Be it at Ashland High or SOU, May is setting up to be a pretty exciting month
Thankfully, for yours truly, the month of May is not just a way to figure out how to live without coastal fog for the first time in my life.
In this business that we have chosen — no, there won’t be anymore Godfather references ... for now — there are plenty of sports happenings going on in the Ashland area.
Plenty of them.
And, frankly, we’ve already seen things get going.
Over the weekend, the Southern Oregon University softball team won its second straight Cascade Conference Tournament title. That was eight days after the Raiders clinched the CCC’s regular-season title as things came down to the final day on the schedule.
We saw a trio of Grizzlies — Rox Rogers and the doubles team of Braden Rogers and Nur Shelton — clinch their spots at the OSAA Class 5A state tournament in tennis after advancing to the semifinals of the district tournament on Saturday. (Day 2 of the tournament is this Saturday in Eugene.)
My friends, that was just the first weekend of the month.
Over the next 23 days, we will see players and one very, very good softball team try to make it to nationals on the college level and more than just a few Ashland High student-athletes go for bragging rights at both the district and state levels.
It doesn’t matter if it’s on the softball field, the track or on the tennis court, there will be representation from Ashland.
Plenty of it.
Come this weekend, SOU track superstar Jessa Perkinson will look to add to her total of about 10,000 — rough estimate — individual conference titles at the CCC Championships in Herminston.
She’ll cap her career, one where she’s seemingly won everything there is to win in her four years at SOU, at the NAIA Outdoor Championships on May 24-26, leading what figures to be a healthy Southern Oregon contigent in Alabama.
A little closer to home...
They won’t officially be playing in Ashland, but the SOU softball team now stands as few as three wins away from officially making it back to the NAIA World Series. And while that previous sentence may make it seem like the Raiders are playing far from home, they won’t be, instead calling U.S. Cellular Community Park in Medford their home away from home May 14-16.
As much as they’d love to play at University Field, the fact that they’re still within driving distance and can advance to the NAIA World Series in southern Oregon is what matters the most to them.
Just down the road from SOU...
The Rogers boys and Shelton still have their semifinal and final matches to complete at the district tournament, but there’s no denying that they can also do big things at state.
Rox Rogers is likely the favorite in 5A singles play having placed second in the state last season, while Shelton is set to make a return trip to the state tournament after being one half of the Grizzlies’ doubles team that finished third a year ago.
You know both of them want to go one step further than they did 12 months ago.
Which brings us to the track where has just as many contenders for medals at both districts this weekend and the state meet in two weeks.
Whether it’s super sophomore E.J. Holland in the 1,500 and 3,000, senior Alex Franklin in the 800 or Lili Smith in the shotput, there’s a chance for multiple Grizzlies to do damage on the biggest of stages.
So, as you’ve probably figured out, the next three weeks are going to be quite exciting for a good number of high school and/or college athletes who currently call Ashland home.
We’re all of seven days into May and it’s already been pretty, pretty good.
And that’s the best part of it all.
Because as the month goes on, the events just seem to get more and more important.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.