Fall practices officially start Monday for high
school athletics in the state of Oregon. It is hard to see anything
but a dominate year for the girls at HHS after a look into the
Bulldogs crystal ball.
This isnt to write off the boys who represent the
Bulldogs for 2011-2012, I just feels like the ladies have the
potential to grab a lion share of the headlines over the next ten
months. The younger classes have lots of talent and some budding
stars adding to the strong foundation of the HHS girls programs.
Those girls compliment an incredibly strong senior class that isnt
just highlighted by talented athletes, but a lot of these young
women are also tremendous team leaders and theyve been to the top
The 2011 graduation ceremony back in June didnt do
too many favors to some of the boys programs. Take the defending
Columbia River Conference Champion boys basketball team as one
example. Things will obviously look different with Adam Strom
taking over the program from Larry Usher, but the biggest change
from last years playoff team may be only one player returns with
the experience of a varsity starter or significant playing time.
The historical success of the program built under Usher suggests
that Strom has plenty of talent in the program that will fill the
many shoes of last years senior class, but there is an unknown to
how those players will perform at the highest level.
The football team graduated about two dozen and quite
a few positions on the field will be played by a new starter this
fall. The baseball team will have to replace the middle infield,
most of the outfield and a majority of the pitching staff. This is
nothing new for high school athletics its a normal cycle.
Players develop in the lower level teams and then are often the
biggest contributors their senior season then the next year a new
batch of faces will be filling the lead roles.
This is what makes a handful of the girls programs
at Hermiston High unique this year. They arent following that same
cycle. A lot of the seniors have already been performing on the
main stage for most of their high school careers. These athletes
have already produced conference titles and deep playoff runs in
volleyball, basketball and softball and there are plenty of
successful athletes returning for the girls next spring on the
track. The only downside if it is even a downside is with
experience brings expectations. Fans already know what these
athletes can produce, theyve seen it, heard it and read about it
and will expect it again this year.
Not every headline is going to highlight Hermiston
High girls sports. Through continued success a few of the boys
programs have set the bar in the stratosphere. Jake Puzeys boys
cross country team has most of the pieces back from last years
state championship team to make another run at the title. They
dont rebuild after graduation of state champions in Curt Bergers
wrestling room they just reload with state champions from the
middle school level and continue to churn out top-notch wrestlers.
Those two teams are sure to be mainstays of this sports page.
Im not overlooking the boys programs and Im excited
to start going out to football practice next week, but Ive had
this reoccurring thought the past few weeks that 2011-2012 is going
to be dominated by the girls at Hermiston High School. The reality
is no matter what happens. Im excited to get on the radio and
start talking about it again next week.
Erick is the news and sports director at
KOHU/KQFM. He is also the play-by-play voice of Hermiston High
School athletics. Complain to him at email@example.com.