Monday, January 10, 2011
MILTON-FREEWATER - Mac-Hi senior Oscar Flores and his Pioneer boys soccer team have been recognized by ESPN Rise.
In rankings published by the ESPN magazine and website that are devoted exclusively to high school sports, Flores is No. 1 in individual scoring nationwide while the Mac-Hi boys team is tied for the top spot in goals for a season and is tied for third place in goals scored during a single game.
The rankings are in constant flux, according to ESPN Rise Senior Editor Sheldon Shealer, because high schools play soccer during different times of the year based on location.
Flores, a forward, finished his 2010 campaign with 74 goals and led the Pioneers into the Oregon Class 4A state semifinals before they were defeated 1-0 by eventual state champion Stayton.
According to the most recent ESPN Rise scoring compilation, Flores is well in front of Devin Fuller of Staten Island Academy in Staten Island, N.Y., who is alone in second place with 52 goals scored. Brian Runyon of Parkersburg, W.Va., is in third place with 48 goals.
As a team, the Pioneers finished a 16-1 season with 147 goals. Sacramento Jesuit of Carmichael, Calif., also scored 147 goals in 2010 to share the top spot, with Myers Park High of Charlotte, N.C., in third place with 137 goals.
During an Oct. 19 victory over Baker, the Pioneers scored 13 goals. That was good for a third-place tie with three other schools - Jackson Prep of Jackson, Miss.; American Heritage of Delray, Fla.; and Lincoln of Gahanna, Ohio - on the ESPN Rise single-game scoring list.
Thomas Worthington of Worthington, Ohio, ranks No. 1 with a 19-goal game and Jackson Prep scored 16 goals in a game to hold down second place.
Flores, who is considering a variety of college options after he graduates from Mac-Hi, first learned of his inclusion on the ESPN Rise scoring list from his eighth-grade cousin, Gerardo Robles, who discovered it while surfing the net.
"I think it's an honor," Flores said. "It's something you can carry on for the rest of your life and be able to tell your kids that you've been in the record book. It's pretty cool."
Flores said he has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember. He joined the Mac-Hi program as a sophomore after playing for a select team, the Walla Walla Earthquakes, and won a state championship during his freshman year.
Flores was a member of Mac-Hi teams that lost in the state quarterfinals during his sophomore year, lost in the state championship game his junior year and then reached the semifinals again last fall before losing to Stayton. As a junior Flores scored 38 goals and was named the Oregon Class 4A Player of the Year.
"I was pretty happy with 38 goals," he said. "But this year I blew that score out with 74 goals. I can hardly believe it."
He thinks last fall's team might have won it all had he not injured an ankle in the quarterfinals.
"My ankle was messed up pretty good against Stayton," Flores said. "I sprained it the previous Tuesday in the quarterfinals, but I played anyway."
Flores has already been admitted to Oregon State University and attended a soccer camp in Corvallis two weeks ago. He said he wants to be a Beaver.
But if that doesn't work out, many of the community colleges in Washington and Oregon, Walla Walla included, are interested in recruiting him, he said.
"I've also heard from some California schools," Flores said. "I've talked to the coaches at UC Irvine, and I went to a summer camp in Santa Barbara for a week. There were 150 kids there, and I got MVP. That was pretty cool."
Flores was one of eight seniors on last fall's Mac-Hi soccer team. At least two or three others are considering playing college soccer, Flores said.
As for the Pioneers, who won three consecutive state championships beginning in 2005, it figures to be a rebuilding year in 2011.
"But they're going to be all right," Flores said.