The Lakeridge boys water polo team knocked on the door last year.
This year, the Pacers want to kick it down.
In 2017, Lakeridge won the Three Rivers League, gave Newberg its first TRL loss in 16 years, beat the Tigers again in a league playoff game, then played their way into the Oregon High School Water Polo state championship for the first time in school history.
But Lakeridge fell to Newberg 9-7 in the title contest — and that just won’t be good enough in 2018.
“(We) will be on the hunt for another exciting run in postseason play,” said Lakeridge coach Morgan Rauch. “After finishing second in state in the 2017 season, the boys have continued to put in dedicated work in the hopes of further developing the depth of the team.”
Even with the graduation of TRL Most Valuable Player Terran Walker, the Pacers look well-armed to challenge again with the return of five all-leaguers — junior Thomas Gooding (a second-team, all-TRL pick in ’17), senior Grant Lautze (another second-teamer), sophomore Torin Ferguson (a second-teamer), junior goalie Nathan Bloom (a second-teamer) and junior Brody Veater (an honorable mention selection).
“Grant Lautze will be leading the Pacer boys team as captain,” Rauch said, adding that her other all-leaguers and senior Cole Dennett “look to reprise their performance at state from last season.”
Further, the addition of junior Oscar Loureiro Alvarez — an exchange student from Spain — bolsters an already strong starting lineup.
Also ready for varsity time are junior Mitchell Parker, junior Reese Dennett, sophomore Anthony Wang, junior Nick Holum, junior Konstantin Karyukin, freshman Sean Davitt and junior Zack Candau.
To make the regular season even more interesting, the Pacer boys will face Newberg — the reigning state champion — in two league games, set for Oct. 8 at Lake Oswego District Pool and Oct. 24 at Newberg Aquatic Center.
Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.