Lebanon sports roundup: Lots of challenges

Lebanon athletes are getting a full-fledged sports season this fall, but it requires some flexibility.
Like a lot of, if not all the schools in Oregon, procuring officials for events has been a challenge, due to a shortage of referees.
Then there’s the transportation issues. Bus drivers are also in short supply in many districts this fall, and that means athletes get rides when they’re available.
“It is what it is,” Athletic Director Kraig Hoene said, explaining that there aren’t extra drivers available to drive athletic buses before the regular routes are taken care of. “We can’t afford to take a bus driver off a route to deliver athletes because we don’t have enough. Everybody’s facing it.
“Woodburn (Lebanon’s opponent on Oct. 21) can’t get a bus out of town until 4:30. Then you have a horrible time with I-5 traffic. Hopefully, they’ll get here, get the kids games.”
The Woodburn game is scheduled for 8 p.m.
“We’ll get home when we get home,” Hoene said.
He said officials and Lebanon’s transportation director, Maggie Estes, “are doing an incredible job shuffling things, getting kids to events. These are the ones we have killing themselves to make sure kids get opportunities.”
Here’s a rundown on Lebanon and East Linn Christian sports:

Warrior Football: Going into their Oct. 15 home game against Dallas (2-2, 3-3), the Warriors (2-2, 2-4) were sixth in the conference after four Special District 3 games, with road games at Crescent Valley and Silverton next up.
Hoene said both the football and volleyball teams have had “disjointed” seasons because of COVID issues, but he said he believes the Warriors have a “decent chance” to make the playoffs if they can beat Dallas and score a “big” win on the road.
“If we can get two more wins, the boys will be in pretty good shape.”

Warrior Volleyball: Lebanon was 1-12 in Mid-Willamette Conference play, 2-13 overall, as it also has had struggles with COVID. The Warriors will have their senior night Oct. 26.
“With the rates we have in the county, we’re not going to get away from it,” Hoene said of the COVID issues. “The coaches are doing great jobs with precautions and most of the issues. The kids are getting it at home, bringing it in from there.”

Warrior Boys Soccer: Although Lebanon was 1-3-1, 3-4-1going into its final two weeks of the regular season, the Warriors are “much more competitive” than that record indicates, Hoene said.
“We’ve had a couple of tough losses. We lost 2-1 to a good Corvallis team.”
The boys will celebrate Senior Night Thursday, Oct. 21.

Warrior Girls Soccer: At 0-4, 0-8-1 going into the home stretch, Lebanon’s young roster has had some tough tests. Senior night for the girls will be Oct. 19.

Warrior Cross-Country: Lebanon’s best hope is a good one in senior RJ Kennedy, who posted a personal best of 16:01 on the 5K course at the Harrier Classic at Bryant Park in Albany Oct. 2. That’s one of the best 5K’s by a Warrior since 2003, Hoene said.
“RJ is running some good times right now and he has a chance to get to the state meet and compete at a fairly high level. He’s looking really good. I don’t think he is going to fade.”

East Linn Christian Academy
The Eagles have struggled in volleyball (0-11, 1-13) and boys soccer (1-3, 1-7-1), and their cross-country participant numbers are down, with just one boy and enough girls to score as a team.
The bright spot is freshman Daisy Lalonde who’s turning heads in cross-country with an 18:20 finish at a meet Oct. 13 in West Salem. That gives her the second-fastest time this season in the 1A/2A/3A division and puts her in the top seven in the state among freshmen in all divisions, although cross-country courses are significantly different and times are not always comparable.
Lalonde has won two races this season, the Stayton Regis Invite on Oct. 7 (20:52) and Keeler Vineyard Invite on Sept. 8 (26:45).