Happy New Year! If you are reading this, you survived the new year festivities. A warm congratulations to you, and I hope your Facebook account won’t be littered with incriminating photos. And always remember: 7-Up soda, antacid and a cold shower can get you through just about anything, even if it feels like a little man is playing an Aerosmith drum solo inside your skull.

Anyway, enough about that. Do you remember what happened in 2010? That’s right — you’ve stumbled across an obligatory and clichéd year-in-review column! And what is the best way to pile on to an overplayed idea? More clichés! Let’s make it a Top-10 list of events that happened over the past year that had an impact on the Hermiston Bulldogs.

I’ll present them in reverse order, so either cheat now and turn the page or hear me out. It’ll be fun, I promise.

10. A greater emphasis is placed on concussion management: Ironically, a hot-button topic nationally was a reoccurring theme for the Bulldog football team during a season where injuries were often a headline instead of a footnote. At one time, the football team had seven players out with concussion-related symptoms. Don’t ask the bookmakers at the MGM Grand to calculate the chances of that happening again.

9. Not quite Jumbotron, but close: The new scoreboards donated to Hermiston High and put up in the Dawg House are like getting a smart phone for Christmas, more buttons than you’ll ever need but still really cool.

8. Bulldog softball rallies to make the playoffs: A senior-less Hermiston team swept a three game series with Mountain View on the road to finish a game in front of Summit and grab the IMC’s final playoff spot. Ryan Keefauver’s team outclassed Madison 21-0 in the first round before losing to the eventual state champion Glencoe in the post season.

7. Bulldog volleyball wins Hermiston’s first CRC title: They clinched the crown by winning in Warberg Court and sweeping the season series with Pendleton. (And they did it a few days before the boys cross country team won the CRC, making them the first.)

6. Mary Barnett can throw: Barnett won her second discus state title in a row and took home the shotput crown in 2010.

5. Redistricting kills the Intermountain Conference: Nobody misses scenic Moro on that long and lonesome Highway 97, and it saved the school district — and parents who travel — plenty of money.

However, we saw during volleyball four meetings with the same opponent becomes monotonous.

4. The OSAA and its science fair project, the RPI: How do you fairly distribute playoff spots and create a bracket when some leagues have eight teams and others two? I think this school year is a science experiment and I’m not willing to give the state’s rating system a grade when the assignment is incomplete. The system cannot discourage playing out of state opponents like it does right now (see: #37 Hermiston boys basketball (4-5) behind #36 and winless Lebanon).

And another flaw, this one away from Bulldog athletics, involved the Heppner football team. The Mustangs had another perfect conference record (that’s 81 league wins in a row, Weston-McEwen, so fix your sign next time), but opened the playoffs on the road against another conference champion when four of the eight first round matchups squared off two teams that didn’t win a league title. Odd.

3. Maloree Moss makes a foul shot: The point guard made plenty of them last year, but maybe none bigger than the one with less than a second on the clock in Eugene to beat West Albany and secure the Hermiston girls basketball team fourth place at the OSAA Class 5A state tournament.

2. Hermiston wrestling wins four in a row: This isn’t David and Goliath. Hermiston was Goliath and every year there has been a 5A classification they have been untouchable at the state tournament. Most of the time at Memorial Coliseum is spent wondering if the Bulldogs and Roseburg could wrestle a dual and settle all debates.

1. Hermiston cross country breaks through: Jake Puzey’s program has been one of the best in the state for a while now, but there is a difference between being one of the best and being the best. In 2010, the Bulldog boys finally won that elusive state championship.

Erick is the news/sports director for KOHU/KQFM. He is also the play-by-play voice of Hermiston High School athletics. Complain to him at eolson@eotnet.net.

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