It’s official, the three Bend schools are joining five Salem schools to form a Class 6A sports league starting in the 2018-2019 school year.
I was born in Salem and have family there, so I make the trip over the pass often. I’ve been coaching sports in Bend for 17 years, so here’s what I can tell you about the Bend schools joining the Salem schools in a league.
1. Paddington’s Pizza is my favorite in Salem. They have two locations and a personal pizza lunch special that is very good.
2. The Marion Forks Fish Hatchery is a great place to stop, use the restroom and stretch your legs when you are driving over the Santiam Pass.
3. Salem’s Riverfront Park is a nice place to walk around and the Carousel is great for young kids.
4. The South Salem girls basketball team was Class 6A state champions in 2015-16. That’s the most recent of the Salem teams to win a Class 6A state championship.
5. The Salem schools have a rich tennis tradition, with the Sprague boys being among the state’s best every year. South Salem and McKay have put together great boys tennis teams over the years as well.
6. West Salem and Sprague are two of the best Class 6A football teams this year. Both are currently ranked in the top 8 for OSAA power rankings.
7. Sprague junior Ginger Murnieks is the fastest cross county runner in all of Oregon right now.
8. Sprague is a state power in wrestling. Often finishing in the top 10 and taking 2nd in the state last year.
9. Salem isn’t really stoked on being in a league with the Bend schools, but it’ll all work out.
10. Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem is a great place to go for a walk, especially when the roses are in bloom.