The past year brought plenty of stellar moments from Grant County’s individual athletes and teams to look back on, including several for the record books. Highlights from some of the most thrilling moments are listed here in chronological order.
1. Grant Union wrestling
Grant Union Prospector Drew Lusco, then a sophomore, claimed the 2A/1A state championship wrestling title in the 285-pound bracket Feb. 17 in Portland. Other Prospectors competing at state were Elijah Humbird (fifth place-220), Toby Boatwright (285), Russell Hodge (182), Ethan Moore (106) and Eli Sheedy (113). It was also the second consecutive year Grant Union, led by head coach Andy Lusco, brought home the 2A/1A Special District 4 title.
2. Prairie City
The Prairie City Panther boys basketball team clawed their way to second March 3 at the 1A state championships in Baker City. The Panthers, led by head coach Sam Workman, defeated Jordan Valley 61-53 in the semifinals and lost 73-50 to the Pacific Pirates of Port Orford. Prairie City also claimed the High Desert league title.
3. Grant Union
In their third consecutive trip to state, the Grant Union Prospector girls basketball team had a fourth-place finish at the 2A state championships on March 3 in Pendleton. Grant Union, led by head coach Casey Hallgarth, lost the quarterfinal round to the Faith Bible Falcons 53-49, defeated the Heppner Mustangs 62-46 in the consolation semifinals, then claimed a 54-44 win over the Oakland Oakers for fourth place. Grant Union also captured the Wapiti league title.
4. Grant Union
The Grant Union Prospector boys basketball team placed sixth at state March 3 in Pendleton. Grant Union lost in the quarterfinals 60-38 to the No. 1 Mennonite Pioneers, then beat the Toledo Boomers 60-49 in the semifinal consolation round before falling to the Kennedy Trojans 54-45. The Prospectors, led by Kelsy Wright, won the Wapiti league title for the first time in 28 years.
5. Grant Union dance
The Grant Union Gold dance team, led by head coach Kattie Piazza, competed at the 4A/3A/2A/1A OSAA Dance & Drill State Championships March 17 in Portland.
6. Grant Union golf
The Grant Union Prospector boys golf team, led by head coach Ron Lundbom, earned a trip to the May 14-15 3A/2A/1A state championships where they finished 12th. The team was disappointed by a disqualification on day one of competition due to some incorrect directions on the course, but continued on to finish on day two.
7. Grant Union track and field
Grant Union Prospector Kaylee Wright, then a junior, won three titles at the girls track and field state championships, helping her team earn second place at the state championships in Eugene. Wright shattered the previous state javelin record, which she set as a freshman, and won the high jump and 100-meter dash. She and teammates Sydney Brockway, Trinity Hutchison and Sierra Cates finished in second place in the 4x100-meter relay. Hutchison placed second in the triple jump, and Brockway placed third in the 100-meter hurdles. Other 2A Prospector athletes, including five boys, also competed at state. The teams were led by head coach Sonna Smith.
8. Prairie City track and field
Two Prairie City Panther track and field athletes competed at the 1A state championships. Levi Burke had a third-place finish in the high jump, and Megan Camarena placed seventh in shot put. The teams were led by head coach Nate Barber.
9. Dayville/Monument track and field
Two Dayville/Monument track and field athletes took on 1A state competition May 17-18 in Eugene. Mark Thomas finished fifth in the 1500-meter run, and Kyla Emerson finished eighth in the 100-meter hurdles. The teams were led by coaches Jeff Schafer and Peter Bogardus.
10. Grant Union softball
The Grant Union Prospector softball team, led by head coach Zach Williams, ended a successful season at the quarterfinal round of state, hosting the Clatskanie Tigers in John Day. Grant Union was down 7-5 in the top of the seventh when lightning caused a delay of game on May 25, and the contest continued the next morning. Prospector pitcher Cody Jo Madden came back Saturday morning and threw strikes, and although Brianna Zweygardt made a solo home run for Grant Union in the bottom of the inning, the Tigers got the outs to win 7-6.
11. Grant Union baseball
The Grant Union Prospector baseball team, led by Dusty Williams, advanced to the state playoffs after besting the Elgin Huskies 8-1 in a play-in contest. No. 15 Grant Union traveled to the coast to battle No. 2 Reedsport and lost 15-0.
12. AAU volleyball
The AAU volleyball team, called the Gold Diggers, competed at the AAU Junior Girls National Volleyball Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. The team was led by head coach Kristi Moore in John Day. The 18U team qualified for nationals after winning the regional RIVAL AZ Championships in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
13. National Junior Olympics
Two track and field athletes qualified for the July 23-29 National Junior Olympics Championships. Mason Morris, a Grant Union Junior-Senior High School freshman qualified in the long jump and triple jump, and Anna Jacobs, a Prairie City Elementary third-grader, qualified in long jump. Jacobs made the trip to compete at the Greensboro, North Carolina, event. Morris, Jacobs, Trinity Hutchison and Jordan Hall, led by coach Sonna Smith, competed at a regional Junior Olympics meet in Bend.
14. Youth softball
The 9-10-11 Grant County Wildfire Little League softball players beat Del Norte 12-3 and 6-4 in the final games July 23 to take the state title in Medford.
15. John Day
The John Day swim team placed third at July 27-29 East Cascade District Finals held in Prineville. The team was led by head coach Stephanie LeQuieu.
16. Middle school cross country
The Grant Union boys middle school cross country team finished third at the Eastern Oregon Junior High Cross Country Championships Oct. 19 in Pendleton. Grant Union runner Grant Hall placed 10th, setting a personal record, and of the seventh-grade boys competing, he finished first.
17. Grant Union volleyball
The Grant Union Prospector volleyball team, led by head coach Ali Abrego, placed second at state in Redmond. The Prospectors were edged out 3-2 in a tight battle with Portland Christian, the Royals winning with scores of 28-26, 23-25, 25-11, 24-26 and 15-13.
18. Grant Union football
The Grant Union Prospector football team, led by head coach Jason Miller, competed at the state playoffs where they fell 49-0 to the No. 1-ranked Monroe Dragons.