Benson's girls track and field team graduated Deborah Jones and Brandi Probasco-Canda to college programs last summer, but the Techsters haven't lowered their expectations regarding the state meet.
They still expect to win.
Benson returns senior Ashley Taylor, who was second in the 100 meters at the state meet last year, and junior Sara Callier, who was fourth in the 100, and will aim for an unprecedented sixth straight team title in June.
'Not too many programs could lose a couple of heavy hitters like we did and still come right back up,' Benson coach Leon McKenzie says. 'But we have high expectations here, and that's not going to change because of the kids we graduate. We're just going to change how we plan the season.
'We're going to talk less and work more.'
McKenzie sees the Benson boys team as a possible state title contender. Not only does the program have strong field event athletes in seniors Bryan Martin and Thomas Tillery, but it has a top distance runner in sophomore Zuber Ahmed.
'The boys have a chance to be just as good as the girls,' McKenzie says. 'We're looking at quite a spring.'
Benson's season, which begins Wednesday with a meet at Lincoln, includes meets at Stanford, Calif., and Pasco, Wash., in addition to meets at Centennial and Jesuit.
A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Saturday for Gene Flippin, longtime Cleveland High football coach and athletic director. Flippin, 69, died Friday in Portland. The service will take place at Oak Grove Church, 1908 S.E. Courtney Ave., Milwaukie.
Flippin, who grew up in Rainier, spent the first four years of his teaching and coaching career in Hood River. He came to Cleveland in 1961 and stayed 321Ú2 years. He ran the double slot offense in football and earned Oregon Athletic Director of the year honors for large schools in 1985. He also was an assistant coach in basketball and baseball.
An All-Coast Little All American in football, he is a member of both the Lewis & Clark College and Cleveland hall of fame.
Gene Flippin was married for 50 years to June Flippin, who requests that contributions go to the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association.
Ñ Cliff Pfenning