Coaches ease loss of time, events
Season shortens by one to two weeks, and two track meets go by wayside
The Portland Interscholastic League went about the business of finalizing schedules this week for an abbreviated spring season.
Spring sports practices start Monday.
Because Portland Public Schools is furloughing students and teachers a month early, the PIL spring schedule will end one to two weeks early in every sport.
The district's seniors graduate May 10, so PIL finals need to be completed before then, says Greg Ross, the league's athletic director.
The regular seasons for baseball and softball will end May 1. Tennis, golf, and track and field will wind up May 6-8, leaving plenty of time between the district and state playoffs.
State playoffs for baseball and softball don't start until May 23. The state track meet is more than three weeks after the district meet, which is set for May 6 and May 8 at Marshall.
The first games for PIL baseball and softball teams are March 17. All 10 schools will field softball teams this spring, but Jefferson is not fielding a varsity baseball team.
Most PIL teams probably won't schedule the 10 preseason games they are allowed to play. That way, they'll be able to play some tuneup games between the close of the regular season and the start of the state playoffs.
'I'm saving two games so we can find someone to play if we get that far,' Grant baseball coach Rob Kennewell says. 'We'll go to Vancouver, go wherever we need to, to get a couple games in if we're in the playoffs.'
With the track and field season ending so early, some traditional events are being furloughed, as well. The City Relays, which were scheduled for April 10-11, will not be held this year. Neither will the Cotton Invitational at Grant, which had been scheduled for May 9.
The PIL tennis and golf tournaments are set for May 7 or 8. The PIL figures to do well in both sports at the state level. Wilson junior Momei Qu won the PIL girls tennis title last year and was the runner-up at the state tournament. Lincoln senior Cassie Castleman won the girls golf title last year.
The state golf tournaments will take place May 19-20, and the state tennis tournaments are set for May 22-24.
Ross says the student outrage at having to raise money for athletics, voiced at a news conference Feb. 9, isn't falling on deaf ears. He is hopeful that the city or Multnomah County will come up with a plan to raise more money for the district next year, when athletics are again the subject of cuts.
'We're concerned about what we've heard, but we hope our kids will stick with us,' Ross says. 'Based on some of the discussions we're hearing around town, we're hoping to hear something more optimistic in about a month.'