When he was putting together his initial football staff at North Medford High, Mike Mitchell put a particularly different spin on his...
On the most basic level, it was just a moment to get dressed up for a big event.
North Medford senior Maryssa Becker may be an outstanding athlete but she's also an 18-year-old girl looking for any chance to be just that.
Sunday offered such an opportunity — plus much more — for Becker as an attendee at the Oregon Sports Awards at the Nike World Headquarters.
"It was kinda nice to get to put on heels and wear a dress for once and go to a fancy event for a few hours," Becker said Monday. "It was cool to kinda see everyone dressed up, with guys in their suits and all that."
The cool factor jumped up that much more during the event when Becker was named the Prep Softball Player of the Year for the Oregon Sports Awards, which included ESPN's Neil Everett as the master of ceremonies. Last spring, Becker posted a 26-0 pitching record and 0.43 ERA with 313 strikeouts in 178 innings to help North Medford claim its sixth state title in program history.
"It was awesome," Becker said of her first OSA experience. "It was a great, great show. It was short and to the point but pretty entertaining and we had a really good time."
"There were some really motivational speakers and people that won awards that have been in the sports industry for a really long time," she added, "and it was pretty cool to hear what they had to say about being in it so along and how to be successful."
Although she was the state's pitcher of the year last season and earned the Gatorade Player of the Year nod for Oregon, Becker said she had no idea the award would be hers until her name was announced by presenter Jordan Poyer, star defensive back at Oregon State and soon-to-be NFL draftee. Other finalists for the softball honor were McNary's Hailey Decker and Heppner's Baily Bennett.
"It was very unexpected, I had no idea," said Becker. "I just was kind of shocked when I heard my name and so I kinda got up and made my way to the stage. It all kinda sunk in later in the show that, wow, I really just won that."
Each winner was asked to say a few words and Becker used her time to thank her teammates and coaches and family members for always supporting her efforts. She also gave particular praise to catcher and good friend Katie Williamson for "always making me look good."
That highlight moment was followed by some nice moments with the other winners on hand, including photo opportunities with Oregon running back Kenjon Barner and OSU head coach Mike Riley.
"There was just a lot of people there that were in the sports world that you read about and it was a really cool experience," she said.
"It was just a very humbling experience," added Becker. "Just to see everybody's hard work, not only mine but all athletes of Oregon, and how much time goes into it and when you think the limits can't be pushed farther, they really can be pushed farther. It was neat to see how many people were influenced by their coaches and other players and it made me realize how much I've been influenced by everyone in my life, from my coaches and my family."
This was the first season that individual Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) sports were recognized at the Oregon Sports Awards and the first year that the general public was eligible to vote on the finalists.
Another key thing about Sunday for Becker was that it was also finally the end to being praised for honors gained from last year's performance. With the first day of spring practice only two weeks away, the Louisville-bound senior is looking forward to making new moments on the softball diamond.
"I am so ready," said Becker, who is also the team's top returning hitter. "I don't know if I'm ready for the weather because it's been nice having basketball inside but I'm looking forward to it. I'm really excited about getting this softball season started."
IT'S PRETTY RARE but the harshest penalty leveled by the OSAA's Executive Board during its Feb. 4 meeting proved to be against the Eagle Point cheerleading program and head coach Jordan Gieg.
The Executive Board levied a $2,000 fine against the school and ordered the appearance by coach Gieg and an EPHS administrator to speak on this matter before the board. She was also not allowed to coach the cheerleading team at this past weekend's state championships.
The action stems from an intentional OSAA violation that was reported on Jan. 9. The Executive Board determined that the cheer coach knowingly allowed two of her cheerleaders to violate the OSAA
Attached/Unattached Policy. Their report stated that she had direct communication with the OSAA
office prior to the violation and still chose to violate the rule.
The policy states that a high school team shall not compete against an unattached team (for example a club team), that students representing a high school shall not compete against unattached individuals and that students shall not represent a high school and compete as unattached on the same day at the same venue/facility.
Assistant coaches for the Eagles are Hillary Daves, Bruce Gieg and Lisa Hammonds.
The closest penalty to that levied against Eagle Point, which has appealed the ruling, was for the Henley wrestling team and coach Pete Lucas after the team pulled out of competition one day into the Oregon Wrestling Classic. Henley was assessed a $1,500 fine and Lucas and a school administrator were ordered to appear before the Executive Board.
The bulk of fines levied by the OSAA were for $500 and under.
Crater was assessed a $250 fine and ordered to forfeit a game it already lost after it was determined boys basketball head coach John Parent was ejected and was not out of sight or sound for the remainder of the contest on Dec. 1 at South Eugene.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry