Ashland celebrates second straight state championship

The Ashland High boys water polo team is making a habit of parading down Main Street in November.

In celebration of their second straight Oregon High School Water Polo Association 5A state championship, the team was treated to a ride Tuesday on an Ashland Fire & Rescue truck from the high school through downtown.

"The firemen compared to last year were heavy on the horns and sirens," Ashland fifth-year coach Christi Gilmore said. "It was loud. It was awesome."

Ashland won the championship Nov. 14 at the Tualatin Parks & Recreation Aquatics Center. The Grizzlies defeated Park Rose of Portland, the same team they beat in the title match last season, 11-10.

It wasn't easy.

The match came down to the final seconds, when Alex Harris made a steal and passed the ball to Willis Plummer, who threw down to Forrest Kollar for the game-winning goal with just 22 ticks remaining in regulation.

Kollar and Adam Good, the only sophomores on the team (the rest of the players are seniors), had three goals apiece to lead the Grizzlies, who trailed 9-6 at halftime. Ashland rallied despite losing team captain Lucas Opgenorth in the third quarter after he was disqualified with three defensive fouls.

In the semifinal match Nov. 13, Ashland cruised to a 20-7 victory over Summit High of Bend 20-7. Wynn Michael led the way with five goals, while Kollar, Good and Jake Gavin added three goals apiece. Plummer had eight saves in goal.

Unlike last season, when the Grizzlies relied on star player Robin Haase, a German exchange student, Ashland used a balance effort to bring home the title this season, Gilmore said.

"This was the first year I've ever had a team that was just a solid, working machine," she said. "Everybody works well together. They're all just very, very good at what they do."

The Ashland girls water polo team finished second in state, losing 16-9 to Park Rose in the 5A final.

Smith Freeman and Kalli Walker were selected to the all-state first team, and Carley Santee was named all-state first team goalie.

Gilmore credited Walker for rounding up enough players to make up a team at the beginning of the season, when it appeared there wouldn't be one this year.

"So this 'just-for-fun' team that wasn't even existent on Sept. 1 made it all the way to the state final," Gilmore said.

Jacy Mairf, a member of the all-state second team, provided vital team leadership throughout the season, Gilmore said.

Share This Story