Redmond and Ridgeview high schools have a tall order topping their 2019 success in 2020.
From 1956 until 2018, the schools won a total of four state sports championships. They nearly equaled that this year alone.
Championships for the Redmond boys tennis and Ridgeview softball and volleyball teams were part of an unprecedented year for local schools and others in the community. Among the successes was an individual state title, as well as teams winning league championships for the first time in years.
Here, we do our best to rank the top 10 sports stories related to the Redmond area in 2019.
1. Redmond wins boys tennis state title, Ridgeview responds with softball and volleyball championships
The conventional wisdom was that Redmond teams would benefit by the move of much larger Bend schools (and others) to Class 6A, but it was hard to foresee this level of success.
Redmond claimed its first title in any sport since 2003 and only the fourth since 1956 when the Panthers claimed the boys state tennis championship May 18 in Beaverton. The Panthers, who also led Class 5A academically, were led by the doubles team of senior Benny Saito and sophomore Skyler Jones. Nathan Saito, Redmond’s coach and Benny’s father, made a crucial late-season move by moving Benny to doubles after he won the state singles consolation championship the previous two seasons. Not only did that move pay off, but junior Breaden Brooks, a transfer from South Salem, moved into the No. 1 singles position and claimed third place at state.
Just two weeks later, Ridgeview, which won its only state sports championship with a Class 4A football title in 2013, its second year, brought the Redmond School District another championship by winning the softball championship game 5-1 against Dallas. Unlike some schools that struggled against Bend teams, the Ravens were perennial Intermountain Conference champions but couldn’t get by the quarterfinal playoff round. That all changed this year, when they went 24-2. Junior ace pitcher Allicitie Frost, after throwing a no-hitter in the quarterfinals, struck out 15 in the championship victory at Jane Sanders Stadium at the University of Oregon.
Frost, who signed to play softball at Portland State, did not slow down as she moved to her senior year. She finished the volleyball season with 324 assists and 170 digs and was named first-team all-state in helping the Ravens to their first volleyball state championship. After falling in the state final in 2018, Ridgeview won it all with a 25-19, 25-17, 25-22 sweep against Wilsonville on Nov. 9. State coach of the year Randi Viggiano, who previously won a Class 2A championship at Culver, led Ridgeview to its first state volleyball title in her second season as Ravens coach. Leading the way for Ridgeview was IMC player of the year Rylee Troutman, who finished the season with 532 kills and 77 aces.
2. Fourth coach in as many seasons returns Redmond football to glory
When Redmond football coach Brent Wasche took a job in Washington state just a couple months before his second season was to begin, Panther fans had to be saying, “Here we go again.” The Redmond seniors were going to play for their fourth coach in four years. But district athletic director Kevin Bryant was able to bring in Seth Womack, who saw success in six seasons at Eagle Point. Womack estimated he was able to implement about 55-60 percent of his old system before the season, but that was enough to lead the Panthers to a 6-4 record, including a 42-12 victory against rival Ridgeview. Though Redmond fell 56-13 against West Albany in the Panthers’ first playoff game since 2016, getting back was nice after going 1-8 in 2017 and 2-7 in 2018.
3. Ridgeview’s Buerger wins second state golf title, Ravens second as team
Ridgeview senior Isaac Buerger finished his high school career with four top five finishes, including winning the Class 5A individual title in 2017 as a sophomore and 2019 as a senior. His last state tournament appearance was particularly impressive, shooting 71-67—138 to earn the medalist position by eight shots at Trysting Tree in Corvallis. And he also led the Ravens to a district title and second-place state finish. Buerger was honored in a parade with the state champion Redmond boys golf and Ridgeview softball teams. Buerger moved on to play for NCAA Division I Weber State University, where he finished 13th in his third fall tournament as a freshman.
4. Redmond girls basketball wins IMC
A group of Redmond girls basketball seniors that started high school play with an 0-12 IMC record in the 2015-16 season, finished with a league title, going 5-1 (12-9 overall) in a weather-shortened season. The Panthers featured a strong core of seniors, including league player of the year McKaylie Capps, who led them with 13.9 points per game, Ava Kitchin, who averaged a double-double of 12.3 points and 10.8 rebounds, and Jordan Fox. McKaylie’s mother, Redmond coach Angela Capps, was named IMC coach of the year.
5. Snow cancellations create havoc for winter and spring sports
Even before more than 32 inches of snow fell from Feb. 24-27, weather issues had already caused enough cancellations that the IMC had to condense its season into boys and girls tournaments. But once the epic snow fell, even some of those tournament games were canceled, leading the Oregon School Activities Association to decide some playoff seedings based on RPI rankings. The Redmond and Ridgeview girls got in the playoffs, but the Redmond boys were left out when a third-place game was canceled. Meanwhile, spring teams practiced indoors for weeks after their fields were snowed under.
6. Terrebonne rider wins prestigious endurance horse race
Sanoma Blakeley and Arabian horse RA Ares Bey, also known as Goober, won the Aug. 17 Tevis Cup race, which takes riders from Robie Equestrian Park at a 7,000-foot elevation near Lake Tahoe, 100 miles down the often rocky and mountainous Western States Trail to Auburn, California, northeast of Sacramento. Other members of Blakeley’s Terrebonne family has seen success in the race, but the 2018 Redmond Proficiency Academy graduate was the first Blakeley to win the event. The race started with 184 horses and riders, but only 98 made it to the finish of the event, which features 17,000 feet of elevation gain and 17,000 feet of elevation loss.
7. Redmond boys swimming wins district
The Redmond boys edged out Pendleton on Feb. 8 to take the school’s first district swimming title in at least a decade. Freshman Ryan Konop was the star of the meet for the Panthers, winning the 100-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke.
8. Former Ridgeview star helps Oregon Tech reach national finals
Former Ridgeview basketball player Garret Albrecht helped the Oregon Institute of Technology reach the finals of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II Men’s Basketball Championship. Among his highlights was scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds in a 93-81 semifinal victory against College of Idaho.
9. New coach leads Ridgeview girls soccer to another league title
Despite losing some stars from the previous season and having a new coach, the Ridgeview girls soccer team didn’t miss a beat in 2019. Nic Sedor, a former player and assistant coach at Corban University in Salem, led the Ravens to a second consecutive IMC title. While the season ended in the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens had strong play from freshmen and appear to be in good position for the future.
10. Ridgeview girls finish fourth at state golf tournament
The Ridgeview boys team wasn’t the only local golfers to see success. After winning the regional tournament, the Ridgeview girls came in fourth in May at the Class 5A State Championships at Quail Valley in Banks. Individually, Redmond’s Elizabeth Roundtree won the district tournament and went on to finish seventh at state, tops for a Redmond girls golfer.