Greatness, and wetness, marked 2012 spring season

Aloha's boys track team, Gigi Stoll and Jesuit's girls tennis team highlight a tumultuous, and sometimes torrential, Spring 2012 season in sports
by: Miles Vance, GOT IT — Jesuit’s Meghana Rao stretches to make a volley during play in the Class 6A state tennis tournament at Portland Tennis Center on May 18.

The Spring of 2012 was definitely one for the memory books.

It was one of the greatest, one of the most exciting, and unfortunately, one of the wettest spring seasons in recent memory.

Over my long tenure here at the Valley Times, spring seasons have traditionally included lots of sunscreen, hot days and sundrenched sports. But this spring, and the two that preceded it, had very little of those and much more in the way of rainouts, umbrellas and raingear.

One baseball umpire I spoke to midway through this recently completed spring season told me that 82 percent of his scheduled assignments had been rained out. It sure as heck felt like it worked out almost as poorly for me.

That said, when the weather allowed the Beaverton area's teams hit the fields, courses, tracks and courts, they just flat got it done. Following here is an unordered and unscientific account of some of the best events I saw, and some of the performances that will forever make the Spring of 2012 one to remember.

Team of the Spring

Without question, the Team of the Spring honor goes to the Aloha boys track team and its spectacular performance at the 2012 Class 6A state championship meet.

Overshadowed in 2011 by 6A state champ Sunset, and overshadowed again in the 2012 regular season by Metro champion Jesuit, the Warriors broke through when it counted most.

Aloha, bolstered by the incredible speed of its Fast Five - seniors Sheldon Prince, Christian Wood, Isareal Inge, Brook Butler and Trevon Clay - sprinted past the rest of the state's best and earned a place in history.

The Warriors saw Prince win both the 100 and 200 meters at state and piled up 54 points to win just the second state track championship in school history and their first since way back in 1978.

Aloha also got a win from the 4 x 100 team of Inge, Clay, Wood and Price, a third from Clay in the 100, a third from Wood in the 400 and a fifth in the 200, and a second in the 4 x 400 relay to clinch the title. In that last race, the Aloha team of Butler, Prince, Inge and Wood stepped up to take second and make sure that state runner-up Oregon City couldn't close the gap.

Performance of the Spring

While Aloha's Prince (see above) could have easily earned this honor as well, in this case, it goes to Beaverton's incredible freshman golfer Gigi Stoll.

Stoll, who's already proved herself to be one of the most accomplished junior golfers in state history, showed she was ready to compete with Oregon's best high school players too. First, she blazed through the Metro League season, winning six of seven league tournaments to secure honors as Metro medallist.

But that was just a warm-up for even greater things to come.

At state, just two weeks after setting the women's course record at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Stoll was back at it again. Playing in the Class 6A state tournament for the first time, Stoll was simply unbeatable.

Showing absolutely no nerves whatsoever, she blazed to a 2-under par 70 in the tournament's first-round - good enough for a commanding seven-shot lead - then followed that up with a rock-solid 73 on the second day to win by 10 shots.

Amazing, yes, and a great precursor to even more great things ahead.

Match of the Spring

The match of the spring could have taken place during the Metro League regular season, or it could have happened at the Metro League district tennis tournament.

But no. Jesuit and Lincoln's girls tennis teams were too good and too competitive for that. Instead, the Crusaders and Cardinals saved their best for the Class 6A state tennis tournament.

To set the stage, remember that it was Lincoln that had broken Jesuit's 160-match Metro League winning streak when it first joined the league in 2011. The Cardinals added district and state titles to their 2011 cache too, then beat Jesuit twice in the 2012 Metro regular season, first winning by a single set, and then by six games in their second meeting.

Jesuit got a measure of revenge, though, by winning the 2012 Metro district tournament by a single point over the talented Cardinals. And that set up the historic battle that took place at Portland Tennis Center and Tualatin Hills Tennis Center for state.

The two teams didn't back down an inch, and didn't disappoint, with Jesuit's Erin Larner winning the state singles title while teammates Ann Martel and Meghana Rao took second in doubles. Lincoln answered with a doubles win from Allie and Kadie Hueffner and added a runner-up finish in singles play by Arianna Fardanesh.

And there, at 18 points each, is where the two powerhouses ended their year, in a perfect - and fitting - tie for the state championship.

It really was, despite the weather, another great spring.