Year in review: Forest Grove boys soccer leads the way
Pitch perfect? Not quite, but any conversation about this past year's athletic success at Forest Grove High School has to start with Vikings boys soccer.
For the second consecutive season, the Viks made it all the way to the state semifinals before losing a heartbreaker — this year at the hands of Summit High School in Bend.
The two teams fought to a scoreless tie through both regulation and two overtime periods before Summit ultimately won in penalty kicks.
"It's tough because you're so close to the championship," Forest Grove head coach Gracey Mosquera said after the loss. "But what a tough team. They're very physically fit, aggressive, big ... they know their game, but I'm really proud of my players. They did an amazing job and we gave it our all, so there is nothing to regret."
Forest Grove finished the year 13-3-2 and defeated David Douglas, Central Catholic and Centennial before again falling just short of their goal of a state championship. However, Vikings standout defenseman Alejandro Sanchez was proud and extremely gracious in defeat, despite the emotion of another heartbreaking loss.
"We fought to the very last whistle, and I'm proud of every single one of these boys," Sanchez said. "We started off the season a little slow, but we got to where we wanted — it just came down to penalties, which are 50/50, and it didn't work out. They're a very great team and congrats to Summit."
Mosquera echoed Sanchez's sentiments and put things in the proper perspective for a team he could only be proud of.
"We accomplished a lot," he said. "But there is only one out of 51 teams that gets to be champion. You can see that we are a contender, and anyone that's going to beat us is going to have to work really hard.
"I'm 100% behind my guys, and this is just the beginning."
In addition to boys soccer, the Vikings girls swim team made a little history of their own, producing the school's first-ever undefeated season in conference duals, claiming the Pacific Conference dual season title.
"It means everything, and it's why we do it," said Forest Grove head coach Tabor Waterstreet following the Viks' title-clinching win over archrival McMinnville. "It's why we put days, hours and pain in the pool, because you always want to make history. We performed exactly like I was hoping we would, and like we trained and prepared to. McMinnville was our biggest team to beat this year, so it feels pretty damn good."
Not to be forgotten, Vikings boys basketball had a stellar year, finishing 19-6 overall and second to Sherwood in the Pacific Conference.
Forest Grove — led by first-team All-Conference guard Guy Littlefield — qualified for the state playoffs before losing to state power West Linn 41-38 in the opening round. Despite the loss, the team's players and coaches couldn't deny the success they'd had over what turned out to be a historic year.
"I'm not happy with how it ended, but overall I couldn't be happier," said senior post Ayden Purcell. "I love playing with every guy on this team, and we had one of the most successful years in this school's history based on wins and losses. I definitely learned things this season that I'll carry with me far beyond the basketball court."
Also making their mark were individuals Quincy Norman, Dominic Funk, Levi Jorgensen and Ivan Torres, who all placed high at their respective sports' state meets.
Norman placed third at the OSAA State Cross Country Championships in Eugene this past November.
"I executed exactly as I wanted to throughout the first two miles, and once I got there, I was going to reassess on what moves I should make, and I ended up laying back," Norman said. "I felt I could make another push to win it in the last 400 meters, but it didn't work out and I allowed the two runners who beat me to enter onto the track in front of me, and that was the difference."
Norman ends his cross country career at Forest Grove with two third-place finishes at state after placing third his sophomore season.
Funk finished second in the javelin at the state meet last May, Jorgensen placed fifth in the 100 freestyle, and Torres placed fifth at the state wrestling meet, winning four straight matches after dropping his opener.
"I was out for three weeks with a knee injury (and) only had two weeks to prepare, so honestly I was surprised by my performance," Torres said. "I've been wrestling for four years and to make it to the state tournament for three of them, it's a great accomplishment for me."
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