PCCs Athletic Past Recalled
She started running as soon as she heard the shot. Obstacles blocked her path, and again, again, and ten times in total she leapt over them, pushing herself onward. In just seconds, it was over. PCC student Kathi Guiney had finished the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 16.2 seconds, good enough for second place in the AIAW (Association of Interscholastic Athletics for Women) National Finals.
Guiney’s 1973 feat is just one of a number of stories of PCC students who excelled in athletics over the years. I learned about her when a researcher studying women’s athletics contacted the PCC library, seeking information about who was Guiney’s coach.
We found a few things about her, including that she came to Oregon from Massachusetts, and while she took classes at PCC, she trained at Mt Hood Community College. An article in The Oregonian (June 8, 1973) says she was “running by herself”, but PCC did have a women’s track team, coached by Terry Boatman. Guiney went on to get a diploma from the University of Oregon, and now lives in California, where she still competes.
History can be easily lost. For example, the large photograph of the Cascade Campus staff that was taken when the Student Center opened 20 some years ago was recently destroyed. Stories vary whether it was thrown out by accident, neglect, or deliberate act, but the photograph is gone. More often, history fades just because no one bothered to record it to begin with.
In the process of asking PCC old-timers if they knew anything about Guiney, a number of interesting stories about PCC’s athletic past came up.
In 1973, Dr. Mary Ann Humphrey-Keever, who still teaches PE at the Rock Creek campus, was hired along with Terry Boatman to coach and teach PE. Between the two of them they formed the first track teams as well as women’s Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball.
These joined the existing men’s Basketball team, which was coached by Duane Owens. They occasionally succeeded in setting up games with Clark College, University of Portland, PSU, Linfield, George Fox, Oregon State and University of Oregon, and Humphrey-Keever’s memory is that they won about half the time.
Then as now, PCC (at that time it was only the Sylvania Campus) was a commuter school, and there was little student interest in having organized teams. There was also a lack of support from the administration. Founding President Amo De Bernardis had placed a “rule” in PCC’s Constitution prohibiting any athletic competition outside of the Portland city limits.
There was also a soccer team, and Humphrey-Keever remembers them being mostly European-born athletes. They broke the rule prohibiting out-of-city competition and played Oregon State and the University of Oregon, “and did quite well.” The Bridge also carried a story in 1973 about the college’s “Tennis Squad,” naming Chuck Carey, Don Lee, and Jim Rossman as members. There college’s softball team competed in a city league, including games against Georgia Pacific, U.S. Bank, and a team called Omark.
Major League baseballer Wayne Twitchell, a Portland native who attended Wilson High, took at least a few classes at PCC before signing a contract that launched his 10-year career in the big leagues. The July 1973 issue of The Bridge refers to him as a former PCC student, doing well with the Philadelphia Phillies. That was Twitchell’s best year as he pitched a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game, striking out Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson in the process.
PCC’s swim team competed in Men’s and Women’s divisions. Jill Schuldt, who teaches Biology and PE at Sylvania, was a student at Lewis and Clark in the late 1970s. She remembers her Lewis and Clark team competing in practice matches against PCC in both swimming and water polo. The coach of the women’s swim teams was Karl Von Tagen.
Those teams seem to have eventually faded out, but in the last few years PCC teams have again begun competing with other colleges. Although not formally inter-collegiate, Schuldt has been a coach and competitor in “Master’s Swimming,” which is a program to encourage swimming for people over 25. The teams she coached from 2006-2016 did well, including having some athletes who hold state and national records.
In the last few years, Men’s and Women’s basketball teams have been re-established with a budget that would have shocked Dr. De Bernardis, with the men’s team winning the 2014 Northwest Athletic Conference Championship. Those teams begin their 2016-2017 seasons very soon. The college also has men’s (9-4-4) and women’s (3-10) soccer teams which finished their seasons last month.
Thanks to Cathy Alzner, Penny Thompson, Poul Suero, Joellla Olson, Jill Schuldt, John Beaumont, Mary Ann Humphrey-Keever, Kelly Anderson and Jane Zunkel for their help.