Coach looks for strong Finnish

Prep Watch
by: DENISE FARWELL, Freshman Kema Harvey impressed in the 800 at Wednesday’s dual meet at Lincoln, where the Cardinals showed their depth and distance ability.

Tom Smythe is about to take another European working vacation.

Recently named head football coach at Evergreen High in Vancouver, Wash., Smythe leaves in early May to coach the Jyvaskyla Jaguaarit, a pro team in Finland.

'It's in a college town about four hours north of Helsinki,' Smythe says. 'I think the nickname means Jackrabbits, or maybe Jaguars. I'm trying to find out.'

Smythe coached nearly a decade in Austria, where his teams routinely reached the national finals. He'll return for Evergreen's two weeks of practice in June and in plenty of time for preseason drills in August.

Smythe, 65, won state titles at Lakeridge (1987) and McNary (1997, 2001) and has had nine teams reach the semifinals. He stepped down at McNary after the 2006 season. 'It was time for a change, but I knew I was going to coach again somewhere,' he says.

He has moved into a rental in downtown Vancouver. 'I feel like I've got a lot of knowledge and coaching left in me,' he says.

• Evergreen will open at home Aug. 31 against defending Mount Hood Conference champion Central Catholic.

'Obviously, our question marks will be up front,' says Ram coach Steve Pyne, who graduated Myles Wade (Oregon), Kevin Frahm (Oregon State) and Antonio Danek (Northern Arizona). 'Zach Ka'ahanui, Gavin Drake, Conner Childers, Aaron Miley, Dan Perez and Aaron Vandiver are among the candidates to play on the line on both sides of the ball.'

Jacob Haas, Nick Green and Derek Bowen will battle at QB. Haas started 11 games last season, when Green went down early with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The Rams will play at defending state champion Jesuit on Sept. 7.


• Lincoln's track and field teams, boys and girls, have an abundance of distance runners to go with good sprinters and outstanding hurdler Bianca Mathabane.

The Cardinals showed their depth last week in a dual meet with Benson.

Five boys won individual races on the track (King Hearvy, 100 meters; Jordan Polk, 200; Quinn Peck, 400; Nathan Mathabane, 800; and Matt Parker, 1,500 and 3,000). Ethan Johnson uncorked a throw of 48 feet, 5 inches in the shot put. Elvis Akpla (41-11) took second to Benson's Brandon Beasley (42-10) in the triple jump.

Bianca Mathabane edged Benson's Jewel Martin in the high hurdles (14.29 seconds to 14.32), and they went 1-2 in the intermediates. PIL cross country champion Marsha Lampi won the 1,500. Betsy Kolberg took second in that race and first in the 3,000. In the 800, freshman Kema Harvey edged returning sophomore Caroline Kreuz, a soccer star for the Cardinals' league champs.

• Former big league pitcher and Madison High star Kent Bottenfield now is a Christian recording artist. Bottenfield will give a benefit concert for Portland Christian High's baseball team at 7 p.m. Friday at the school. His second CD, 'Back in the Game,' will be out soon.

• Jesuit's baseball team, which won the Metro League and reached the state quarterfinals a year ago, is off to a 4-0 start against a tough schedule. Don Lovell's crew has wins over Lake Oswego (9-6), Central Catholic (12-2), West Linn (9-7) and Tualatin (10-1).

Crusader baseball has 12 returning lettermen among its eight seniors, eight juniors and one sophomore, and 'we've hit very well throughout the lineup,' Lovell says.

Michael Lowe and Tim David are the captains. Senior Aaron Campbell and junior Marshall Yanzick have been making noise on offense. And with the entire defense back from last year, 'we're playing like a very experienced group that can make the routine play every time under pressure,' Lovell says.

Yanzick was the best shortstop in the Metro last year, Lovell says, 'and he's even better this year. He's one of the most complete players in our league.'

Juniors Cameron Love, Alex Keudell and Michael Payne have anchored the pitching staff. Love and junior outfielder Doug Kincaid are being recruited by Pac-10 schools, while senior pitcher Joe Supple has signed with Santa Clara and Michael Lowe has been accepted to Loyola Marymount but has yet to sign and is being recruited by other schools.

• Lincoln's girls are putting together a strong tennis team, and the top players are two freshmen, Tasha Hueffner and Betsy Sauer.

Hueffner is new to Oregon and fits right in with the Cardinals; she was a national-caliber player in Florida. 'She's the most wonderful person you could imagine, always wanting to help,' says second-year Lincoln coach Susan Basham.

Hueffner split two sets last week in a match with Grant senior Danielle Farmer, who has won the last two PIL titles.

Sauer played tennis nationally in the 12-and-under division and competed in dance for Lincoln during the winter season. She came out for the team a week ago.

The Cardinals' returning players will contribute again, too. Junior Kelsey Goodell, an all-league basketball player, will team with junior Jessie Gauger again in doubles. Sophomore Sheena Kapur and junior Ella McCallion (team captain) also are strong players.

And the Cardinals could be really formidable next year, if Belinda Niu, a nationally ranked eighth-grader attending West Sylvan Middle School, chooses Lincoln.

- Steve Brandon