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PREP WATCH: Potestio sees new script; Donaghu, Rams run well at regional

by: COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF OREGON - Center midfielder Michele Potestio of the Oregon Ducks splits the defense in a 1981 college match.Michele Potestio has had gratifying athletic accomplishments on and off the field before.

But the 20th-year Wilson High girls soccer coach saw something new this season, as the Trojans blitzed four higher-ranked teams in a surprise run to the Class 5A championship game.

Wilson's streak ended in a 4-2 loss Saturday to No. 1 Summit, which has won three of the past four 5A crowns.

But it was quite a story that unfolded for the Trojans, who lost arguably their top player in the season opener when defender McKenzie Hopfer suffered an ACL injury and then had to turn to JV callup Nikki Hogan, a sophomore, in goal for the final five games after a freak concussion during warmups to starter Jackie Hudson.

"The girls are writing their own story," Potestio said as the Trojans prepared to face Summit in the title game at Hillsboro Stadium.

It was 36 years ago that Potestio and the Trojans wrote their own story.

In 1977, Potestio was the starting center midfielder in the first girls state playoffs recognized by the Oregon School Activities Association. She helped lead the Trojans to the championship match, where Wilson and Aloha tied 0-0 to share the crown.

Only four teams made the postseason in '77. Wilson got by Lakeridge 1-0 in the semifinals, while Aloha stopped South Eugene 3-0. The championship game took place at Civic Stadium (now Jeld-Wen Field).

The 1977 game was played on Nov. 16, the same day that Potestio's Trojans took the field against Summit.

"The game really hasn't changed," Potestio says. "It's still the same ball, the same field, the same goals."

Potestio, who also played basketball and softball, went on to star at the University of Oregon.

She earned second-team All-America honors twice in two years with the Ducks. She scored a school-record 22 goals as a freshman in 1980 and was named the team's MVP. In 1981, she led the Ducks to their second league crown in two years and into the national tournament.

In 2011, the UO inducted Potestio into its Athletics Hall of Fame.

• Attendance was up this year for the state soccer matches at Hillsboro Stadium.

The count total for four matches (two 6A, two 5A) was 4,782.

Last year, the Hillsboro total was 3,619. In 2011, the stadium drew 4,572. The 2010 Hillsboro Stadium combined attendance was 3,328.

The four-game attendance total at Liberty High for Saturday's 4A and 3A/2A/1A soccer title games was 2,273. A year ago, it was 2,352, and in 2011, it was 2,949.

• Grant High's Ella Donaghu, the Class 6A two-time state champion, has qualified for the Dec. 7 Nike Cross Nationals cross-country race at Portland Meadows.DONAGHU

Donaghu advanced by finishing third in the Nike XN regionals last weekend at Boise, Idaho. She finished in 17:59.7. The winner, Alexa Ephraimson of Camas High, ran 17:21.1.

"Her fitness level is the best it's ever been," Grant coach Doug Winn says. "During the race at regionals, she wasn't feeling great and almost threw up during the race, but she regrouped and out-kicked the runners near her to get third.

"She shuld be ready to go at Border Clash and run even better at nationals on Dec. 7. She's very focused and determined."

The 6A champion boys of Central Catholic, led by state individual winner Kyle Thompson, are expecting an invite to the Dec. 7 national race after their third-place showing at Boise.

CC coach David Frank says the Rams might not know until Sunday, Dec. 1, though, because three regional races are scheduled for Nov. 30.

The Stark Street team totaled 136 points at the Northwest regional, won by Gig Harbor (Wash.) with 68. North Spokane was second with 111 points.

The top two teams automatically qualify for the national championships.

Thompson placed 12th at Boise in 16:02.9.

Others in the Stark Street first five: Sam Truax, 32nd, 16:27.9; Gunnar Vik, 39th, 16:36.4; Daniel Thompson, 52nd, 16:45.4; and Sam Lomax, 58th, 16:47.0.by: COURTESY OF DAVID BLAIR - Kyle Thompson of Central Catholic leads the field at the Class 6A championships in Eugene.