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My three sports-related wishes for 08

I know. I know.

We're well past the start of the New Year and everybody else has already written their token columns about what lies ahead in 2008.

But since I absolutely refuse to make any resolutions in regards to procrastination, here's my short, sports-related list for what I'd like to see in the next 365 days (OK. OK. I know there are just 348 days left in 2008, but bear with me here - I'm trying to make a point).

1. If you haven't got your health … My first New Year's wish is simple, corny, yet still heartfelt - I want good health for the good guys. I'm fortunate to work with a ton of dedicated, talented people, both within my office (yes, there are a couple of us who aren't illiterate drool monkeys) and within the Beaverton-area high school coaching community.

In regards to the coaching community, I am amazed every day at the folks who coach in our local high schools. There are a ton of them who have been in their current coaching positions for longer than my 13-year tenure here at the Valley Times, and the thing that really stands out is, despite the incredibly competitive nature of varsity sports in the Beaverton area, how many of them seem to be genuinely nice people besides.

Good health to all.

2. State titles for all: OK. Not everyone can win a state title, not in the same year anyway, but here's my short list for longtime coaches who deserve to win a first (or another) state title in 2008.

Westview boys basketball coach Pat Coons - One of those good guys mentioned above, Coons is the only coach the Wildcats have ever had, he's made his program into a consistently strong performer, and he deserves to break through and win that first crown.

Westview swim coach Melinda Miller - The deck is stacked in her favor on the girls side where the Wildcats are chasing a fourth straight big-school crown, and the Cats have a shot on the boys side as well. Yes, Miller has already had a lot of success at state, but if you had any idea how much she suffers for her art, you'd wish her another win as well.

Sunset girls basketball coach Bill Priester - Priester has already done what no one else was able to do in the previous decade before his arrival; he's made the Apollos into consistent winners and playoff performers. While his team may be a year away from serious state title contention, you never know.

Beaverton track/cross country coach Jim Archer - Archer's been at Beaverton since the Earth cooled, but he continues to impress league foes with his ability to wring the most talent out of the athletes he has and his ability to find athletes that others have missed.

Jesuit girls basketball coach Kathy Adelman Naro - Look, I know some of you have a hard time rooting for anything Jesuit, but Adelman Naro is the real deal. Her players love her and play their hardest every moment they're on the court, and while the Crusaders have reached the state title game twice, they have yet to claim the state's biggest prize.

Also deserving is Westview boys soccer coach Jim Lekas. His Wildcats appeared poised for a breakthrough this season after beating Jesuit twice and winning the first Metro title in school history, but came up short in the state semifinals.

But Westview returns a bundle of talented players for the 2008 fall season, including 2007 Metro and Oregon Player of the Year Eric Hurtado to keep hope alive at Westview.

And how about another crown for one of our three top local softball programs? Southridge's Wilbur Charters, Westview's Ronda McKenzie and Jesuit's Jim Speciale have all paid their dues, have all created powerful programs and have all won a state title in the past five years.

And all have reasonably good chances to add to their trophy cases this season - it's a great way to end a school year.

3. Back to the future: A return to prominence for Beaverton High School. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm old, and therefore like the old-school order of things. I don't wish, by the way, any of our other local schools ill, but back when I started at the Valley Times in 1995, Beaverton was the biggest jewel in the Metro League crown.

Over time, Jesuit moved to prominence in the Metro League while Beaverton saw its place eaten away by the rise of Southridge and Westview, the aging of its core neighborhoods and an unfair reputation of being 'ghetto.'

Beaverton High School is not, of course, new. It's the oldest high school in the district and therefore has a fair number of quirks. But Beaverton also has top-notch athletic facilities, committed coaches and community support. The future there is bright - Go Beavs.