By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Regis’ Emaleigh Pires has done it all.
She played 11 years of soccer with Keizer Soccer Club, ran track at Crossler Middle School in Salem in the sixth-grade, then St. Mary’s and a year at Regis. Pires played softball for Fire and Rise travel softball teams as well as the Rams for a season as well.
Not to mention what she considered as her ‘strong’ sports in Volleyball and basketball. As crazy as it’s all been, it’s been truly a blessing said Pires. For Pires, it was weird when she first moved out to Stayton, and was sad that she wasn’t going to be playing for the Olympians of Sprague.
“It’s been crazy, but being able to play sports for all of my life has been an amazing blessing,” she said. “I knew that I fell in love with the sport of soccer right from the start! But once I had moved out to Stayton, I did not want to play for anyone else but Sprague High… I have been playing with the same group of girls & the same coaches since I was three.”
As she slowly moved into High School, she slowly gravitated towards her primary sports on the hardwood; but here’s where things got interesting.
Freshman year she did track. Ran the 100-meter dash, was part of the 4×100 relay team and did the Long jump. It helped her to get to know students she probably won’t have met or know otherwise.
Her sophomore year however, she traded the spikes for the softball cleats again, joining the Rams softball program. Lending a hand to help field a team for Regis in a tough Tri-River Conference that saw Kennedy, Santiam, Colton and Gervais reaching the 2A/1A State Playoffs. Regis were three games behind the Cougars in the league standings.
“I played softball growing up for a club team & my sophomore year was the first time being back on the mound in five years. pitched for the Regis Rams and played Center Field,” said Pires. “I loved being able to help out our class of 2019 seniors get their senior season! But later on, I wanted to work on the sports I know I am strongest in which is volleyball and basketball. I have loved every minute of it.”
The Rams have steadily improved in volleyball, going 11-8 in 2019 and were in a two-way tie for third with Lowell in the Capital Valley Conference with a 9-5 overall record. But for Pires, her fondest memory was when they defeated Central Linn 41-40 January 24, 2020 during her Junior season.
The loss had, by season’s end, derailed the Cobras’ chance of forcing a two-way tie for first in the CVC with eventual 2A State Runner-Up Monroe as Regis reached the league playoffs for the first-time in three years in 2020.
“That feeling still gives me chills, that was the best game I could have ever been in and I am so blessed to have had my school and part of our town there to be there supporting us,” Pires said of the game.
Her love for basketball started in the sixth grade when she first touched a ball. Pires had a feeling that the game was going to be her strong suit. Being a part of Sprague’s Junior Club early on cemented that love of the game.
“Playing for Sprague’s Junior club team he was my coach & we had gotten first in our league & ever since that game basketball has changed my life forever,” Pires starts. “Basketball is the sport I put my sweat & tears into, I work hard for everything I do on the court.
“My goal for basketball is to continue to make my grandpa and my dad proud! Without those two men being by my side and pushing me to do my best I wouldn’t be where I am today. They are the reason I love the game of basketball so much and I hope to continue playing basketball in college.”
Her dad and grandpa have been big factors in her career. They help push her, they inspire her and they give her pointers on how she can improve moving forward.
“They push me to be my best without them. I would not be where I am at. After every game my dad comes up to me and tells me what I can work harder on and what I did great on, the same for my grandpa. I look up to them so much,” Pires said. “I just learned that they both want to make me stronger and better every day. So, I take constructive criticism and work on it.”
With the uncertainty of the future of her Senior year of athletics, one thing is for certain for the versatile Pires, she’ll put her best foot forward and isn’t afraid to put in the work.