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While the football team dropped a year ago, the rest of the Cougar contingent arrives in Class 5A this fall

There's plenty of "new" coming to the Canby High athletic scene once fall sports gets ramped up at the end of August.

There's a new classification the Cougars will play in (Class 5A), new improvements to athletic facilities at the school, and new opportunities to compete and succeed.

The drop in classification has provided an exciting window into a different high school athletics dimension, and Athletic Director Ben Winegar is looking forward to seeing what will transpire. The Cougar athletic programs will compete in the Northwest Oregon Conference with Wilsonville, Parkrose, Centennial, Hillsboro, Hood River Valley, LaSalle Prep, Putnam, Milwaukie and Milwaukie Academy of the Arts.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Canby High School has made the move to the 5A classification and will get things rolling this fall.

The Cougar football team will play in 5A Special District 1 with Centennial, Forest Grove, HIllsboro, Hood River Valley, Putnam, Southridge and Wilsonville.

"Every league, every classification has its own personality, especially in regard to leadership," Winegar said. "This league (NWOC) has been really interested in working with us, and each other, in terms of helping and working out solutions to problems that may arise, or before they come.

"It's two big changes — a different classification and a new league, but one thing people will notice, especially in our nonleague schedules, you'll see a lot of the same opponents," he added.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Athletics at Canby High School won't be the only thing impacted by the move to Class 5A, as choir, band and other programs will compete in a new league.

Winegar said one thing the drop to 5A has done is make it more comfortable reaching down into 4A for potential opponents. Some schools in the league don't have full programs, so there is a need to seek out teams that can fill those holes when they appear. Leading into the start of the fall season, Winegar said the league has done a good job of filling those needs when they arise.

While the Cougars football team has a year's worth of experience at 5A, the rest of the programs will sail on their maiden voyage in the classification this fall. Winegar said he senses excitement at what the unknown may provide.

"I think everyone, in general, has no preconceived ideas about the teams," he said. "When you've been in these leagues for a long time, there's a tendency to play the team before the game. But now, there are no expectations based on the past. These are new teams we will be playing and that allows us to get back to focusing on ourselves and getting better and just go play and compete.

"The Three Rivers was a tough league, but now we're in a situation that could provide us with a chance to have our kids really compete and succeed," Winegar said. "I think everyone's excited about it."

Winegar added that with the addition of a multiuse turf field, as well as infield turf on both the baseball and softball fields (and new lights), there's a lot of exciting things happening at Canby High School as the Cougars head into their 5A experience.

There will be free athletic physicals available from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at Canby High School. The first day of fall sports practices will be Aug. 15.

More information is available at

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