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Here's what Oregon's high school athletes say about their long-awaited return.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Beaverton's Gabriel Sheaffer (right) and Ryan Mendiola literally jumped for joy after making a play during their home game against Wilsonville on March 12.You know what the past year has been like.

Shuttered schools, virtual church services, closed businesses and the general lockdown of society.

Now, imagine how all that would feel if you were a young, energetic high school athlete who hadn't been allowed to play your sport(s) of choice — or see your friends and teammates — for that same, long 12 months.

Depressing, right?

Well here's what those athletes felt like when they were finally allowed to return to action at the beginning of March.

• Alyvia Embree, Tualatin girls soccer: "I think (the best part is) just all of us being together and being fortunate enough to be out here. … It just kind of lifts your day up, gives you something to do. A lot of people have been … stagnant in their day with COVID and everything so this is just like a little high (in) our day."

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - There's no doubt that Tigard's Spencer Kuffel (left) and Hewitt Sullivan felt a little lighter after competition resumed following more than a year away.• Lilly Herman, Tigard girls cross country: "I was really excited to compete again because I honestly didn't think we were going to have a season this year."

• Pierce Walker, Sunset boys soccer: "There's nothing like playing for your high school. You feel like you're playing for something big and it's just so much fun."

• Rylee Cook, Scappoose girls soccer: "I think we're very lucky to even have this season, and honestly, having competition like this … is fun no matter what."

• Payton Wesson, Tualatin, girls soccer: "Especially for our seniors, we thought we were never going to play a soccer game our senior year and be able to defend (the Three Rivers League title we won) last year."

• Colin Kennedy, Sunset boys soccer: "It feels great to get back on the field. No one was really expecting it to be able to happen so I'm excited for the season. It's gonna be a good one."

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