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Hilhi's girls track and field team scores a big victory at the annual district meet

The Hilhi girls track and field team was simply sensational at the Pacific Conference meet in May, picking up a win in the final event of the competition, the 4x400-meter relay, to seal the district meet title in Newberg. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Hillsboro's 4x400-meter relay team of Anna Dean, Kylee Taube, Sami Moellmer and Krissy Thomas celebrate after winning a district title.

The Spartans edged McMinnville 124 points to 120.3 for the win, the program’s second at the district meet in three seasons.

Hilhi got there in part by continued dominance in the sprints, going 1-2-5 in the 100 and 1-2-3 in the 200, and also racing to victory in the 400 and both relays.

Anna Dean was the performer of the meet, playing a part in meet records in three events and winning all four of her events.

She stood out most in the 100 hurdles, where her time of 14.18 seconds made her the second-fastest girl all-time in Oregon history in the event. Her other meet records came in the 100 (12.22) and as a member of the 4x100 relay (48.15), which included Krissy Thomas, Kennedy Taube and Kylee Taube. Dean added a win in the 200, leading Thomas and Kylee Taube to the sweep.

Kennedy Taube added an individual win in the 400, and the team cobbled together enough points in other events to overtake the Grizzlies at the last. While the team standings wound up close, that long relay was not, as Sami Moellmer, the Taube sisters and Thomas breezed to victory by nearly four seconds.

The following week at the state track meet in Eugene, Dean placed in four events for the third consecutive year and repeated as champion in the high hurdles. She also took second in the 100, just .04 short of winning yet another title.

Wrestling state trophy and Reser’s tourney placement

The Spartans wrestling team bumped up another spot on the awards podium this year.

A year after taking fourth in the Class 6A state tournament, in March Hilhi added to its considerable trophy collection in the sport with some third-place team hardware. The Spartans suffered through a somewhat shaky first day — when six of their eight quarterfinalists lost, including four top-four seeds — but they still wound up with six state placers, including senior Joey Rodriguez, who finished second at 126 pounds.

While coach Adam Reese felt that collectively the team’s performance was a bit off, the fruits of the weekend were still an accomplishment.

“Taking third in state is great,” Reese noted. “Having six state placers is awesome, so you’ve got to be proud of that.”

In addition to Rodriguez, the other state meet placers for Hilhi, which had breezed to the Special District 1 title the week before, were Ruben Rodriguez-Saenz (fourth, 106), Alex Hada (fourth, 152), Ben Kociemba (fourth, 195), Hunter Morse (fifth, 160) and T.J. Cavender (fifth, 182).

The state meet trophy was the culmination of a season’s worth of work. The team also took second in the Oregon Wrestling Classic in Redmond and third at the Reser’s Tournament of Champions in Hillsboro, two of the top invitationals in the state.

Girls soccer team records

second-ever playoff victory

The Spartans girls soccer team went to places in 2014 that the program had rarely traveled.

The team put up a seven-game win streak to build momentum before finishing third in the Pacific Conference (5-2), pushing state standouts Tigard and Tualatin — the eventual state champion — along the way.

That finish was the best in conference play since the middle part of the last decade, when this group of players was still in elementary school, and earned Dean Miyama Pacific Conference coach of the year honors. The 2006 team won the inaugural Northwest Oregon Conference championship in the school’s first year in Class 5A, and the 2005 team finished third, just two points shy of a league title in the powerful Metro League in the old 4A system.

The 2013 team wrapped up the regular season at the No. 9 spot in the OSAA power rankings before shellacking Sprague 5-0 in a home playoff game in early November. That victory was just the program’s second in school history, with the other coming during the time that Tiffeny Milbrett roamed the pitch at Hilhi.

The Spartans’ run came to an end with a second round loss against West Salem, but that did little to diminish what the squad had accomplished, including a 12-4 overall record, in a somewhat unexpectedly brilliant season.

Best of all, the team’s future is also bright, as all-leaguers Bri Miyama (midfield), Sami Moellmer (midfield/forward) and Diana Santiago are all expected back.

Football team bests two rivals to get back on winning track

The Hilhi football team may have won only two games this past fall, but those two wins were big ones.

Under new head coach Adam Reese, the Spartans opened the season by defeating city rival Liberty 24-12 on Aug. 30, a huge milestone in that it broke an 21-game losing streak that dated back to the 2010 season.

Hilhi followed that up two weeks later with a thrilling 23-22 comeback victory against Century on Sept. 13 — won on a Tyler Hoiem field goal late in the fourth quarter — to make it two wins in three games.

“God, I’ve been playing football for 10 years, and I don’t remember the last time I beat Century in football,” an emotional Marshall Taunton, a senior, said after the game. “It feels so good.”

Though the Spartans would not win again last season, those two victories could serve as a launching pad for a program that drops down to Class 5A this fall and returns a number of key players with extensive varsity experience.

Abran Serrano Garcia earns player of the year honors

At the end of a sterling fall, Hilhi forward Abran Serrano Garcia was named the Pacific Conference boys co-player of the year and a first team all-state pick.

A senior forward, Serrano Garcia shared the award with McMinnville midfielder/forward Moises Diaz. Despite being forced to miss some time on the field due to the aggravation of an ankle injury, Serrano Garcia paced the Spartans with 11 goals and seven assists.

“Even when he’s not scoring or making assists, he’s dictating the pace of a lot of the games,” former Hilhi coach Tim Ellsworth said. “A lot of the game went through him for us.”

Serrano Garcia helped pace his team (10-5-1) to its eighth consecutive state playoffs berth as well as its third consecutive appearance in the second round of the 6A playoffs.

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