The Generals think they have a good shot at the state title
After winning the Portland Interscholastic League boys golf title Monday, Grant coach John Gailey gave his players the week off Ñ sort of. They won't meet as a team again until Sunday for a practice round at Langdon Farms in Aurora.
But the Generals were practicing individually, working on minor points of their game and relaxing as the state tournament approaches Monday and Tuesday.
'We're one of the teams that has played well this season, so we expect to finish in the top 10 and have a shot at the state title,' Gailey says. 'And a key thing we're working on is relaxing.'
Grant went unbeaten in dual matches, won the mid-district tournament and captured the district final Monday at Heron Lakes by 15 strokes over second-place Cleveland. The Generals finished with a 616 total. Seniors Ben Shane and Ben Putka were second and third, respectively, in the PIL tourney, behind Lincoln's Cody Hermeling.
'The seniors are really pumped up about doing well at state,' says sophomore Scott Wall, who probably will play in the first round Monday, then skip the second day to compete in the district track meet. 'We think we have a shot.'
Grant finished seventh at state last year, 26 strokes out of first. When the state tourney was held at Langdon Farms two years ago, a team total of 611 won the two-day event.
MORE GOLF: David Douglas, led by sophomore Vincent Johnson, won all but one of the Mount Hood Conference weekly tournaments and also should be a factor in the state tourney.
TRACK: Grant won nine of 17 events and easily defeated visiting Benson 95.67-78 Wednesday, handing the PIL boys dual meet trophy to the unbeaten Generals. Grant's 4x100 relay team won in a state-best 42.61 seconds.
Grant junior Alec Wall (Scott's brother) may be lost, though, because of a stress fracture in his right foot suffered two weeks ago at the Hillsboro Invitational. If he can't compete at the district level (they'll make a determination on Tuesday), the Generals' state title hopes would be seriously hurt.
Grant's girls also won the city dual meet title, despite losing to Benson 83-61. Benson junior Deborah Jones won the 400 in 56.9, the third-fastest time of the season in the state, and the Techsters ran a state-best 48.42 in the 4x100 relay.
Grant senior Laura Westwood finished second to Jones in the 400 but remains a strong state contender in the 800, an event she won as a freshman and sophomore. Her best time is 2:17.59, second-best in the state.
'I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in,' Westwood says. 'But time isn't everything in the 800. There's a lot of strategy, too.'
BASEBALL: Grant rebounded from two straight losses by beating Roosevelt 18-8 on Wednesday, clinching second place in the PIL and a home game in the state playoffs against the No. 3 team from the Southern Oregon Conference.
Franklin handed Grant a 5-2 loss Monday, getting two home runs from senior Mike Aguilar, who also threw a three-hitter and struck out 10. Franklin is the city champion for the second straight year and will play host to the Valley League's No. 3 team in the first round.
Reynolds, led by standout pitcher Shannon Wirth, won the Mount Hood title and will play host to a first-round playoff game May 20 against the third-place team from the Three Rivers League.
BASKETBALL: Grant's new boys coach, Tony Broadous, won't be a staff employee, but he will spend significant time in the building through his job with the I Have a Dream Foundation.
Broadous, who previously coached at Roosevelt, says a chance to win more consistently motivated him to apply at Grant. 'Historically, Grant wins a lot more than Roosevelt does,' he says. 'I'll see what I can do with the program.'
The Generals have missed the state playoffs for the last five years.
OSAA: Coaches caught the Oregon School Activities Association Executive Board napping Monday and slipped through a proposal to alter the state volleyball tournaments to include pool play beginning this fall. The move could result in much lower attendance at the tournaments Ñ especially at the Class 4A level.
The 4A tourney has struggled to attract attention since the Class 2A tourney split off and was paired with the 1A tourney in 1998. The 4A final is played before 40 percent (at best) capacity at the Chiles Center, even though the two finalists are annually from volleyball-supportive schools in the metro area.
Now, fans will be asked to support three pool-play matches on Friday of the tournament, then return for as many as three matches Saturday. The finalists won't be known until midday Saturday.
The OSAA championship committee, which two years ago suggested cutting the basketball tournaments to eight teams to reduce costs, might have dismissed the proposal, but the OSAA Executive Board declined to hold off voting on the matter and simply approved it. The OSAA's main source of funding is attendance.
On a bright note, though, OSAA staff members did rope in Les Schwab Tire Centers as a co-title sponsor with U.S. Bank starting next fall. The OSAA also is studying how to create a fund-raising foundation. And the move to redesign the state basketball tournaments, publicly championed by Executive Director Tom Welter, remains alive.