The World's top feature stories from 2018, in terms of reader interest.
1. Coos Golf Club set for grand reopening (April 5): The newly re-branded Coos Golf Club unveiled its new-look course under Andre Liloc.
Liloc hopes to get more tournaments, and the new alignment has golfers finishing back up by the clubhouse and restaurant.
Liloc, a Seattle native, fell in love with the sport after attending the US Open at Chamber’s Bay in Tacoma and took the ownership plunge, hiring local Alden Peterson as the course pro.
2. Roy Lans survives widowmaker, continues to lead Gymnastics Plus (Oct. 4): The longtime head of Gymnastics Plus suffered a widowmaker heart attack while on the clock at North Bend Medical Center. The popular coach returned after a four-month absence, when Myndee Sickels-Brown took the gym’s premier leadership role.
The Lighthouse Classic in October was the first major event since Lans’ heart attack and was smaller than usual, but Lans’ presence was the highlight, ultimately.
3. Don Crowe looks ahead to bright future at Bandon Dunes (Jan. 9): After working at the renowned resort in its inaugural year, Don Crowe returns as General Manager, running a golf resort that has blossomed into one of the best in the country.
Shortly after Crowe took the job in January of 2017, he learned the United States Golf Association would hold the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in addition to the 2020 U.S. Amateur, the biggest tournament ever held at Bandon Dunes.
4. Travis Wittlake aims for fourth state title (Feb. 15): The Marshfield wrestler, aiming to the be the most decorated in his high school’s history, sets off in pursuit of his fourth high school state championship (which he ultimately achieved).
Wittlake is a five-time national triple crown winner (freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle) and won a world cadet medal and finished his high school career with a 196-2 record before committing to Oklahoma State.
Wittlake’s success and his father, also Travis Wittlake, starting a club program helped attract local talent to Marshfield where the Pirates became one of the best Class 4A wrestling programs in Oregon.
5. SWOCC wrestlers are among nation’s best (Feb. 7): Tanner Harvey and Francisco “Pancho” Barrera led the Lakers into the NJCAA National Championships with disparate personalities.
Harvey, a quiet 184-pounder, returned to Oregon with a national championship while Barerra, who entered the tournament ranked sixth at 125 pounds, lost in the quarterfinals, coming within just a match of becoming an All-American.
Lakers coach Adam Whitlach called Harvey beyond his years in terms of maturity and Barerra studied to be a paramedic, forcing him to think on his feet — or his back — and think in stress situations.
6. Cheyenne Datan signs with Pacific (April 23): A long, painful journey was validated for the North Bend senior when she signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Pacific University in Forrest Grove.
After the sudden death of her father while he was patrolling on an ATV, Datan believed her softball career to be over, her coach and tailwind ripped away from her. But an emotional outing in the circle once she decided to return sent her back to the diamond with a renewed vigor, and she had a stellar senior season.
She signed her letter at The Mill Casino, surprised by a couple dozen uniformed law enforcement officers, friends and colleagues of her late father. It was emotional day for many.
7. Three North Bend athletes commit to colleges (Feb. 1): The Hall of Champions next to Vic Adams Field was the site of the continuation of some athletic careers.
Isaac Reyna signed to play soccer at Lane Community College, Drew Culver agreed to play softball at Mt. Hood and Amanda Prowley signed up to play at the Oregon Institute of Technology.
8. North Bend athletes announce college plans (May 24): Four more North bend Bulldogs advanced their athletic careers.
All-state goalkeeper August Baker announced his intention to play at Carroll College, where his brother Brigham is the kicker on the football team. Vianka Hoyer decided to swim at Linfield College in McMinnville, Kalista Ross will be a pole vaulter at Lane Community College) and Kaylynn Picket, in a bit of a surprise even to her, head to Mt. Hood to play volleyball after transferring from Bandon for her senior year.
9. Culture leads Marshfield defense to excellence (Nov. 6): Mike Seedborg led one of the better defenses in the 4A ranks this season, helping to maintain a sense of culture and desire through a long season.
With interior players like Cory Stover, Greg Stump and Aiden Adams, linebackers like Sirus Robie, Josiah Niblett and Tristin Lemmons and an athletic secondary that continued to improve with Tyler Thornton, Noah Niblett and more, the Pirates were a formidable group that allowed the second fewest points in the state.
Seedborg became defensive coordinator when a sudden vacancy needed swift action. Pirates head coach John Lemmons and Seedborg played together in college, and have similar beliefs about the game. It was a natural fit.
10. Casas becomes leader for Marshfield soccer team (Oct. 31): Mashfield midfielder Pedro Casas came into his own as team leader for the Pirates after coach Drew Jones gave him the captain's armband for his junior season.
Jones praised Casas for his desire to make all his teammates better. He ultimately was credited for his behind-the-scenes work when he received all-league honors.