The state championship is the goal of every person involved in high school sports.
But if they were easy to get everyone would have one.
Winning a state championship puts a team or individual into rarified air and makes the record books.
These state champions are the top-10 athletic moments in high school sports in the Mid-Valley in 2015.
1. Cascade football wins OSAA Class 4A state championship
Nothing was going to stand in the way of the Cougars.
It didn’t matter that the impediment – be it playing on the road in the entirety of the state playoffs or tough opponents – Cascade’s football team wasn’t going to be denied in its quest to win the title.
Cascade (12-1) won its final nine games of the season, including defeating Scappoose 37-28 in the state championship game, to win the second state championship in the program’s history.
“Look at all these people over here,” Cascade coach Steve Turner said after the championship game win. “And I’m going to say half of them are ex-players. It means a lot to our community.
“It means a lot to those guys that busted their tails in the 80s for coach (Karl) Elliott. And now we can bring another one home to them. I couldn’t be any happier.”
The run-heavy team was led by Oregon West Conference Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Coffey, who finished the season with 2,548 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns on 367 carries and a strong senior class.
2. South Salem girls basketball wins 6A state championship
In 1976, South Salem won the first state championship for girls basketball that the OSAA sanctioned.
Who knew that it would take 40 years to win another one?
South Salem went 27-2, was undefeated against Oregon opponents then defeated St. Mary’s 60-56 in the state championship game.
Led by 6A Player of the Year Katie McWilliams, who now plays for Oregon State, along with all-state players in Jordan Woodvine and Evina Westbrook, the Saxons weren’t going to be stopped.
“People always tell me how hard it is to coach your own kid, and a lot of times it is, but she made it all worthwhile just because she worked so hard and she supported what I did and we did it together, and it was just a lot of fun,” said South Salem coach Nick McWilliams, Katie’s father.
“I can’t wish anything better for her than what happened. I’m happy for all the girls, but it’s a little more special just because my kid got to be a part of it.”
3. Dallas’ Matthew Hofenbredl wins 5A state championship, grandfather dies
Matthew Hofenbredl’s third and final OSAA Class 5A state championship was his hardest to win and his most meaningful.
In his senior year, he defeated Christian Marquez of Hood River Valley 7-1 in the state championship match at 132 pounds.
After losing in the state championship match as a junior, this state championship meant more than the state championships he won his freshman and sophomore years.
But while having his hand raised in celebration, Hofenbredl’s grandfather, Larry, had a fatal heart attack in the grandstands at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum and died.
“Like my sophomore year after I won state, I was like, oh I won state. Did it again. Didn’t really appreciate it and think much of it again,” Hofenbredl said.
“So then my senior year winning it again is like kind of the same emotions as my freshman year, like I finally got it again. It made me happy, and then I got really sad.”
4. West Salem’s Mackenzie Rumrill wins two 6A state championship, sets state record
When Mackenzie Rumrill took off her junior year of high school swimming at West Salem, she did it because she wanted to improve.
The amount she improved was surprising to even her.
She won OSAA Class 6A state championships in the 200 individual medley – in a meet record time of 2:00.62 – and the state championship in the 100 butterfly.
“It’s the fastest I’ve ever gone in my entire life, so I definitely have that expectation of myself every time I jump in the water to be the best that I can be, and today I was the best that I can be,” said Rumrill, who now is competing at Arizona as a freshman.
5. West Salem’s Ahmed Muhumed wins 6A state cross country championship
There was no doubt Ahmed Muhumed had the talent to win a state championship in cross country, but he needed to convince himself.
The West Salem junior won the OSAA Class 6A state championship in 15:38 on Halloween at the Lane Community College course in Eugene.
“Unbelievable,” Muhumed said. “After all the work I’ve done, I think it pays off. And it did today so that’s why I’m very proud of myself to do all that I’ve done to get here.”
6. Tristan James wins third 6A state triple jump championship
Winning a state championship multiple times is not easy to do.
Winning it convincingly isn’t either.
West Salem senior Tristan James won his third consecutive OSAA Class 6A state championship in the triple jump with a winning mark of 49 feet, 1.5 inches, giving him the state championship by over two feet more than his nearest competitor in May.
“I’m honored to pursue that title,” said James, now competing for Oral Roberts. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m truly blessed. I just want to thank God, thank my family, thank my coaches and my friends.”
7. Dayton boys and girls basketball teams win 3A state championships
For a school to have its teams both win state championships on the same night is a rare feat.
Dayton’s boys and girls basketball teams won OSAA Class 3A state championships in March.
The boys, led by all-state players in D.J. Flowers, Zach Bernards and Zack Spink, defeated Horizon Christian and the girls, led by state player of the year Shawnie Spink and all-state Teddi Hop, defeated Salem Academy as they both won state championships on the same night.
“What was great about it was I don’t think any of the boys missed any of the girls games, and I don’t think any of the girls missed any of the boys games,” said boys coach Ron Hop.
8. Western Mennonite girls basketball win 2A state championship
Getting the first is the toughest task.
Western Mennonite got over the hump by beating Burns 43-38 in the OSAA Class 2A state championship game in March.
With a team including UC Davis signee Emma Gibb and all-state players Jenna Christenson and Madison Hull, the Pioneers won the first state championship for a girls team in the school’s history.
“To realize that this is what we trained for all year ever since we lost that game last year, everything we did we had this in mind, just to realize that we did it,” Gibb said.
9. Amity’s Lindsay McShane wins two 3A state championships
Lindsay McShane made her big throws count.
The Amity junior set personal records in winning her second straight OSAA Class 3A state championships in the shot put (40-10) and discus (144-7).
“I can’t even explain how excited I am,” McShane said. “I’m really proud of myself for PRing as much as I have this year. I’ve come a long way, and attribute that to weight training and spending long hours practicing. It’s just good to see it all come together.”
10. Silverton boys basketball wins 5A state championship
Nobody saw the Foxes coming.
A Silverton boys basketball team that was an afterthought coming into the season went 22-4 and defeated Wilsonville 33-32 for the OSAA Class 5A state championship in March.
Silverton was led by state player of the year Sam Roth and all-state player Julian Downey.
“I’m so proud of them,” Silverton coach Steve Roth said. “They did it. They did it themselves. It wasn’t any coaching today, they just hung tough and played together.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler