Year in review: Century's year full of highs and lows
It was a bittersweet year for the Jaguars in 2019. While there was success in many areas on the field, Century suffered a heartbreaking loss off of it with the passing of former student and lacrosse standout Rumer Morrison to cancer.
The 2018 graduate passed away this past August, and this past October, the Century and Oregon lacrosse community celebrated her life on the field with a game in her honor.
"The reason we're playing this game is it's going to bring people together," University of Portland lacrosse coach Tom O'Connor said before the game. "There's already been a celebration of life to celebrate Rumer the person, the daughter, the friend — but this is to celebrate Rumer the lacrosse player."
Friends, family, coaches, and even her former competitors participated in the game. Afterward, everyone shared stories of a bright light gone too soon. Even in the wake of such a tragedy, those closest to Rumer drew strength from the person they could only have felt fortunate to have known.
"I really cherished the times I was able to spend one-on-one with her because we never got tired of each other's company," Rumer's best friend Colby Haga said. "I love and miss her so much, but I know that she will be with me forever."
On the field, or court in this case, the Century girls basketball team finished 18-8 overall and finished tied for third in the Pacific Conference. The Jags qualified for the state playoffs and defeated St. Mary's Academy before losing a second-round game to eventual state champion Benson. Head coach David Gainey marveled at the Techmen in the wake of the loss.
"They're good on film, but when you see them in person, it's like, 'Wow,'" said the coach.
The Century season could only have been considered a success, and Gainey was optimistic about what that success could mean to this year's team.
"The league should be pretty good, but I think our kids believe now," he said following the game. "Which is what I was hoping would happen."
In the pool, Century senior Luke Thornbrue picked right up where he left off his freshman year, winning state championships in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle.
Thornbrue, who's now at Notre Dame swimming for the Fighting Irish, chose not to swim his sophomore and junior seasons to focus on his club team. He did, however, return with a vengeance, impressively claiming both titles, including breaking his own state record.
"It was exciting coming back a couple years later and breaking that record again," said the senior. "It was really cool. It reminds me a lot of my freshman year when it was so exciting. I've just been swimming club for the last few years, so it's fun to be back."
On the mat, Century had a number of impressive performances at state, including Nimo Sheikh, who placed second. Lilliann Restrepo also placed second, losing in the final to Grant Union's Trinity Hutchison 5-1.
On the boys side, the Jags had six qualifiers, three of whom placed. Ernesto Alvarez placed sixth (152), senior Loudyn Reese placed fifth (195) and his younger brother, sophomore Brody, placed third in the heavyweight division after a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss, defeating No. 1-seeded Jacob Barnes of McMinnville in the third-place match.
"I'm happy, but I know I could've done better and that I should've been in that final," said Reese. "I could've wrestled smarter and maybe worked a little harder in the training room, but this definitely inspires me for next year, and I'm already looking forward to and am fired up for next season."
Last but not least, the Jaguars baseball team had a phenomenal year, winning the Pacific Conference and finishing 23-6 overall.
The Jags entered the state playoffs as the No. 2 seed and won a first-round game over Sandy before losing in the second round to Central Catholic. It was a disappointing end to what had been a historic Century season, but head coach Mason Wright wasn't about to let his guys think negatively about what was an otherwise great year.
"I always try to remind guys at the end of seasons that this game's not going to define who they are as individuals," said the coach. "It feels that way in the moment, but these guys have so much to be proud of. Hopefully, down the road, they can reflect on that positively, and I think they will."
As a result of their regular season, the Jags were honored with eight players on the all-league team, while Micky Thompson was selected the conference pitcher of the year and his coach, Wright, was named conference coach of the year.
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