Aaron McPherson – Reporter
As the basketball teams prepare for the first game of Winter quarter season on Jan. 5, the five Fall sports teams wrapped up their seasons.
After winning their third consecutive South Region title with an 11 win-zero loss-one tie record, Clark returned to the NWAC final four and just barely missed attaining this year’s championship.
The Penguins once again competed in the semi-finals on Nov. 9, taking on the Tacoma Titans. Both teams placed third last year, losing in the semi-finals to the Highline Thunderbirds and the Peninsula Pirates. Highline and Peninsula faced off in the other semi-final match.
Both of this year’s semi-final matches finished with a 1-0 score, leading to a championship bout between the Pirates and the Penguins. Clark’s single semi-finals goal was made by Natalie Paul at the 37:03 mark with Sarah Teubner providing an assist.
The Pirates won the title game, beating the Penguins 2-0.
Even though Clark was unsuccessful in winning the NWAC championship, reaching the finals was a franchise-best and produced a second-place finish for the season.
Of the 23 players on the team, 10 are graduating sophomores: Maggie Higgins, Mia Castaneda, Hannah Taie, Braelyn Weatherbie, Samantha Rosenkranz, Maddie Topaum, Kayla Beard, Sarah Teubner, Julie Williams and Jenna Young.
Out of six teams in the South Region, Clark finished the season in fifth place with a record of 3-6-1, totaling 10 points. They were close behind the fourth-ranked Lane Titans, who had 12 points.
In the playoffs, the Southwestern Oregon Lakers won the region at 25 points, the Chemeketa Storm came in second with 22 points and the Portland Panthers rounded out third with 17 points. None of them made it to the Men’s final four.
In all three of Clark’s wins, the Penguins outscored their opponents by at least two goals, with their Oct. 13 road game against the Rogue Ospreys being the exception with a three goal win. Their one tie came a week later during a home game against the Lane Titans, ending 1-1.
Each of the six losses were by a single goal, with Clark scoring at least once per game. The exception was the season finale on Oct. 24 in Coos Bay, where the Penguins lost 2-0 to Southwestern Oregon.
Clark’s roster is comprised of 25 athletes, all of whom are freshman except for two sophomores, Grant Thiriot and Sergio Sandoval.
This year’s NWAC championship run was hosted by Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. While Clark did compete in the event, the outcome for the Penguins could be seen as a transitional phase.
The top finisher for Clark was Nicky Figueras, who placed 20th with a time of 21:10.6. The team, however, was ineligible from earning points due to having too small of a roster. By rule, there must be at least five runners competing. There were only three Penguins in total.
Elsa Temme was the next Clark finisher at 22:22.7, ranked 35th, and Carmella DeSean finished 42nd at 23:00.4. All three are freshmen.
The individual champion was Micaela Kostecka of the Spokane Sasquatch, finishing at 18:24.8. Thanks to three of her teammates coming in at third, fourth and fifth, Spokane easily won the team championship with 24 points.
The Lane Titans placed second with 48 points. Officially, nine teams in total were able to earn rankings.
Clark placed seventh out of 10 eligible teams this year, accumulating 175 points. The first Penguin to cross the finish line was Micah Goff, who finished with a time of 27:28 and ranking 17th.
The other Penguins came in behind Goff. Aaron Avery was 26th at 28:08, Kyle Bear was 37th at 28:52, Calvin DuBois was 40th at 29:05, Micah Tuner was 60th at 31:04, and Patrick Carrier was 66th at 32:04. The entire team are freshmen, expect for Carrier.
Next to Clark, the Clackamas Cougars ranked eighth and the Everett Trojans ranked sixth.
This year’s champions were the Lane Titans with 32 points, a mere two points lower than the second-placed Spokane Sasquatch at 34 points. The Treasure Valley Chukars finished third with 77 points.
The individual champion was Andy Muha of Lane, at 25:28. Lane, Spokane and Treasure Valley had a combined 16 runners cross the finish line before any other school finished. Clark’s own Goff was the next to cross the finish line.
There were ten teams competing who were eligible for team points.
After the Penguins beat the Clackamas Cougars 3-1 in a tiebreaker game, Clark began their tournament experience on Nov. 15 by facing the undefeated Spokane Sasquatch. The Penguins were beaten 3-0.
Clark was successful in their first consolation matchup, which took place later that day. The Penguins finished with a 2-1 score over the Shoreline Dolphins.
Nov. 16 was the final day for Clark’s season, as they took on division-rival and defending NWAC champions, the Chemeketa Storm, losing 2-0.
The eventual state champion was Spokane, who thwarted the Highline Thunderbirds 3-0. This is the third title for the Sasquatch since their previous titles in 2003 and 2009.
This season also marked the first time Highline reached the finals since 1993, where they lost to the Mt. Hood Saints.
Three Clark sophomores will be graduating this year: Megan Hess, Mary Schorn and Jordan Johnson.