Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Four local soccer players received first-team accolades in boys and girls all-state voting by Oregon coaches for classes 6A, 5A and 4A.
On boys teams, North Medford senior midfielder Leo Alonzo and Phoenix junior defender Johnny Esqueda were chosen to the top units in 6A and 4A, respectively.
On the girls side, North Medford junior Amanda Hisey in 6A and Ashland junior midfielder Sadie Bailey in 5A were first-teamers.
Alonzo shared Southern Oregon Hybrid player-of-the-year honors with South Medford's Humberto Alvarez — a second-team all-state selection.
Alonzo was a steadying influence for the Black Tornado and scored five goals and had six assists. North Medford went undefeated in the regular season, winning the SOH title. It was 12-1-1 on the year, losing in the first round of the state playoffs.
Esqueda, who recorded 11 goals and 10 assists, was player of the year in the Skyline Conference and helped the Pirates advance to the state semifinals. They were 13-2-1 overall.
Hisey scored 25 goals through 15 games for the Black Tornado girls, surpassing the school single-season record of 24 set by Lu Crenshaw, to lead North Medford to the SOH championship and the second round of the state playoffs.
In addition to the Panthers' Alvarez, a senior forward, Phoenix junior forward Eli Espana was a second-team choice. Espana scored two goals and assisted on the game-winner in the final 12 minutes of Phoenix's come-from-behind state playoff victory over Newport.
Phoenix senior midfielder Jose Alegria received honorable mention.
In girls voting, three 5A players received honorable mention: Eagle Point senior Madison Nahss, Ashland senior Leah Wessler and Ashland freshman Kasydie Winner.
Class 4A players to get honorable mention were Hidden Valley seniors Raychel Clark and Morgan Hansen and North Valley junior Venessa D'Arpino.