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Memorable people, moments from 2016

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TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The Rose City Rollers celebrate their second consecutive international title in roller derby at Memorial Coliseum.Track and field in Portland, Eugene and Brazil dominated local sports headlines in 2016.

So did a couple of NCAA Division I college basketball teams.

So did the Trail Blazers.

So did some swings in the fortunes of college football teams and their coaching staffs.

Here’s a look back at many of the top achievers and accomplishments:

TOP PRO TEAMS

Trail Blazers — Well, early in 2016, anyway, they were riding reasonably high. Portland exceeded the expectations of many in the 2015-16 NBA season, posting a 44-38 regular-season record.

The Blazers then beat the shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers in a playoff series and gave the eventual Western Conference champs, 73-win Golden State, a battle before falling 4-1.

Thorns — Portland had the star and firepower to compile the best regular-season mark in the National Women’s Soccer League. In the playoffs, though, they were one-and-done.

Hops — Hillsboro’s Class A baseball team made a run at a third consecutive Northwest League championship, but from start to finish, it was the Eugene Emeralds’ year.

TOP PRO TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES

Olympic gold medalists

Matthew Centrowitz — 1,500

Ashton Eaton — decathlon

Ryan Crouser — shot put

Mo Farah — 5,000 and 10,000

English Gardner — 4x100 relay

Phyllis Francis — 4x400 relayTRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: DAVID BLAIR - Gresham's Ryan Crouser won the U.S. and Olympic titles in the shot put.

Indoor world champions

Matthew Centrowitz — 1,500

Ashton Eaton — heptathlon

Brianne Theisen-Eaton, track and field — pentathon (the former Oregon Duck also won bronze in the Rio Olympics heptathlon and received the Harry Glickman Female Pro Athlete of the Year Award at the Oregon Sports Awards in June)

Indoor U.S. champions

Matthew Centrowitz — 1,500

Ryan Hill — 3,000

Shannon Rowbury — 3,000

U.S. Olympic Trials champions

Ashton Eaton — decathlon

Matthew Centrowitz — 1,500

Galen Rupp — 10,000, marathon (he won Olympic bronze in Rio as a marathon rookie, and he was fifth in the 10,000)

Devon Allen — 110 hurdles (won as a collegian)

Evan Jager — 3,000 steeplechase (his fifth consecutive U.S. title preceded a silver medal run in the Rio Olympics)

Ryan Crouser — shot put

English Gardner — 100

OTHER BIG PRO YEARS

Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers — All-NBA second team honors went to Portland’s 6-3 guard out of Weber State. He averaged 25.1 points per game in his fourth pro season. Lillard received the Harry Glickman Pro Athlete of the Year Award for men at the Oregon Sports Awards in June.TRIBUNE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Damian Lillard's play helped the Trail Blazers reach the second round of the 2016 NBA playoffs.

CJ McCollum, Trail Blazers — The NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2015-16, Portland’s 6-3 shooting guard went from 6.8 points per game as a second-year pro to 20.8.

Tobin Heath, Thorns — A midfielder from Basking Ridge, N.J., she was voted the USA’s best women’s soccer player in 2016.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans — The second-year NFL QB from the U of O had the Titans in playoff contention when he suffered a broken leg Dec. 24 against Jacksonville.

Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins — The seventh-year NFL defensive lineman from Grant High was named to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time.

LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots — The 30-year-old former Ducks running back set a team record for single-season touchdowns.

Paul Chelimo, track and field — The Kenya-born, Portland-based runner claimed an Olympic silver medal in the 5,000 meters.

Francine Niyonsaba, track and field — A member of Oregon Track Club Elite, she won silver for Burundi in the Rio Olympic Games.

Kim Hill, volleyball — The 6-4 former Portland Christian High athlete, 27, was a key member of the top-ranked U.S. team that earned bronze in the Olympics.COURTESY: USA VOLLEYBALL - Kim Hill, from Portland Christian High, starred for the medal-winning U.S. Olympic women's volleyball team.

Christine Sinclair, Thorns — The former Portland Piots star captained Canada to bronze in the 2016 Olympics and was named her country’s top women’s soccer player for the 13th time in 17 years.

Sophie Schmidt, Canada soccer — Another ex-UP standout, she helped Canada to its third-place finish in Rio.

Mariel Zagunis — The fencer from Beaverton, a two-time Olympic champion in women’s sabre, led the U.S. to a team bronze in Rio.

Diego Valeri, Timbers — Portland’s top scorer in a playoff-less 2016, the Argentine midfielder had 14 goals and seven assists in 30 MLS games.

Fanendo Adi, Timbers — The 6-4 forward from Nigeria led Portland and tied for fifth in MLS with 16 goals in 33 league matches.

Sam Riddle, Linfield football — The All-American senior quarterback from Century High was runner-up for player of the year honors in NCAA Division III football.

Adin Hill, Winterhawks — The goalie from Calgary posted a 32-26 record in goal for the 2015-16 Hawks, with a .916 save percentage and 2.96 goals against average.

Dominic Turgeon, Winterhawks — A center from Cherry Hills, Colo., he was the top producer on offense for Portland in 2015-16, notching 36 goals (first on team) and 34 assists (third) for 70 points.

TOP PRO COACHES

Vin Lananna, USA track and field — As head of the U.S. Olympic men’s team, he helped the U.S. men and women dominate in Rio, where the squad won 32 medals, including 13 gold. Kenya was second in medals with 13. Kenya and Jamaica tied for second in golds with six apiece.

To top off a huge year, Lananna was voted president of USA Track & Field.

Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers — Stotts, then 58, finished second to Golden State’s Steve Kerr in NBA coach of the year voting.

Mark Parsons, Thorns — The 30-year-old Brit was named National Women’s Soccer League coach of the year after Portland’s 12-3-5 regular season.

Harry Marra, track and field — The Oregon Track Club Elite multi-events coach, whose pupils include Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton, was honored in 2016 with the IAAF Coaching Achievement Award.

Jerry Schumacher, track and field — Based in Portland, Schumacher is head coach of the Bowerman Track Club and guides such standout runners as Shalane Flanagan, Evan Jager, Ryan Hill and Amy Clagg. He was named FloTrack American Distance Coach of the Year.

TOP COLLEGE TEAMS

Oregon men’s golf — The Ducks upset top-seeded Texas in the match-play finals to win the NCAA Division I championship at Eugene Country Club. It was Oregon’s first national title in the sport. The sixth-seeded Ducks also knocked off No. 2 Illinois and No. 3 LSU en route to the title round.COURTESY: UNIVERSITY OF OREGON - The Oregon Ducks, coached by Casey Martin (right), claimed the NCAA men's golf championship at Eugene Country Club.

Oregon women’s cross country — The No. 12 Ducks became the lowest-ranked team ever to win the NCAA title, beating Michigan by one point in Terre Haute, Ind.

Oregon men’s and women’s indoor track and field — The Ducks swept the national championship meet in Birmingham, Ala. It was the sixth crown in seven years for the UO women and the third title in a row for the Men of Oregon. Thirty-five Ducks were All-Americans, including 27 on the first team.

Oregon men’s and women’s outdoor track and field — The Ducks won both Pac-12 titles for the eighth year in a row. It was the 10th consecutive first-place trophy for the Duck men.

Oregon softball — The Ducks won the Pac-12 for the fourth year in a row. They were 20-4 in conference play. UCLA took second at 16-5-1. Oregon led the league in runs, hits, home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and more.

Portland men’s soccer — The Pilots claimed the West Coast Conference championship and made the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Eastern Oregon football — The fourth-ranked Mountaineers went 10-3 and made it to the NAIA semifinals, knocking off the No. 1-ranked defending champs, Marian, 17-0 on its home field in Indiana.

Linfield football — The Wildcats won the Northwest Conference for a record eighth year in a row and went 9-2 for their 61st consecutive winning season. Both losses came to eventual national champion Mary Hardin-Baylor. Linfield was ranked seventh in the nation.COURTESY: UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND - The Portland Pilots men's soccer team won the West Coast Conference championship.

TOP COLLEGE ATHLETES

U.S. champion

Devon Allen, Oregon track and field — The Phoenix native won the Olympic Trials 110 hurdles (then finished fifth in the Rio Games). Allen also won the NCAA 60 hurdles indoor crown and the NCAA 110 outdoor title, before returning to the football team as a wide receiver.TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: DAVID BLAIR - Devon Allen of Oregon made it to the Olympic finals in Rio de Janeiro as the U.S. champion in the 110-meter hurdles.

NCAA champions

Edward Cheserek, Oregon track and field/cross country — At the NCAA indoor championships, the senior from Newwark, N.J., won the 3,000 and 5,000 and ran on Oregon’s victorious distance medley relay. Outdoors, he added NCAA titles at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, giving him 15 overall NCAA championships (five outdoors, seven indoors, three in cross country), which tied the NCAA record set by Sleiman Nyambui of Texas-El Paso.

Ariana Washington, Oregon track and field — As a redshirt freshman from Signal Hill, Calif., she won the NCAA outdoors 100 and 200.

Aaron Wise, Oregon men’s golf — A sophomore from Lake Elsinore, Calif., he won the NCAA individual championship by two strokes, then helped the Ducks claim the team title with a 3-0 record in match play. Wise turned pro after the college season.

Final Four participants

Jamie Weisner, Ruth Hamblin and Sydney Wiese, Oregon State women’s basketball — The Beavers’ Big Three led OSU to the national semifinals, Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles, 32-5 overall record and No. 7 national ranking.

Weisner, a guard from Clarkston, Wash., was an All-American and Pac-12 player of the year. She was named the Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year at the Oregon Sports Awards in June.

Hamblin, a center from Houston, British Columbia, set school career and single-season rebounding records. They then went Nos. 17 and 18, respectively, in the WNBA.

Wiese, a senior guard this season from Phoenix, broke the Pac-12 record for career 3-pointers as the Beavers went 10-1 in 2016 nonconference games.

Elite Eight standout

Dillon Brooks, Oregon men’s basketball — The 6-7 sophomore from Ontario, Canada, averaged a team-high 16.7 points per game in helping the Ducks get to the NCAA Elite Eight, win the Pac-12 regular-season and tourney championships, go 31-7, and finish fifth and sixth in the national rankings.

OTHER BIG COLLEGE YEARS

Raevyn Rogers, Oregon track and field — The sophomore from Houston captured an NCAA indoor title in the 800 meters.

Ryan Nall, Oregon State football — The sophomore from Central Catholic High led the Beavers to a 34-24 win over Oregon with four rushing touchdowns. He ran for a team-high 951 yards (6.5 average) and had a team-best 15 TDs, 13 on the ground, two receiving.

Alex Kuresa, Cam Keizur, Xavier Coleman, Portland State football — Senior QB Kuresa, from Millville, Utah, was the Vikings’ leader and biggest threat on offense. He led the Vikings in rushing (858 yards, 10 TDs) and passing (2,137 yards 12 TDs). Keizur, a senior offensive lineman from West Linn High, and Coleman, a senior defensive back from Jesuit High, made the all-Big Sky team.

Jillian Alleyne, Oregon women’s basketball — A 6-3 forward from Fontana, Calif., she averaged 19.0 points and 13.6 rebounds per game in her final season. She climbed to No. 2 all-time in NCAA women’s basketball with 92 double-doubles and third in rebounds (1,712), despite suffering an ACL injury on Feb. 23. She then was the No. 20 pick in the WNBA draft.

Eddie Sanchez, Portland men’s soccer — The senior forward/midfielder from Canby High was named West Coast Conference player of the year after helping the Pilots won the league title. He totaled six goals and seven assists in 18 games and was chosen a third-team All-American.

Koral Costa, Nikki Udria, Cheridan Hawkins and Janelle Lindvall, Oregon softball — The Ducks’ many stars of 2016 included Costa, a senior center fielder out of San Pedro, Calif., who was a first-team All-American and hit a team-best .412. Udria, a junior shortstop from Covina, Calif., who batted .408 with a team-high 17 home runs, made the A-A second team. Hawkins, a senior from Anderson, Calif., was the Pac-12 pitcher of the year for the third time and was third-team All-America. Catcher Lindvall, a senior from Stevenson Ranch, Calif., was the conference’s defensive player of the year.

Gary Payton II, Oregon men’s basketball — The guard from Seattle finished his two-year Beavers career with 16.0 points per game as a senior, making the all-Pac-12 team and earning honorable mention All-America status. He won the Bill Hayward Amateur Athlete of the Year Award for me at the annual Oregon Sports Awards in June.

Alec Wintering, Portland men’s basketball — As a junior point guard, the native of Charlotte, N.C., was all-WCC and third in league scoring (20.6 points per game). He then helped the Pilots go 7-5 in 2016 nonconference play, averaging 21.5 points, 6.1 assists and 4.8 rebounds.

Logan Ice, Oregon State baseball — As a sophomore catcher from Puyallup, Wash., he was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, then went in the second round of the MLB draft to Cleveland.

Lucia Butkovska, Portland women’s tennis — The senior from Slovakia was all-WCC in singles and ranked 68th in the nation.

Michail Pervolarakis, Portland men’s tennis — In his sophomore season, the Cyprus native was all-WCC in singles and doubles.

Blake Cooper, Warner Pacific wrestling — The freshman from Pearl City, Hawaii, won a national title for the Knights in the NAIA 165-pound division

OTHER MEMORABLE COLLEGE EFFORTS

Sulman Raza, Oregon men’s golf — A junior from South Eugene High, he sank a pressure-packed 6-foot par putt on the third playoff hole to give the Ducks the NCAA title — and trigger a rush onto the green by Oregon fans at Eugene Country Club.

Maggie Schmaedick, Oregon women’s cross country — Her heroics enabled the Ducks to win the NCAA championship. A former Sheldon High runner, she was Oregon’s final scorer in the national championship meet — and made a gutsy, stirring push at the end to edge Michigan’s last scorer by one-tenth of a second, giving the Ducks the crown by one point, 125-126, in the closest finish in event history.

TOP COLLEGE COACHES

Scott Rueck, Oregon State women’s basketball — In his sixth season with the Beavers, Rueck guided Oregon State to a Final Four game against perennial champion Connecticut. He was runner-up for national coach of the year. Rueck was honored as the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year at the Oregon Sports Awards.TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon State's Scott Rueck coached the Beavers to the NCAA women's basketball Final Four.

Dana Altman, Oregon men’s basketball — The sixth-year Ducks coach took them to the Elite Eight, improving his UO record to 154-64. Then, the 2016-17 team knocked off No. 2 UCLA and started 12-2.

Gary Andersen, Oregon State football — In his second year at the helm, OSU improved from 2-10 to 4-8 and snapped a eighth-year losing streak to Oregon, squashing the Ducks 34-24 at Reser Stadium.

Casey Martin, Oregon men’s golf — The Eugene native and former PGA Tour pro led the Ducks to the national championship.

Robert Johnson, Oregon track and field — Since taking over as coach of the Ducks in 2012, his teams haven’t lost a Pac-12 championship meet.

Maurica Powell, Oregon cross country — A Boston-area native, Powell guided the Ducks women to the NCAA championship.

Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State men’s basketball — With Gary Payton II and son Tres Tinkle leading the way, the Beavers reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 26 years and finished 19-13.

Mike White, Oregon softball — The skipper’s potent Ducks won their fourth consecutive Pac-12 title and were seeded fifth in the national playoffs. They lost to UCLA in a Super Regional and finished 48-10.

TOP PREP TEAMS

State champions

Jesuit boys swimming

Jesuit girls swimming 

Jesuit softball

Jesuit boys tennis

Catlin Gabel girls tennis

Oregon Episcopal School boys tennis 

Catlin Gabel boys track and field

Central Catholic boys cross country 

Jesuit girls cross country

Catlin Gabel girls cross country 

Central Catholic volleyball 

Oregon Episcopal School girls soccer 

Catlin Gabel boys soccer

MEMORABLE PREP YEARS

Jasiah Williams, Jefferson wrestling

Osawaru Odighizuwa, David Douglas wrestling

Sid Farber, Lincoln swimming

Geno West, Jefferson boys basketball

Kate Anderson, Jesuit girls basketball

Ella Donaghu, Grant track and field 

Harrison Schrage, Grant track and field

Julian Body, Jesuit track and field 

Bess Waldram, Jesuit tennis 

Dylan King, Grant boys tennis 

Lara Rakocevic, Catlin Gabel girls tennis 

Trey Lowe, Jesuit football

Demetrius Douglas, Jesuit football 

Maddie Batiste, Matalasi Laban, Central Catholic volleyball

OTHER BIG NEWS IN 2016

TrackTown USA — The Eugene-based organization, led by Vin Lananna, continued to lead the way in U.S. track and field. Portland played host to the U.S. and IAAF world indoor championships, both held at the Oregon Convention Center. It was the first world indoor championships in the U.S. since 1987. Hayward Field was the site of the NCAA championships and Olympic Trials.

Rose City Rollers — The Portland roller derby club’s all-star team, Wheels of Justice, came from behind in the final match at Memorial Coliseum to win the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association international championship for the second straight year.

Mike Johnston — After a stint with the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins, Johnston returned to the Portland Winterhawks, taking over as coach, general manager and vice president.

Willie Taggart — Good-bye, Mark Helfrich. Hello, Mr. “The Dream is free, but the Hustle is sold separately.” After a trouble-filled, 4-8 season, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and his supporting cast of searchers found their new football coach at South Florida.

Jane Sanders Stadium — The University of Oregon opened its $17.2 million facility for softball on the site of the former Howe Field.

Val Cleary — Portland State hired Cleary as its new athletic director. She replaced Mark Rountree, who left to be deputy AD to former Oregon State AD Todd Stansbury at Georgia Tech.

Scott Barnes — OSU plucked the 54-year-old Barnes from the University of Pittsburgh to fill Todd Stansbury’s AD seat.

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Vin Lananna had a huge year that inlcuded bringing two indoor championship meets to Portland, leading the U.S. Olympics men in Rio, and taking over as president of USA Track & Field.