Benson, Grant and Franklin figure to qualify the most athletes for the state championship meet during this week's PIL track and field meet, but Jefferson hopes to be a factor, too.

With 58 athletes this season, almost three times as many as last year, the Democrats fared well in several dual meets.

'We're on our way up,' coach John Holenstein says. 'We had a pretty big group of freshmen and sophomores, so that looks good for next year.

'The district meet will be interesting because we could have as many as 12 people qualify for state, or as few as zero. Part of that is because our district is so tough, especially in the sprints.'

The Portland Interscholastic League meet begins today and finishes Thursday at Marshall. Benson's boys and girls both are defending champions.

Jefferson's 4x100 boys relay team has the fourth-fastest time in the state, but Grant and Benson are first and second, meaning the Demos probably will have to qualify for state via their time.

Jeff's most promising prospect is freshman Taylon Lincoln, who ran 12.6 in the 100 last week to move among the girls' state leaders. The PIL 100 competition is fierce, though, led by the defending state champion, Benson junior Deborah Jones. Lincoln's Bianca McNair also is among state leaders.

Lincoln will anchor both relay teams, but Holenstein says he plans to hold her out of the 200 and enter her in the 400 instead. Benson's Brandi Probasco-Canda is the defending state champion in the 400, and Jones finished second. McNair is among the state leaders.

In the boys meet, the 100 and 200 should be exceptional races featuring T. Harris of Grant and Antwaun Sherman of Benson.

But the 800 might be the best race. Lincoln's Mike McGrath has the state's best time, and Grant's Joaquin Chapa will challenge him.

The boys team race is also likely to be exciting as Benson and Grant duel each other.

MOUNT HOOD: The district meet is today and Wednesday at Mt. Hood Community College, and Gresham is the favorite to win both the boys and girls titles. Both its boys and girls teams went 8-0 in dual meets, which counts for half of the district point totals.

Attention will be on Sandy's Tommy Skipper, who is among the state leaders in the 100 and javelin and the defending state champ in the pole vault. He also is the district leader in the 200, high jump and long jump.

Central Catholic sophomore Galen Rupp is the heavy favorite to win the boys 1,500 and 3,000.

Ashley Quay of David Douglas is favored in the 400 and high jump, and the Scots are the district leaders in the 4x400 relay.

ROYALS WIN: Portland Christian won the Northwest League girls meet last week and qualified competitors for the Class 2A state meet in nine events. The state meet is Friday and Saturday at Western Oregon University in Monmouth. Ashley Fennison won the district 400 and was second in the high jump to lead the Royals, who beat Oregon Episcopal by two points and Warrenton by three.

Ryan Hernandez won the triple jump and took second in the 400 to lead Portland Christian's boys team to third at district. Jake Buchanan won the high hurdles, and the Royals will have competitors in five state events.

MORE TRACK: De La Salle North, the first-year school in North Portland, qualified sprinters Datroina Spears and Rashida Saunders for the Class 1A state meet Saturday at Western Oregon University. Erin Mitts of Northeast Portland's Columbia Christian qualified in both hurdles and helped the Knights finish fifth in the Casco League district meet.

Cliff Maxson of the 24-student Portland Waldorf School qualified for state in the javelin.

SOFTBALL: Cleveland will play host to a state playoff game Friday.

BASEBALL: Madison squeezed into the state playoffs Thursday by beating city champion Franklin 5-2, completing a stunning run to the postseason. The Senators, who had a coaching change just before the season, fielded only 11 players for their team photo on Friday

'This has been a pretty amazing season,' says coach Art Chase, who took over for Greg Lord in March. 'The seniors have done a great job of leading the team.'

Madison's six seniors Ñ Andrew Enterline, Tyson Farley, Manuel Diaz, Haden Kujawa, Cody Hinton and Joey Mayer ÑÊmade sure the team kept its poise after Lord resigned because of health concerns and frustration with the district. The Senators went 9-7 in district, tying Wilson for fourth, and earned the state berth because they beat the Trojans twice.

'It's tough when you know you don't have any subs,' Farley said as the team prepared for its playoff opener Friday. 'A lot of us have sore arms.'

'We expect to win our first game,' says Enterline, who pitched a four-hitter against Franklin. 'After that, it's one game at a time.'

Lincoln's 11-0 victory over Cleveland earned the Cardinals third place and avoided a four-way tie for third in the PIL.

LEGION BASEBALL: Corvallis will be the host for the 2004 American Legion baseball World Series, the city learned this week. Medford will be host for this year's AAA state tournament. Teams begin their seasons in late May.

LACROSSE: Grant will play a quarterfinal playoff match Thursday at Delta Park in the boys state tournament. The Generals won the Columbia Division, one of four in the statewide, 24-team league. Glencoe will play at Lincoln in a first-round match today.

FOOTBALL: Tickets are on sale for the 55th annual Les Schwab Bowl, the renamed Oregon Bowl all-star game, June 22 at PGE Park.

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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