Each week, I will be previewing the soccer, cross country, and volleyball programs in each conference from every classification before fall sports are scheduled to start at the end of August, with a goal of getting through all of them before the start of the season. Today, I start with the Portland Interscholastic League in 6A classification…
There are several solid teams in the PIL, but one team stood out as the force of the conference, the Lincoln Cardinals. They torched the rest of conference at the district meets, winning by 42 points over second place Franklin, while second through fourth place were separated by three points combined. At the state championships, Lincoln freshman Kate Peters finished second overall behind Summit’s Fiona Max. Franklin had a strong showing from Kaiya Robertson and Autumn Ost, who placed back to back in the top ten finishers. In the end, Lincoln finished third overall, while Wilson and Franklin took sixth and seventh at the state championships.
Looking ahead to 2020, Lincoln is looking at serious contention for breaking Summit’s 11 year state title streak, returning state runner-up Kate Peters along with three juniors and a senior on the 2020 squad. Wilson returns a seasoned squad, anchored by returning Senior Sylvia Ingram and Sophomore Petra Schuster. Franklin has two returning top ten runners in Robertson and Ost, while graduating three seniors who were state qualifiers last season. The Grant Generals had Annelies Quinton as their lone state qualifier, who returns to the Generals for her last dance as a senior in 2020. All in all, Wilson, Grant, and Franklin should be solid teams again in 2020, Lincoln is still the team to beat and catch headed into the fall cross country season.
An experienced Wilson Trojans team swept the PIL last season, going 16-0 in conference while finishing 24-5 overall with a 12th place state ranking entering the state playoffs. Two more teams, Grant and Lincoln, also qualified for the state playoffs after going 13-3 in conference last year. Cleveland was 10-6 in conference, beating everyone with the exception of the top three teams, just missing the playoffs by three spots in the rankings.
With eight seniors departed, including two first team all-league selections, the Trojans are primed to be challenged for the crown in the PIL. The Generals are also losing seven seniors, but they return their two first team all-league players in Maci Dahl and Madyson Roach. Lincoln only lost two players, but they were key players in Abby Snethen and Hudson Longaker, who were both all-league selections last year. Look to Grant and Lincoln being the front runners in 2020, with the edge going to Grant with the quality of talent returning, but Lincoln having an advantage in terms of youth. Wilson and Cleveland are also in the mix, however they face an uphill climb to reach the top this year. Franklin could also make a pursuit with their veteran roster returning, but face challenges after the departure of more than a handful of seniors.
Out of the three fall sports, soccer is likely the most wide open sport in the PIL. With Wilson, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Grant all facing huge holes to fill, this season can be anyone of those four teams season to win league. Wilson is in the best position of the top four teams, returning a goalkeeper in Finley Crabtree, along with three players who were all-league selections last season, although they are losing first team goalie Olivia Williams and center-back Chloe Unflat. Grant faces the biggest hill to climb, losing all of their all-league selections, but do have an advantage of keeping a goalie in Emma Hamdan. Cleveland and Lincoln aren’t returning any goalies, but do have a decent base of talent returning in 2020.
Despite their major departures, Wilson looks to be the team to beat again in soccer, returning a plethora of talent in Mackenna Antonini, Lucy Quinn, and Elle Unflat, among others. Lincoln’s Jolie Maycumber and Sophia Bearden-Croft will be key players in the Cardinals fight with the Trojans, while Cleveland has Avery Kyle and Devon Burke back in 2020. Wilson should be the favorites to win PIL this season, with Lincoln and Cleveland having solid chances if they can fill their goalkeeping departures.