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Pilots parlay win into more

Ducks also get honors at Oregon Sports Awards overline: UP soccer champions and coach make for an evening of accolades

Many of Clive Charles' players and former teammates surrounded him on the stage of the Oregon Sports Awards on Sunday as he won the Slats Gill Award as the outstanding coach or administrator in the state for 2002.

'It's been an unbelievable year for me,' said Charles, who is battling prostate cancer. 'I've probably experienced every emotion you could possibly go through.'

Moments later, Charles' NCAA champion University of Portland women's soccer team was back in the spotlight. The Pilots received the George Pasero Team of the Year Award, an honor they shared with the University of Oregon men's basketball team that reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

'Every time I asked them for something more, they gave it to me,' Charles said of his women's team. 'And we did it with 19 players, 18 of them fit, whereas most teams have 25 to 30 players.'

In all, 17 awards were presented at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike World Campus in Beaverton. A sellout crowd of close to 800 came for the show, the second since the Oregon Sports Awards succeeded the Hayward Banquet, which ran from 1948-96.

Pilot soccer reigned at the end of the show, too, when high-scoring forward Christine Sinclair was named the Bill Hayward Amateur Athlete of the Year for women. Sinclair broke a playoff record with 10 goals, including both tallies in UP's 2-1 overtime win over Santa Clara in the NCAA Final.

'We are family, and I'll never forget it,' Sinclair said of the Pilots and their breakthrough season.

The Hayward men's winner was Fred Jones, whose guard play lifted Oregon to the Pacific-10 Conference title and NCAA tourney run last season.

Special guest Clyde Drexler helped present several awards, voted on by a statewide media panel, during the two-hour show co-sponsored by Nike and the Portland Tribune.

Golfer Bob Gilder and runner Marla Runyan won the Harry Glickman Pro Athlete of the Year awards.

Gilder, who lives in his native Corvallis, was second on the Senior PGA Tour money list and won four tournaments. Runyan, from Eugene, finished fifth in the New York City Marathon, her first try at the distance, and won two U.S. road championships (at 5 kilometers and 10 kilometers), as well as the U.S. outdoor 5,000 meters.

Track stars Jordan Kent of Churchill and Deborah Jones of Benson were named the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athletes of the Year.

Kent, who also took home the award last year, won four individual titles in last year's state track meet. Jones was the fastest high school girl in the state, winning at 100 and 400 meters and anchoring the 4x400-meter state championship relay team.

Lauren Jespersen, a track and cross country standout from Klamath Union High, picked up the Nike-Steve Prefontaine Award, which goes to the senior boy or girl distance runner who has showed the competitive drive and development that 'Pre' did during his rise to international success.

The Ad Rutschman Small College Athletes of the Year were Linfield running back David Russell and Oregon Tech softball star Meagan Webber. Russell had school records of 1,541 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns as the Wildcats reached the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. Webber is a two-time NAIA All-American who set eight of her team's nine career offensive records.

Portland's Debra McDougald won the Lou Burge Special Olympics Athlete of the Year award. She has participated in Special Olympics since 1984, competing in bowling, track and field and basketball.

A new category, the Friend of Sports Award, went to Les Schwab Tire Centers for the company's longtime and extensive support of sports throughout the state at the youth, high school, college and professional levels.

Charlotte Brandon of Portland, Anthony Newman of Beaverton and former Lakeridge High star J.J. Birden received merit awards.

Brandon was saluted for her work as the founder and president of Mothers of Professional Basketball Players. Her son, former Grant High and University of Oregon star Terrell Brandon, paid video tribute to her from Minnesota, where he is a member of the NBA Timberwolves.

Newman and Birden were selected for having conducted free football camps for Portland area youth the past nine summers.

Bill Schonely was the Oregon Sports Awards emcee. In addition to Trail Blazer great Drexler, awards were presented by Peter Jacobsen, Brian Henninger, Dick Fosbury, Tinker Hatfield, Jackie Stiles, Jonathan Stark, Mary Slaney, Rudy Chapa, Scott Brosius, Ad Rutschman, Alberto Salazar and Nike executives Charlie Denson and Gary DeStefano.

All of the winners were on hand but Jones, who is playing for the Indiana Pacers, and Birden, who lives in Arizona. Jones' nephew, 12-year-old Dustin Jones of Gresham, accepted the award in his absence.

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