. "She's always positive and works hard."
So what say you of Mariah, Mr. Harrington?
"More of the same," the volleyball coach says. "She's a wonderful athlete."
Perhaps Harrington was saying "Moore" of the same, as in Mariah Moore.
She's become an indelible sports figure in the land of the Loggers.
The 17-year-old senior has thrived in every sport that she's played in. In volleyball? She was valuable. In basketball? She was beneficial. In softball? She's been a standout.
"I have been involved with this program since 1994 as an assistant coach, and for me, she is the best pitcher we've had since I started coaching," Burg says of her star.
Now Moore's high school career is nearing its remarkable end. The valedictorian will graduate in early June and plans to attend Oregon Tech, where she intends to study diagnostic medical sonography and possibly play softball.
Looking even further ahead, Moore said she wants to be an ultrasound technician.
Looking back, it's clear to see that she's made an ultra impact at her school.
"I think it's been a humbling experience," a gracious Moore says.
In softball, the right-handed ace owned a 9-6 record with 165 strikeouts and a 1.50 earned run average before Thursday's league playoff game against Prospect. She's batting .440.
"She loves the game of softball," Burg says of Moore. "She is a really intense player and she remains serious all the time. She loves to win."
The Loggers, however, dropped a 3-2 decision to the Cougars Thursday, ending Butte Falls' season and Moore's playing career. In defeat, Moore was productive, going the distance on the mound and providing an RBI single.
Last year, Moore was named the District 4 player of the year after finishing with a 16-3 record, 149 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.42. Moore led the team in batting (.484) and posted an .813 slugging percentage.
"Mariah throws the ball with decent speed but has really good accuracy with her strikeouts," Burg adds. "I think she has good focus on the mound. If she is behind in the count, she is still focused. She can come through in any situation."
Moore's commitment to her teammates was on full display this fall during volleyball season, when she switched from setter to outside hitter to help boost the young team's offense.
"I looked at her before her senior year and told her, 'You are a great setter and we love having you in the setting position, but if you are setting the ball entirely we will have nobody putting the ball away,'" Harrington recalls. "I told her we have to make a big adjustment. Mariah was not only open to it, but she did very well."
How well? She was named to the league first team.
"She led us in serve receive and kills and pretty much every stat," he says.
Moore played basketball at Butte Falls her freshman, sophomore and junior years, but competed with a club volleyball team this past winter. During those seasons, she started at forward or center and never missed a game. Moore averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in 2010-11, was a co-captain and claimed a spot on the first-team all-league team.
During her sophomore campaign, she chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds a game and poured in a career-high 27 points against Paisley.
Wetjen praised Moore's productivity and toughness.
"She is very competitive," Wetjen says of Moore. "She is a great student and a great kid and she's just a competitor, a leader who is always positive and works hard."
Moore doesn't seem to accept any less than a top effort, from herself and others.
"At a school our size, people sometimes come out for sports just to come out," says Moore, whose father Bennie Moore and mother Rebecca Moore both graduated from Butte Falls. "I really want to win. It's something inside me that wants to push myself harder and harder every practice and every game. I want to make my team better."
And off the court?
"She's a stabilizer in the locker room and on the bus," Wetjen adds. "Just a real strong personality type. We missed her."
When she says her final goodbye to Butte Falls, it seems everyone here will wish for just a little Moore.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org