Swimming rivalries heat up the lanes
Lincoln's boys and girls showed that they are the teams to beat in PIL swimming by scoring easy wins over Grant last week at Matt Dishman Community Center.
The boys won 105-62, the girls 108-60.
Lincoln, the boys and girls league champion for the last three seasons, faces Cleveland on Wednesday at the Dishman pool.
Cleveland's boys easily beat Wilson 111-50 last week, while the Cleveland and Wilson girls tied at 85.
'We're looking at the Cleveland boys and Cleveland and Wilson girls as our top competition,' Lincoln coach Geoff Thomas says. 'We've lost some key members from our team last year, but we still have a strong group. We have a lot of kids who are just stepping up and swimming better.'
The PIL schedule has been revamped so that schools compete in one of two divisions. One of them features the schools with larger teams: Cleveland, Grant, Lincoln and Wilson.
Lincoln's boys team got a boost from senior David Radler, who also is on the wrestling team. Radler went from a wrestling meet Friday night to the Dishman pool, where he won the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.
The Lincoln girls feature a pair of freshmen, Alexis Aschenbrenner and Sarah Burczak, as well as senior Ali Davis, who is the lone returnee from the Cardinals' state champion 200-yard medley relay team.
Juniors Jessica Embick and Jane Kestner quit high school swimming. Embick is training for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, set for July in Long Beach, Calif.
Benson closed an interesting week by edging Lake Oswego 47-45 Friday night, ending a stretch of three games in five nights.
The Techmen, who went 2-1, found their scoring punch in senior Bryan Martin and junior Ramon Wray. The two combined for 28 points against Lake Oswego.
Benson came up with some impressive defense, too. Senior reserve Sean Brannon, who is 6-4, played most of the fourth quarter against 6-8 freshman Kevin Love and helped Benson hold the new Laker star to just three points in the second half.
'He's tough to play against, and he's got a lot of heart,' Brannon says of Love. 'But we're stepping up big-time in every game we play.'
Martin, who is Benson's leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, says he isn't concerned about scoring the most points every game.
'We're built on character,' Martin says. 'And we think we can win without having one guy be the scorer every game. Someone picks it up every game.'
Benson plays host to Jefferson tonight at 7:45.
Jefferson quietly opened its schedule with a pair of lopsided victories, 94-50 over Madison and 98-46 over Glencoe. The Demos have significant scoring depth, with five players averaging in double figures, led by sophomore Lathen Wallace at 19.5 points per game.
In another key game, Cleveland travels to Grant at 7:45 tonight in the PIL opener for both teams.
Love says he's somewhat frustrated by all the defensive attention he's been getting in his first two weeks of varsity play, but he loves the level of competition.
'Referees don't seem to like big guys, because I don't think I'm getting many calls,' he says. 'But I love varsity games. I've been waiting for this since the seventh grade.'
Jefferson took a key step toward winning its first PIL title in five years by beating Lincoln 84-68 at Lincoln last week. Senior Brittney Davis scored a game-high 33 points to outduel the Cardinals' Lauren Greif, who had 31.
Franklin, which also has state playoff hopes, gained some momentum by beating Wilson 51-43. The Quakers, who took control with a 17-4 run in the third quarter, got 13 points from Alicia Tucker and 10 points each from Jen Speakmon and Joyce Oniah.
Franklin's next key test is at home Friday against Grant. The Generals lost to Jefferson by just seven points in their league opener.
Benson inducted a number of individuals and the 1976 state champion baseball team into its athletic Hall of Fame before playing Lake Oswego. The event drew at least one baseball player who flew in from Texas. Darryl Cuda, the starting right fielder and No. 4 hitter on the Benson championship team, is an orthopedic surgeon in San Antonio. After 27 years, he still remembers the momentum the team carried as it rolled through the state playoffs. 'Once we started winning, we just wouldn't lose,' he says. 'That was a tremendous experience.'