Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Honorees for the Week of April 16.

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.– South Salem’s Ricky Cruz (Football), the Saxons Valarie Porter (Volleyball), West Salem’s Natalie Cunningham (Girls Soccer) and McNary’s Jack McCarty (Football) were named to the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club for the Week of April 16.

The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Les Schwab Athlete of the Week, from South Salem Football, is Ricky Cruz. Ricky, a senior, was a defensive end and an offensive tackle for the Saxons. Ricky played over 130 snaps in the last game of the season, an exciting 44-43 overtime win at McNary. Defensively he recorded 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble that he recovered in the end-zone for a touchdown. For the season he averaged over 110 snaps per game on both sides of the ball. He had 42 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 8½ sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. He is a three-year varsity letter winner. Coach Scott DuFault: “In 23 years as a head coach at South [Ricky is the] first lineman to get multiple votes for team MVP.” Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Ricky!

The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Les Schwab Athlete of the Week, from South Salem Volleyball, is Valarie Porter. Valarie, a senior, was an outside hitter for the Saxons. The team finished the season 12-0 overall, and 4-0 in league, ultimately losing only three sets in a dominating season. Coach Leichty added that “Valerie finished her senior year with two great matches, and played some of the best volleyball of her career helping us to finish the season 12-0. In our close 5 set match against West Albany, Valerie had 7 kills and 3 blocks on the right side. The statistics only show a small part of her contribution though, as she made numerous key plays for us down the stretch to help us come back to win that one. She finished her volleyball career at South playing one of her best matches in a Saxon uniform, helping us defeat Sprague 3-0. She picked up 11 kills on 20 swings with 0 errors to hit an outstanding .550 for the night. She added in 3 blocks and 2 digs as well. She provided strong, positive leadership for us all season, and looking back on it, often came up with a great play right when we needed it most. We will miss her as a player, but especially will miss her presence on the court with us next season.” Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Valarie!

Valarie Porter (8, third from left) and the South Salem Volleyball team went 12-0 this year in the Spring Shortened season (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Les Schwab Athlete of the Week is from West Salem Girls Soccer: Natalie Cunningham. Natalie, a junior, is a goalkeeper for the Titans who finished 10-1-1. Her goals against average this season was only 0.35. In 12 games she allowed only 4 goals while recording 9 shutouts along the way. Coach Orozco added “Natalie commands a defense that has been relentless in their pursuit of not allowing the opposition to score. A gifted athlete that works hard to maintain her fitness at a peak level, it allows her to make split second decisions that keeps our goal intact. She is a vocal and great leader in organizing our back line. Natalie’s presence in goal gives her teammates confidence and the ability to play with courage without being afraid of making mistakes. Her composure under stressful situations, distribution and understanding of game flow allow for her teammates to trust her and play with confidence on both sides of the ball. Natalie has been a great leader for us this season so far and a big reason for our success as a program to date!” Congratulations Natalie from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club!

The Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Les Schwab Athlete of the Week, from McNary Football, is Jack McCarty. Jack, a senior, was the quarterback for the 3-3 Celts. Against North Salem he was 19 of 27 for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns. For the year he finished with 102 completions on 175 attempts for 1301 yards and 13 touchdowns. Congratulations from the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Jack!

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