Wildcats produce two semifinalist soccer teams, two state-qualifying cross-country teams and a record-breaking running back

by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Senior goalkeeper Bess Kitzmiller (left) makes a play on the ball Oct. 17 at Randall Stadium, where the Wilsonville girls soccer team shut out rival Sherwood for the first time since 2006.After a fall that included a playoff football team, two semifinalist soccer teams and two state-qualifying cross-country teams, the Spokesman looks back at the top 10 stories from the past season at Wilsonville High School:

Football: Wilsonville defense shuts down Parkrose (Sept. 13)

The Parkrose football team had turned heads in its first two games of the season, racking up a combined 79 points as breakout quarterback Jonathan Boland threw for a whopping 747 yards.

Then Wilsonville weighed in.

With a performance that exemplified their season-long defensive prowess, the Wildcats held the Broncos to one touchdown in a 42-6 rout at home Sept. 13.

Senior running back Derek Sunkle took care of the offense, rushing for 250 yards and three touchdowns while throwing for another score.

But Wilsonville’s defense was an equally powerful force.

It limited Boland to an 8-for-26, 142-yard outing while recording five interceptions, two each by Matt Kelly and Charlie Stapleton and one by Grant LaBar. And it stifled Parkrose’s running game, giving up just 101 yards.

“We just fly around and have the mentality of a beast,” senior linebacker Cooper Whittaker said at the time. “We go crazy. We just get after it. We feed off each other. It’s high energy. It’s everyone going crazy.”

The Wildcats held seven different opponents to 14 points or fewer, limiting five of those teams to seven points or fewer. Not including their loss to Sherwood, they gave up an average of just 15 points per game.

Volleyball: Wildcats tops Sherwood for first time in five years (Sept. 17)

It was a sign that this was going to be a special season for the Wilsonville volleyball team.

The Wildcats had not swept Sherwood since 2007. They hadn’t defeated the Bowmen since 2008. They hadn’t even taken a set from their rival since 2010.

But with their commanding 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-17) shutout victory at home Sept. 17, they put a woeful stretch of futility to rest.

Wilsonville snapped a nine-match series losing streak, boosting the confidence of a program that had won just four of its 14 league matches last season.

Lexy Thompson and Hailey Hayes each had nine kills to lead the Wildcats, while Madi Wardle, Rebecca Wenz and Genna Florig each added eight in a balanced scoring effort.

Wilsonville also logged 13 aces, an example of the success they had from the serving line under first-year coach Kristen Rott.

The win over Sherwood was significant in another way, too. The Wildcats fell behind 9-3 in the first set and trailed 22-16 in the second set, overcoming the deficits both times and demonstrating the come-from-behind ability that bolstered the team all season.

Girls soccer: Wilsonville notches nine goals in rout of St. Helens (Oct. 10)

The Wilsonville girls soccer team averaged 2.29 goals per game this year. What it did against St. Helens, then, was far from average.

The Wildcats exploded for nine goals against a team that was ranked No. 12 in Class 5A at the time, scoring a single-match season high Oct. 10 at Randall Stadium.

The victory was significant in several ways.

It highlighted Wilsonville’s offensive diversity. Savannah Stehman and Sophie Gossack each scored two goals, and five other players each added one.

It was part of a key seven-match winning streak for the Wildcats, who ended up winning the Northwest Oregon Conference championship for the second year in a row.

It was the program’s 10th-straight win over the Lions dating back to 2006, Wilsonville outscoring them 53-7 during that span.

And it was the latest in a string of prolific scoring outings by the Wildcats over the last eight years. They also scored nine goals on three occasions in 2006 and accomplished the feat once in a shutout of Hillsboro in 2007.

They notched eight goals once in 2008 and again in 2009. In 2010, they found the back of the net 10 times in a win over Parkrose and scored nine in a play-in win over Portland-Madison. In 2011, they exploded for 11 goals against Madison and crushed Pendleton 9-0 in a play-in game.

Last season, they secured a league title with eight goals in their regular-season finale against Milwaukie.

Wilsonville finished with 39 goals, tying Parkrose for second in the conference behind Sherwood (43).

Cross-country: Rawlings breaks school record (Oct. 11)

At the beginning of the season, Wilsonville cross-country coach David Barkley called Taryn Rawlings a dragon slayer.

And the star senior lived up to her billing.

In a competitive race Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course, she became the first female athlete in program history to crack the 18-minute mark with a 17:59.7.

Rawlings smashed the previous school record of 18:25, which was set by Meslissa Brown in 2004.

Despite dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, Rawlings also finished the final fall season of her prep career with her third district title in four years.

She clocked a time of 19 minutes 38.0 seconds at the Northwest Oregon Conference finals Oct. 23 to defeat Liberty sophomore Rachel Khaw for the second-straight season.

Rawlings also won district titles in her freshman and junior campaigns, placing third as a sophomore. She posted top-10 finishes at the state meet four times.

Girls soccer: Wildcats shut out Sherwood for first time since 2006 (Oct. 17)

Last year’s edition of the Wilsonville girls soccer team had the honor of defeating Sherwood for the first time since 2006.

This year’s squad proved it was no fluke.

The Bowmen entered the rivalry meeting with the No. 1 ranking in Class 5A and with a nine-match unbeaten streak during which they outscored opponents 28-5, but the Wildcats held them scoreless in a 2-0 victory Oct. 17 at Randall Stadium.

It was Wilsonville’s first shutout of Sherwood since 2006.

In the 6th minute, junior Riley Johnson anticipated a rebound of junior Ali Bourque’s free kick from about 30 yards out and knocked the ball past Bowmen goalkeeper Madison Reimer.

Bourque earned another free kick from a similar spot in the 21st minute after Sherwood freshman Cameron Greene was penalized with a yellow card. This time, Bourque’s ball swung around the Bowmen wall and found its way into the net.

Bourque and other players made sure not to get too emotional after the game, acknowledging that last year’s win over Sherwood was followed by an early exit in the playoffs.

This season, Wilsonville reached the state semifinals for the second time in three years.

Cross-country: Wilsonville wins fourth-straight NWOC title on boys side (Oct. 23)

At what point is it called a dynasty?

Despite graduating all five of last year’s scorers, the Wilsonville boys cross-country team captured its fourth-consecutive Northwest Oregon Conference championship at the Oct. 23 district meet at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.

The Wildcats tallied 49 points to beat Liberty (65) and Sherwood (74).

Wilsonville won with five runners in the top 16. Josh Meyer took fourth place with a time of 17 minutes 15.8 seconds, Alex Tomlinson was seventh in 17:51.1 and Carlos Villagomez followed him in eighth at 17:51.3. Zach Uselman (14th, 18:17.1) and Kody Wilde (16th, 18:23.6) rounded out the team score.

Their achievements extended a marvelous streak for the Wildcats.

In 2010, the quintet of Akiharu Kitagawa, Adam Tomlinson, Chris Walsh, Ty James and Sam Collins won the NWOC team title. In 2011, Kitagawa, James, Collins, Ben Thomas and Milo Perkins earned Wilsonville a repeat title. Last year, James, Thomas, Perkins, Collins and Branden Fitzke all finished in the top seven to seize the three-peat.

With an entirely different lineup this season, the Wildcats did it again.

Boys soccer: Bonnell scores four goals to lift Wildcats at Putnam (Oct. 23)

Opposing defenses often paid special attention to Timmy Bourque this year, and Garrett Bonnell was just fine with that.

Alongside Bourque — the eventual Northwest Oregon Conference player of the year — the standout sophomore gave the Wilsonville boys soccer team another talented scorer on the attack.

Arguably Bonnell’s best match of the season was a 6-2 win over defending league champion Putnam on the road Oct. 23, when he erupted for four goals — all in the first half.

Bonnell tied the record for single-game production in coach Ian Reschke’s tenure, matching the quartet of goals that Nick Pinto scored in the program’s 2011 win at St. Helens.

Bonnell showed signs of his scoring skills in the Wildcats’ season-opening win over West Linn, firing a laser into the net from about 25 yards out on a strike that Reschke praised as one of the best goals he’s seen at any level.

Bonnell received first-team all-league honors in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

“As a freshman last year, Garrett’s skill was never in doubt, but he needed to get a little size and speed to compete with players two to four years older than him,” Reschke said at the end of the season. “Garrett worked very hard in the offseason to get himself where he needed to be physically this year. It paid off, as he was a large part of our offensive game. If we don’t lose him to the (Portland) Timbers academy team next year, he will need to help carry on what this team had going this year.”

Football: Sunkle breaks Wilsonville’s single-season rushing record (Oct. 25)

The Wilsonville football program’s record for rushing yards in a season now belongs to an athlete who had negative yardage on the ground a season ago.

Derek sunkle, who served as a backup quarterback in 2012, exploded onto the scene this year as one of the top running backs in the state.

The senior finished with 1,888 yards, crushing the Wildcats’ previous record of 1,392, and also racked up 14 touchdowns on 255 carries.

Sunkle eclipsed the previous best in Wilsonville’s comeback win over Sandy as part of his 37-carry, 266-yard performance. He added a season-high 267 yards in the Wildcats’ play-in win over Eagle Point and mustered another 102 yards in their first-round playoff loss to Corvallis-Crescent Valley.

Sunkle was named to the Northwest Oregon Conference all-league first team.

His breaking of the single-season rushing record was made possible in part because of Wilsonville’s multifaceted approach on offense last year, when then-seniors Tanner Shipley and Ryan Walsh shared duties in the backfield. The two combined for 2,088 yards, Shipley tying the previous school record with 1,392 and Walsh adding 696.

This season, Sunkle was the Wildcats’ true workhorse. The team’s second-leading rusher, junior Cole Wilson, had 224 yards.

Volleyball: Wildcats reach quarterfinals in thrilling comeback fashion (Nov. 2)

Entering the fourth set of its first-round playoff game against Corvallis-Crescent Valley, the Wilsonville volleyball team was trailing two-sets-to-one and facing elimination.

And as if the Wildcats’ situation weren’t precarious enough, coach Kristen Rott left abruptly during the fourth frame.

But Wilsonville remained calm and engineered a landmark 3-2 (25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-6) victory, sealing its first playoff win since 2007 and punching a ticket to the Class 5A quarterfinals.

With the final set tied at 3-3, the Wildcats engineered a decisive 10-1 run that included kills by Kyra Austin, Hailey Hayes, Rebecca Wenz and Lexy Thompson, a block and crafty tip by Wenz, an ace by Hayes, another kill by Wenz and a kill by Madi Wardle that made it 13-4.

Wilsonville scored its final two points on a service error by Crescent Valley junior Emily Ashcraft and an attack error by the Raiders.

A testament to their collective poise in the face of adversity, the Wildcats were 4-0 in five-set matches this season. They also needed five games to defeat Parkrose, Liberty and third-ranked St. Helens during league play.

Thompson finished with a team-high 16 kills, Wardle added 11 kills and two aces and Wenz contributed eight kills and two blocks. Hayes (six kills and three blocks), sophomore middle blocker Genna Florig (four kills, four blocks and three aces), Austin (three kills, two aces and two blocks) and sophomore libero Skyler Matthews also made key contributions.

The next day, Rott delivered a baby boy — approximately two months before her due date.

Boys soccer: Wilsonville reaches state semifinals for first time since 2002 (Nov. 9)

The Wilsonville boys soccer team’s reaction to losing a dozen players from last year’s team went something like this: So what?

With a group of relatively unknown but skilled players, a strong work ethic and an underdog mentality, the Wildcats reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2002 in a landmark season under coach Ian Reschke.

They did it by defeating Bend-Mountain View in the first round with a hat trick by senior forward Timmy Bourque and shutting out Silverton in the Nov. 9 quarterfinals thanks to senior midfielder Tyler Martin’s throw-in capabilities.

And they did it on the heels of winning a league title for the first time since leaving the old Tri-Valley League for the Northwest Oregon Conference.

Beyond the program, not much was expected for Wilsonville this year. It graduated 10 seniors from last year, including numerous starters, and lost star forward Rene Hernandez to the Portland Timbers academy. It also played without Jasper Samatowic, an all-league honoree who was not a member of the team this year.

And although the Wildcats lost to eventual state champion Bend-Summit on the road in the semifinals, they put together one of the best campaigns in program history.

As Reschke said at the end of the season, this season’s team will serve as an example to future players for years to come.

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