Four league champions, one district champ and multiple players and coaches of the year marked just some of the awards Ridgefield athletics racked up during a wild 2021 sports year.
High school sports were almost scrapped entirely due to the pandemic, then suddenly started and flew by in a blink of an eye. The Spudders made the most of the six-week, shortened seasons for each sport, collecting plenty of accolades to cap off the year. Let’s start in the beginning; fall sports.
Senior quarterback Luke Price was named the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Spudders to a 4-1 record. On the other side of the ball, senior defensive lineman Bailey Meek was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Juniors Ty Snider and Matt Kinswa, along with sophomore Wyatt Bartroff, all earned first-team, all-league selections on offense. First-team defensive picks included seniors Bryce Harrison and Sam Everett.
Junior Ryan Jenkins and senior Dylan Parton both earned second-team selections.
The Spudders not only won the league title, they defeated rival Woodland 3-1 (25-17, 19-25, 25-15, 25-23) to capture the 2A District 4 championship.
Earning first-team, all-league honors were seniors Alicia Andrew and Emilea Stepaniuk, along with junior Morgan Harter. On the second team were senior Kohana Fukuchi and junior Emily Vossenkuhl.
The Spudders collected four first-team and two second-team picks. On the first team were seniors Austin Vega and Elijah Engstrom, junior Tyla Engstrom and junior Liam Rapp. On the second team were juniors Daniel Zimmer and Joey Blick.
First-team selections included juniors Elizabeth Farley and Kelli Krsul. On the second team were senior Mackenzie Dewey, sophomore Claire Jones and freshman Ava Kruckenberg.
The Spudders won the 2A GSHL title then went on to finish fourth at districts. Spearheading the attack was senior singles player Derek Kropp, who was named to the all-league first team. Junior duo Mikey Nester and Peyton Yager earned first-team doubles honors.
Junior Ryan Gruber was named to the singles first team, while juniors Mark Sanghera and Hendrik Aykel earned second-team doubles honors.
Senior Cade Bringhurst was named league MVP after placing second at the 2A District 4 tournament in Longview on March 28. He shot a personal-low 65 on the second day of the tourney.
Sophomore Wyatt Bartoff hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give Ridgefield a 5-4 win over Columbia River for the league title. Bartoff would go on to earn second-team, all-league honors along with senior Easton Ortega.
First-team picks included seniors Derek Kropp and Aidan Hundt, and juniors Drew Harteloo, Reed Fry and Khol Bush.
The Spudders tore through the regular season, going 14-1 while capturing the GSHL title. They then smacked three consecutive homers to beat Columbia River in the consolation bracket of the district tourney to finish third.
Senior Kekai Schultz was named league MVP, senior Lillian Mittmann was Offensive Player of the Year and skipper Kesley Anchors earned Coach of the Year.
First-team picks included sophomore Madison Walker and freshman Elizabeth Peery. On the second team were sophomores Makayla Ferguson, Maizy Whitlow and freshman Mallory Vancleave.
Senior Alyssa Dewey was named first-team, all-league and junior Samantha Saenz was second team.
The Spudders finished the season 6-1 in league and 8-1 overall. Seniors Israel Hernandez and Ferdnando Jimenez, along with junior Jude Willis, earned first-team honors. On the second team were seniors Ben Poppert and Caleb Hoy.
Track and field
The Spudders racked up first-team picks, led by seniors Joe Landerholm (discus), Aiden Wise (4x400, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles), and Trent Miller (4x400).
Also on the first team were Ava Kruckenberg (4x100, 100-meter dash, 200); Harling Flores (shot put); Allie Draper (4x100); Madison Ruddy (4x100); Natalie Andrew (4x100); Isaiah Cowley (4x400) and Tim Bradshaw (4x400).
Second team included Ruddy, Landerholm in the shot, Bradshaw in the 800, Kelli Krsul in the javelin, Kruckenberg in the long jump and Flores in the discus.
Coach Billy McKinney was named the 2A GSHL Coach of the Year and senior Grace Goode earned second-team honors.
Juniors Henry Hughes and Carson Knight each were named to the all-league second team.
Juniors Tyla Engstrom and Joey Blick, along with sophomore Uruwa Abe, all were first-team, all-league selections. On the second team were senior Kinora Hayes and juniors Cohen Hutchinson and Tucker Alexander.
Junior Ada Johnson was named to the all-league second team.