Since we have no high school games or meets to cover this spring sports season because of the coronavirus, I thought it would be fun to go back 30 years and share with you what transpired in Douglas County.
The 1989-90 school year was a tremendous time to follow the county’s sports teams. Roseburg was loaded with a strong all-around athletic program in the 1980s and through the ’90s.
That year began with success on the football field.
Roseburg advanced to the Class AAA state championship game, losing to Ashland 24-22 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene in a game I’d rank among the top five prep football matchups I’ve covered for this newspaper.
It was an honor to help radio icon Dan Bain call that All-Southern Oregon Conference final for KQEN. Both teams were star-studded; future pros who participated included Ashland’s Chad Cota (NFL) and Roseburg’s Jamie Burke (MLB).
Thurman Bell’s Indians finished 11-2, both losses coming to the Grizzlies.
Three other small school county squads also turned in excellent seasons. Camas Valley lost to Alsea in the Class B eight-man semifinals, Riddle fell to Gaston in the Class A quarterfinals and Reedsport lost to Tillamook in the Class AA quarters.
Let’s fast-forward to the spring.
The Roseburg baseball team reached its first state championship game, facing Klamath Union in another All-SOC final. The Pelicans won 5-2 at Miles Field in Medford.
Ron Goodell’s Tribe finished 23-8. His starting lineup for the title contest was a good one — Todd Black at third base, Mike Gray at second base, Burke at shortstop, Chris Young at first base, Pokey Fugate at catcher, Chad Anderson at pitcher, Dustin Jaquette in right field, Chris McNeary in left field and Jason Scott in center field.
Reedsport (28-3) lost to Hood River Valley in the AA final at Civic Stadium in Portland.
There were two really good area teams that didn’t make it that far. Douglas (24-4), the Far West League co-champion, was upset by Pleasant Hill in the first round and Big Fir League champ Riddle (27-1) lost to Scio in the quarterfinals.
Dan Wither’s Trojans featured the likes of Jason Hubbard, Jeremiah Robbins (now the Umpqua Community College coach), Lynn Withers, Mike Bennett, Ken Dustin and Kevin Dahms. The Irish, guided by Steve Gillaspie, had Jeff Nelson, Chris Schofield, Donovan Carson, David Lee and John Willard.
In track and field, there was a plethora of fine performances.
The Roseburg girls, in the middle of their most successful stretch in school history, finished second in the state meet at Hayward Field. Keri Esterbrook won the javelin, Tonia Roth (javelin) and Misha Looney (triple jump) each placed second and the 4x100 relay team of Heidi Day, Looney, Jenny Long and Misty Patereau finished fourth.
The Roseburg boys finished third in their state meet. Heath Howington managed to win his third straight state crown in the shot put and took second in the discus despite a recent bout with mononucleosis. Greg Fogle placed second in the long jump and pole vault, and Larry Pinard was fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Brad Mastrud, the head coach of the program at that time, and his staff got the most out of those kids.
Oakland’s Jennifer Harman had quite a season at the Class A level, leading the Oakers to third at state. She won the triple jump and 300 hurdles, and added seconds in the 100 and 400. Summer Langdon won the discus for the Oakers.
Amo Olson of Douglas came away with the 400 title in the Class AA girls meet.
In softball, Roseburg pitcher Kaci Manning was selected the SOC Player of the year. The RHS boys golf team won the SOC title and tied for sixth at state. The girls tennis team, led by the doubles team of Jennifer Root and Andrea Zidd and singles player Julie Early, won the district crown.
That’s just an inkling of some of the athletes and teams we were fortunate to watch. There was nothing wrong with having four classifications, by the way.
Yes, that was quite a time.