The list of players chosen for this season’s Oregon West Conference volleyball team could easily be mistaken for the Class 4A all-state team. After all, the top three teams in 4A hailed from the mighty Oregon West — champion Cascade, runner-up Sisters and third-place Philomath.
Senior hitter Sage Kramer ended up being the lone Warriors player on the first team, joining Cascade’s Lucretia Benolken and Meah Carley, Sisters’ Sydney Myhre and Gracie Vohs and Sweet Home’s Adaira Sleutel.
With that level of talent, it was difficult to crack the first team. Sweet Home senior Jamie Seward earned the player of the year honor with four of seven votes. Sisters’ Greta Davis was recognized as honorary player of the year.
“It made it really challenging for sure,” PHS coach Denee Newton said. “Sage came up in the conversation for player of the year so that was pretty cool and I think she would have been deserving of that.”
Kramer had an undeniable presence on the volleyball floor with the ability to put away powerful kills. But her presence went beyond the physical abilities.
“Sage was really our leader. She kind of set the tone for our culture and work ethic,” Newton said. “Towards the end of the season, she put her game face on and really pushed her teammates to join her in just fully competing and that there was nothing to lose.”
Senior Ashlynn Barron, a likely first-team player in any other league, had to settle for a spot on the second team.
“It was so hard … I just feel like I have more than one that I could’ve put on the first team,” Newton said. “Certainly, Ashlynn was deserving — she was our other outside hitter and really important in our offense.”
Senior Reagan Larson and junior Abigail Brown were recognized as honorable mention picks.
“Two players that I think should’ve been up there with Ashlynn and Sage for sure but I’m glad they got that mention,” Newton said. “They were really important.”
Newton said Larson was “a model for dedication to a program.”
The Warriors finished the season with a 13-10 record, which included a strong finish in the 4A state playoffs. Philomath entered state as a No. 13 seed but had victories over Mazama and Baker to reach the final four.
In Corvallis, the Warriors pushed No. 1-seeded Sisters to five sets and then regrouped the next day to win the third-place trophy match over No. 3 Valley Catholic. Among Philomath’s wins during the regular season was a five-set thriller over eventual state champion Cascade.
ALL-OREGON WEST CONFERENCE Player of the Year: Jamie Seward, Sr., Sweet Home
Honorary Player of the Year: Greta Davis, Sr., Sisters
Coach of the Year: Cristina Williams, Cascade
Adaira Sleutel, Sr., Sweet Home; Sydney Myhre, Sr., Sisters; Lucretia Benolken, Jr., Cascade; Meah Carley, Jr., Cascade; Sage Kramer, Sr., Philomath; Gracie Vohs, So., Sisters.
Stella Barber, Sr., Newport; Mary Weitman, Sr., Stayton; Ashlynn Barron, Sr., Philomath; Jadyn Daviscourt, So., Cascade; Kenna Coleman, Sr., Cascade; Bre White, Sr., Sisters.
Kailee Pepple, Sr., Sweet Home; Emma Gates, Sr., Cascade; Lilli Pankey, Jr., Woodburn; Madelynn Mitzel, Sr., Stayton; Hannah Fendall, Jr., Sisters; Mia Monghan, So., Sisters; Chloe Tyler, Sr., Sweet Home; Annabell Peterson, So., Cascade; Rachel Smith, Sr., Newport; Jessica Leimbach, Sr., Stayton; Carley Murray, Sr., Newport; Abigail Brown, Jr., Philomath; Reagan Larson, Sr., Philomath; Maddie Pollard, Sr., Sisters.
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