Year in review: Hilhi girls lead the way
It was nearly all girls, all the time at Hillsboro High School this past season, with young women claiming a wrestling state title, a league softball championship and both the soccer and basketball teams advancing to the state playoffs — among others.
Freshman wrestler Ayana Medina led the way for the Spartans, staking her claim to the 105-pound title at the OSAA Girls State Wrestling Championships this past February at the Memorial Coliseum.
Medina defeated Century's Nimo Sheikh by major decision in the final after deciding a week earlier that wrestling in the girls division would be more beneficial than competing with the boys — for which she had qualified.
"I wish I could've wrestled with the boys, but I knew I could make it farther in the girls division ... and I think I made the right decision," Medina said. "I was shooting for it, but definitely didn't picture myself accomplishing this. I'm so overwhelmed. I can't believe I just did that, but I couldn't have done it without my team."
The freshman wasn't the only one impressed with her performance. Hilhi head coach Stephen Moreno had nothing but pride for his young athlete shortly after.
"I couldn't be more excited about the direction and vision of that young lady right there," Moreno said. "Ayana has had a goal all year long and followed through. Nimo (Sheikh) is an amazing opponent and a competitor who's difficult for Ayana because she's so dynamic, but she learned from her previous mistakes and wrestled a great match."
The Spartans' Rena French followed closely in Medina's footsteps at the state swimming championships, also in February, when the senior placed second at the 5A state meet in the 50 yard freestyle. French was joined by senior Nathan Claxton, who had two top-five finishes, placing third in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 backstroke.
"I worked my way up," Claxton said with a chuckle. "Sophomore year I was fifth, last year fourth, and now this year third, so I'm psyched."
Hilhi's Eric Gongora competed in two para-athletes events, finishing second in the Mixed 50 Yard Freestyle (47.56) and first in the 100 Yard Freestyle with a time of 1:49.00.
On the softball diamond, the Sparts left little doubt while claiming a Northwest Oregon Conference title, going 17-0 en route to a 27-2 overall record and trip to the state semifinals, where they fell 7-4 to Dallas.
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