Spartans fall standouts honored
Despite the lack of a championship, the fall produced a number of Hillsboro High School All-Stars, including 12 football honorees, 12 more boys and girls on the pitch, and three volleyball Spartans honored by the Northwest Oregon Conference.
Both the Spartans boys' and girls' soccer teams made the state playoffs, both finishing fourth after losing in the first round. But despite the early postseason exits, Hillsboro combined to put three players on the All-League first team, five on the second team, and four more on the list of honorable mentions.
The boys were led by two juniors, defenseman Chance Saechao and goalkeeper Pablo Mendoza Osornia, who were first-team selections. Two seniors, forward Salomon Garcia-Ordaz and midfielder Jair Diaz Sanchez, made the second team. In addition, sophomore defender Divan Luie was selected honorable mention.
On the girls' side, sophomore midfielder Taliya Miyama was the Spartans' lone first-teamer, while another sophomore, Emily Mora, and two juniors, forward McKenzie Staub and defender Annika Rahf, were second-team selections. Additionally, senior Morgan Eichstadt, junior Rian Porter and freshman Margaret Shively were all voted honorable mention.
It was a tough year on the volleyball court for the Hillsboro netters, but amidst the youth trying to get a grip on the varsity game were three All-Stars.
Senior Sadie Melendez was a key contributor for Hilhi, and the steady and dependable libero garnered a second-team Northwest Conference selection as a result. In addition to Melendez, fellow seniors Mariah Owen and Lauren Merriam were selected honorable mention for their work, Owen as a setter and Merriam as a defensive specialist.
On the gridiron, the Spartans missed the playoffs but to some extent exceeded expectations due to being on their third coach in as many years. Hilhi finished 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the 5A-SD1-W Special District 1 West Division, finishing fifth. Despite missing the playoffs, Hillsboro had 12 players honored by the league, including two first-teamers, four second-teamers and six honorable mentions.
Senior defensive back Cole Siemon and junior tight end Nate Smith were selected to the first team, while senior defensive lineman Josh O'Neal, senior linebacker Nick Peterson, and O'Neal and Smith again at defensive line and tackle were second-team honorees. In addition, sophomore defensive lineman Slade Shufelt, junior safety Tristin Keffer, junior quarterback Kane Kiaunis, junior punter Jesus Nunez and senior kicker Beni Lacatus were honorable mentions.
Smith led Hilhi with 48 catches for 528 yards and three touchdowns, averaging nearly 60 yards per game. The 6-foot-5 junior also was second on the team in tackles, with 73, while tallying 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.