By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The big question entering this season for the Stayton was how do they respond to graduating five Seniors who saw playing time last season and do it with a first-year Head Coach in Wendi Nyquist.
Nyquist, a Toledo-graduate and played at Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University as Wendi Lamb) where she set records in assist (630) and steals (349), was part of the Eagle program the last two seasons as the Junior Varsity program before taking over for Darren Shryock this year.
“It’s been a great season, we have great kids. We have leadership in KJ (Nyquist) and Emma (Storey), (they’re) Seniors and the young kids are playing extremely hard,” said Nyquist. “They’re not young anymore. They’ve been through half-a-season, they’re all working extremely hard everyday to improve themselves.
“But overall their great teammates.”
Nyquist talked about how they respect each other, working hard for each other and it’s paying off as they sit 12-4 overall and tenth in the latest Coaches Poll entering their game Friday against Cascade.
The Cougars, who sit a half-game behind Stayton entering their game Tuesday against Woodburn at 3-1 in Oregon West Conference-play to the Eagles 4-1, presents another opportunity for them to get better.
How to get better has been Stayton’s mantra under their first-year Head Coach and it’s turning out beneficial for the Eagles.
“Well we’ll find out Friday night,” said Nyquist. “But the goal is every game to learn something, every game you get better and I think we’re doing that. It may not always be physical, sometimes it’s mentally. These kids want to get better and be the best that they can be and I think they’re working hard to do that.”
Friday also marks the end of the first loop through the OWC-league schedule. With Philomath being their lone league defeat this season at home on January 10, Stayton will be chopping at the bit to avenge so far their lone league loss Tuesday.
“Oh that was a tough one,” starts Nyquist. “I think more than anything we weren’t sure yet. I don’t think we were ready for that game yet, but we continued to work hard and hopefully we’ll do a better job next time around.”
The Eagles will have a league-bye Tuesday before tipping off against Cascade at 5:30pm Friday.