The past year in sports proved exciting with both the usual suspects performing up to specs and a few newcomers climbing the ladder to success. To avoid sports favoritism, each sport is discussed alphabetically.
Baseball – In the 2019 Wallowa County combined squad high school realm, the boys made it through the first round of state playoffs before Pleasant Hill put a stop to their journey, 7-1. Boys Little League saw the Wallowa Valley All-Stars place fourth in the district tournament.
Basketball – The ladies sported the most success by far. The Enterprise Outlaws barely missed a trip to the finals after a hard-fought battle versus future state champs, Heppner, resulted in a 39-32 loss.
The lady Eagles made it to the quarterfinals in state playoffs before suffering a narrow defeat to eventual champs, St. Paul, 42-37.
For the boys, only the Joseph Eagles made it to state, losing in the first round to Dufur, 39-31.
The Enterprise Outlaws boys’ squad suffered from a controversy between Coach Larry Wells and the school board involving the eligibility of a student. Although the OSAA eventually sustained Wells’ initial eligibility decision and the board received a “Letter of Education” from the Oregon State Ethics Commission for executive session violations. Wells was later fired.
Cross-Country — The county’s “Three Horsemen,” Henry Coughlan, Zac Knapp and Bayden Menton led the boys squad to a first place finish at state in Eugene. Coughlan, Knapp and Menton finished first, second and fourth respectively in the 2A championships.
Football – Joseph Charter School Eagles went to the State 6-man championship rounds. It’s mighty six-man team was coached by Duncan Christman. The Eagles steamrolled virtually everyone they played against through the season until the state championship game, where they met their match versus South Wasco County in a 19-6 loss.
Wallowa, long a state football powerhouse, was in a rebuilding year. Early in the season they saw losses by big margins, but by the end of the season, the team had jelled, coming close to defeating a very strong Crane team and ending with triumphs over Pine Valley and the Cove Leopards. The Cougars are looking forward to a good year in 2020.
Softball – The Wallowa Valley combined high school team made it to the first round of state playoffs before suffering a heartbreaking 11-8 loss to Yamhill/Carlton.
The Little League junior girls softball team, the Cubs, provided the most diamond fireworks, becoming the county’s first-ever softball team to win a state championship after defeating Klamath Falls 15-0 in Klamath Falls. The victory extended the season well into July for the squad.
The Cubs followed that milestone with a journey to Tucson, Ariz., for the Western Regional championships, even playing in 100-degrees-plus weather. The ladies played three games in the tournament, the last, an 8-6 consolation bracket victory over host, Thornydale.
Track – The Enterprise ladies placed first at the state 2A meet, led by Shelby Moncrief, Karli Bedard and Kyla Hook. The 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams both took home the gold.
Foster Hobbs and Zac Knapp led the boys’ squad to a sixth place finish with the team’s 4x100 team taking the gold.
Joseph boys placed second at state, led by efforts of Tyler Homan and Henry Coughlan, each who broke school records by substantial margins. The ladies placed third with stars Ella Coughlan and Ellyse Tingelstad carrying the torch. Coughlan shattered the school record for the 800 meters race.
Volleyball — Joseph and Wallowa finished second and third respectively in the Old Oregon League, earning both squads a trip to state. While excelling in the first round, the Eagles and Cougars both fell in three sets in the second round: Joseph to eventual third place team, Days Creek and Wallowa to eventual state champs, St. Paul.
Wrestling – Joseph Charter School senior, Steven Beckman, won an unprecedented third consecutive state championship in the 120 pounds bracket. Teammate Zeb Ramsden took home the silver at 132 pounds.
Austin Brockamp took the bronze at 170 pounds while Jonah Staigle placed fourth at 195 pounds.
For the Outlaws, Trace Evans, wrestling in one of the toughest brackets, placed third at 138 pounds. In December 2019, Evans has won top honors in most of his matches and it looks like a promising start to 2020.