Oregon Sports Awards honor state's best
BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter was named the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year at the Oregon Sports Awards.
In his first year with the Major League Soccer club, Porter led the team to a 14-5-15 record, a dramatic 23-game turnaround from the previous season. The Timbers finished atop the Western Conference standings and advanced to the conference finals in the playoffs.
Porter accepted the award at a ceremony Sunday night at Nike's Beaverton headquarters.
U.S. women's national soccer team forward Alex Morgan, who helped the Portland Thorns win the inaugural NWSL championship, and Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, last season's NBA Rookie of the Year, were each honored with the Harry Glickman Professional Athlete of the Year award.
Oregon's Elizabeth Brenner, who has played on the volleyball, softball, basketball and track teams, received the Bill Hayward Amateur Athlete of the Year award, as did former Oregon State's Brandin Cooks, who won the Biletnikoff Award for the nation's best receiver this past season.
Beavers coach Mike Riley accepted for Cooks, saying he "represented all of us at the highest level as a player and a person."
The annual awards, hosted for the second straight year by ESPN's Neil Everett, puts special emphasis on the state's outstanding high school athletes.
Prep basketball player of the year honors went to Mercedes Russell of Springfield High School, currently playing for Tennessee, and Calvin Hermanson of Lake Oswego High, who now plays at St. Mary's.
Prep football player of the year was Central Catholic's Ryan Nall, who rushed for 1,684 yards and 22 touchdowns to help the Rams win the state championship. Volleyball player of the year was Saskia McNairy of Lakeridge High.
"It was a fun season. Next year I can't wait to go down to Corvallis and be a Beaver," Nall said.
Michelle Cefal of Westview and Cameron Stitt of Sunset won for best prep swimmers of the year, while Crook County's Tyler Berger won for top wrestler after winning his third straight state championship.
Jesuit's Erin Larner and Lincoln High's Goutham Sundaram were honored as top prep tennis players, while Beaverton High's Gigi Stoll and Westview's Nick Baines took home honors for golf. Jesuit's Christo Michaelson and Tualatin's Jill Farley won for soccer, and Summit's Matthew Maton and Grant's Ella Donaghu won for cross country.
Gresham High's Haley Crouser and Oregon City's Beau Brosseau won track honors, North Medford's Maryssa Becker was named top softball player and Clackamas High's Austin Kelly was named top baseball player.
The Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year honors for classes 1A-4A went to Oakland multisport athlete David Henry and North Valley's Venessa D'Arpino, who plays soccer and runs track. Russell and West Albany football standout Jake LaCoste won in the 5A-6A class.
Junction City High School coach Craig Rothenberger was awarded the Game Changer Award for dedication to prep sport. Portland Tribune columnist Kerry Eggers and editor Steve Brandon were honored with the DNA Award for dedication to sport in Oregon.
Travis Koski, an athlete from Hillsboro, was honored as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Year.
"I'm a transformed person," Koski said. "Once an athlete always an athlete."
The George Pasero Teams of the Year included Oregon State's baseball team, Concordia's women's soccer team, Oregon's acrobatics and tumbling team, Oregon's women's indoor track and field team, Linfield's baseball team, the Portland Winterhawks and the Portland Thorns.
Corban University softball player Stephanie Hull and Linfield pitcher Chris Haddeland were honored as the top small college athletes.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press