Several Polk County high schools qualified athletic teams and individuals for the various postseason competitions, ranging from football and volleyball to soccer and cross country.
But wins and losses aren't measured strictly on the courts, courses and fields in the region. Local athletes are also excelling in the classroom, based on recently released results from the Oregon School Activities Association and Dairy Farmers of Oregon Fall 2008 Academic All-State Team.
Among the local highlights:
* Central High's girls cross country team was ranked sixth among Class 4A schools with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.87; the Panther boys were also ranked sixth among 4A runners with a 3.69 GPA. Central football also cracked the top 10 among 4A programs, ranking ninth with a 3.13 team GPA.
* Dallas High's boys soccer team was ranked tied for eighth among all Class 5A schools with a team grade-point average of 3.25.
* A number of Polk County residents also attend and participate in athletics at nearby Santiam Christian High School in Adair Village, south of Monmouth.
The Eagles were ranked first in the state among all Class 3A schools for volleyball team GPA (3.75), third among 3A-2A-1A schools in boys cross country (3.72), fourth in 4A-3A-2A-1A girls soccer (3.73), fourth in 3A football (3.27), and sixth in 3A-2A-1A boys soccer (3.52).
Numerous studies over the years have supported the belief that students who participate in extracurricular activities like athletics, music, drama, or academic-related clubs fare better than those students who don't become involved in some form of activity. They tend to get better grades, have higher classroom attendance, and don't as often succumb to peer pressure and use drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
Congratulations to Polk County student-athletes and their recent classroom achievements. It just goes to show the value extracurricular activities play in the complete education of students.