Lions win the Wally Ciochetti Invitational for the first time

Photo by CGHS Yearbook

May 19 - The Wally Ciochetti Invitational held its inaugural competition in the spring of 2004.  Since then, it has developed into one of Oregon's top late season meets for 4A schools. To guarantee that each team receives the maximum number of entries and that the schools competing face high-level competition, the meet is limited to 16 teams. 

Even though the invitational meet does not have the same high stakes as districts or states, winning the trophy over such excellent programs is still an accomplishment. 

In addition to Bandon, Cascade, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Crook County, Douglas, Henley, Hidden Valley, Klamath Union, Marshfield, North Bend, North Valley, Philomath, Phoenix, Sisters, and Siuslaw were other teams that participated.

The Ciochetti Invitational trophy has eluded several of Cottage Grove's top teams despite their years of fierce competition.

This year was different.

After 17 completed events on May 12, the Cottage Grove boys' team defeated Philomath by seven points, 95-88, to win the Ciochetti Championship for the first time since the tournaments' inception.

Brennan Murphy won both the men's 200 and 400 meters, setting a personal best record of 49.96. Carter Bengtson won the Men's 3000 Meters for the Lions, clocking in at 8:58.93a, setting a new personal best in the process. And Elijah Williams won the men's varsity discus competition with a throw of 143 feet, 6 inches, also a personal best.

Wally “Chick” Ciochetti devoted himself to Cottage Grove High School athletics for 40 years, primarily as a coach for track and field, football and basketball. He coached the Lions to the 1956 and 1960 Hayward Relays Class-A Championships.

His 1970 team was voted as Oregon’s top high school track and field dual meet team. “Chick” assisted Mexico’s track team in the 1964 Olympics and was an assistant track coach for the 1972-73 Pan American Games. Ciochetti’s memory is honored annually as Lions athletics continues to thrive with the annual event.