Author: Eric Howald

Netters anxious for second trip to state playoffs

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The McNary High School varsity volleyball team lost seven players to graduation in June, but head coach Dustin Walker hasn’t lowered his expectations at all. “We wanted to get to the playoffs last year and we did that. There are a lot of good teams out there this year, but this is a team that can make it to the playoffs again,” Walker said. The Celts split the conference title with Sprague High School last season and made it to the Top 8. They dropped games to Sunset and Sheldon high schools in the playoffs. The Lady Celts’ record was 11-1 in league and 14-3 overall. “We have some girls who have been in the program for three years and they bring with them a real sense of tradition and history. Mixing that with all the new faces is a neat thing to watch happen,” Walker said. It’s been a fun experience bring ing new players into the fold after such a rich experience last season, said Madison Cavell, a senior. “Everyone working and coming together as a team and seeing what McNary volleyball is all about,” Cavell said. She’s hoping the good vibes translate into sharp practices in the team’s lead-up to their opening game Tuesday, Sept. 7. The Lady Celts host Lincoln High School at 7 p.m. “We’re always known...

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KFD earns grant renewal

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Truth be told, fires in Keizer are a fairly infrequent occurrence, but when a big blaze ignites all of the fire district resources are tapped. The renewal of a federal grant will make certain all Keizer Fire District personnel are prepared. “The important part is that this isn’t a new grant for us, but one that was renewed because we were good stewards of the initial grant,” said Jeff Cowan, chief of the Keizer Fire District. District officials applied for the initial $148,924 grant in 2006 and it was renewed for $208,540 last week. The grant, part of the  Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program (SAFER), supplies funds that enhance the district’s ability to recruit and train volunteers. “The volunteers are essential to our operation and this grant will make sure that their adequately trained and prepared to carry out their duties,” Cowan said. Grant funding will cover the salary for a part-time volunteer coordinator, scholarships to the National Fire Academy, college scholarships, advertising, insurance premiums, in investment incentive program and physical examinations, which constitute the largest portion of the grant at $68,400. Without the grant, such costs would need to come out of some other part of the district’s budget. “This funding will help the Keizer Fire District train our local firefighters in their...

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Celts meet Comets in zero week

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes If there’s one thing senior Wes Heredia wants out of McNary High School’s gridiron clash with Crater High School Friday, Sept. 3, it’s redemption. “I’m looking forward to proving some people wrong. I think we’re a better team than we’re being given credit for,” Heredia said. McNary will travel to Central Point, Ore., for the game beginning at 7 p.m. The Celtics finished last season with a whimper rather than a bang. In the season finale against North Salem only 12 of 23 seniors suited up for the game, the other fell...

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Returning athletes will be backbone of McNary girls soccer

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Fans will notice many of familiar faces when the Celtic girls varsity soccer team returns to the field Tuesday to host Sandy High School. “We’ve got about 90 percent of the team from last year returning,” said Miguel Camarena, head coach of the McNary High School girls soccer program. In practices earlier this week, the team was still figuring out the exact shape of the team that will take the field. “We need to sharpen up our ability to position ourselves with the ball and then move with it,” said senior center Jordan Salinas. After a tough season of difficult relationships within the team last year, Salinas is anticipating a smoother ride this season. “It’s actually been really good. We’re all getting along and welcoming the new players. I know they’ve going to do great,” Salinas said. In 2009, the Lady Celts finished in fourth place, just one point behind Sprague and West Salem high schools. They fell to Barlow High School in the opening round of the playoffs, but the team defeated West Salem, Sprague and Redmond on their home turf during the regular season. The OSAA dropped Redmond from the Central Valley Conference during redistricting this summer. Sophomore Haley Scoggins was eagerly anticipating rematches with the Olympians and Titans and sizing up her new team. “We lost some key players...

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Keeker steps into Nick’s cleats

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes For Larry Keeker, the decision to take up the  challenge of running the McNary High School baseball program was all about family. “Our program is a real family and, after nearly 60 years, it has members throughout the nation,” said Keeker. Keeker was tapped as head coach of the varsity baseball team last week. He succeeds Craig Nicholas who coached the team from 1999-2010. Keeker’s teaching and coaching career spans more than 20 years and programs at North Salem High School and McNary. He started as the junior varsity coach in the Celtic program before moving to the freshman team. He became an assistant varsity coach three seasons ago. He is also an assistant coach for Celts’ varsity basketball team. While Keeker expects a competitive season out of the varsity baseball team next spring, he doesn’t expect to be making many changes in the immediate future. He will need to flesh out his coaching staff to replace Chad Booth, another assistant baseball coach who stepped down when Nicholas opted for retirement, and fill his now-vacant post. “After that the first order of business will be sitting down with the coaching staff and going over the game plan from offense to defense to philosophy to see where improvements can be made,” Keeker said. He’ll be relying on his staff and colleagues to build...

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