• Sports update: Cleveland’s Cody Soo wins state swimming title; state basketball playoffs start

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     Cody Soo

    Cleveland's Cody Soo with coaches Mark Wren and Mollie Starr at the Class 6A state championships. (Photo courtesy Cleveland Clarion/Kellie Cook)

    After the swimmers raced to the finish of the 100-yard freestyle final at the OSAA Class 6A state championships, the top two finishers were so close, all heads at the Tualatin Hills Aquatic whipped around to look at the electronic scoreboard, which revealed this: Cleveland senior Cody Soo had made history, winning the state championship.

    “We’re so proud of him,” Cleveland coach Mollie Starr said. “It’s a huge accomplishment.”

    Cody won the race by finishing in 45.77 seconds, 0.05 seconds ahead of Sherwood senior Jacob Folsom. About an hour earlier, Folsom had won the 200 freestyle in which Cody finished third.

    Cody’s winning time was a personal record and substantially faster than the last time he competed in the 100 freestyle at state, as a sophomore in 2018, when he finished 10th at 48.63 seconds. A week before this year’s state meet, he won the event at the PIL district meet in 47.13, and also won the 200 freestyle.

    Cody became the first Portland Interscholastic League competitor to win a boys state swimming title since 2017, when Grant’s Sam Harquail won the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, and Wilson’s Evan Carlson took the 50 freestyle.

    Cody competed at the state meet in all four of his high school years, following in the wake of older brothers Steven and Tyler, who also swam at state for Cleveland. Cody competed in the 100 and 200 freestyle at state as a freshman and sophomore, then switched to the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly at the 2019 state meet, finishing ninth and seventh.

    This year, Cody became the fifth swimmer from Cleveland to win a boys individual state title and the first in 60 years to win at the largest classification, since Dick Boyd won the last of the four state titles he captured in 1959 and 1960.

    The first Cleveland state boys swimming champion was Dale Sweatt, who the 200 freestyle in 1954. After Boyd won his four, Cleveland next won a state title in 2008, when the Warriors were competing in Class 5A, and Luke Donohue won the 100 butterfly. Also at the 5A level, Sam Donohue won the 100 backstroke in 2012, and Cleveland won back-to-back state titles in the 200 medley relay, in 2011 and 2012.

    Boys basketball: Jefferson enters the Class 6A playoffs as one of the top contenders to win the state title after a dominant PIL season in which the Democrats went 16-0, winning by an average margin of 24.9 points. The Democrats played in the state championship game last year, losing to Jesuit.

    Grant, which finished runner-up in league at 13-3, and third-place Cleveland (11-5) earned the PIL’s other two automatic playoff berths, which are determined by the Oregon School Activities Association computer rankings. State play starts Wednesday, leading to the state tournament March 12-14 at the Chiles Center. Full schedules and brackets are available at the OSAA boys basketball playoff page.

    Girls basketball: The PIL regular season returned to familiar ground as Benson and Grant shared the league title for the third time in four years with matching 15-1 records, splitting their two meetings. The Techsters, who won their first state championship last year, and Generals were joined by third-place Lincoln in earning automatic state playoff berths.

    State play begins tonight, with the state tournament is March 11-14 at the Chiles Center. Schedules and brackets are available at the OSAA girls basketball playoff page.