PIL swim race should be close
Wilson swim coach Ed Weber thinks the Trojan girls might be strong enough to upend Lincoln at the district meet, Friday and Saturday at Matt Dishman Community Center.
The Wilson girls have the fastest qualifying time in six of 11 races, including all three relays. But Lincoln has won three straight district meet titles and nine of the last 10.
'We could look like the favorite, but there's probably a whole bunch of Lincoln swimmers who will just pop up and they'll win,' Weber says. 'They're pretty well-connected to the Multnomah Athletic Club, and they swim pretty fast there.
'We won't know what Lincoln has until they show up.'
Wilson junior Cymon Kersh has the district's top time in the 500 freestyle and the 200 individual medley, while freshman Sammy O'Dell has the top time in the 200 freestyle. Senior Chelsea Hollingsworth also is one of the district's top 50 and 100 freestyle swimmers.
'We've had a great season because we have a lot of depth with 31 girls,' Weber says. 'And the girls have all been very dedicated.'
Brianna Hoffman, Celeste Parisi and Ali Davis give Lincoln a 1-2-3 combination that counters Wilson. The meet could come down to the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. Wilson's time is just .85 seconds faster than Lincoln's.
Weber led Wilson to the boys district title in 2000, although a typo in the district program shows Grant having won.
This year, the Wilson boys, led by William Wiggins and Mathew Blasa, were one of the top dual meet teams despite having only 13 swimmers.
Lincoln and Cleveland, with much deeper teams, figure to battle for the boys title, with Grant and Wilson dueling for third.
Cleveland has never won the boys title, according to records that go back to 1947, but the Warriors have the top time in three events, including the top two times in the 50 freestyle. Sam Ekhoff, Stuart Payment, Sean Semke and Zach Niles lead the Warriors.
Grant coach Laura Tyrrell, in her first year, says the Generals expect to be district title contenders in coming years. Grant has just nine boys, but boasts 22 girls.
'We have a number of really strong freshmen coming in next year,' Tyrrell says. 'Things are on the way up for us.'
Casey Dilg Cunningham, Max Dworkin and Brendan Fishback all have district-best times in one event for Grant.
Lincoln has the top time in the 200 freestyle relay.
When Jesuit coach Gene Potter said he thought there were a dozen teams that probably could beat anyone in the state on a given night, he was probably including Benson.
The Techmen (6-3 in the PIL, 7-8 overall) showed their potential in a 71-65 loss to Jefferson last week.
'We're struggling with getting over the hump,' first-year coach Troy Berry says. 'But we're still getting better, that's the best thing that came out of this game. As long as that happens, I see good things ahead for us.'
Outside of a blowout loss to Hillsboro in their season opener, all of Benson's losses have been tightly contested games, including an overtime loss to Jefferson. Berry says when the Techmen relax and play with confidence, they will be title contenders. 'One of these days, these boys are going to get a break in a close game,' he says. 'I can feel that.'
David Douglas and Gresham will decide the Mount Hood Conference dual meet title Thursday when the teams meet at Gresham. Both squads are 5-0.