Winter sports preview: Coaches prepare from the upcoming season


William Schoinas

Photo of head varsity Basketball Coach Heather Roberts coaching the team at tryouts

This year’s winter coaches are thrilled for the upcoming season. 


Boys Basketball

Boys varsity basketball coach Heather Seely-Roberts is excited about the upcoming season, but she expects to face some challenges. This year, boys varsity basketball is set to play LeBron James Jr. (Bronny), son of professional basketball player LeBron James.

We have a very tough schedule. We asked to be scheduled against the toughest teams in the state and we are,” said Seely-Roberts. “We also have been invited to the Les Schwab Invite which is a huge deal with some of the best teams around the state and country including Bronny.”

Roberts anticipates having an even stronger team than last year’s.

“We want to build on what we started last year. The team last year really bought into what we are doing and made it to the second round of playoffs,” said Seely-Roberts. “This is my second year with the team and we return a lot of our team and the boys are very excited. They work hard, come every day and want to win.”



This year’s wrestling team has approximately 12 girls and 50 boys. Coach John Farinola is looking forward to practicing in the new practice room with floors specifically made for wrestling.

“It’s a huge goal for our program this year to use this facility. [This is] the most we possibly can [do] to expose people to our sport,” said Farinola.

Farinola is also optimistic about the team’s performance this season.  

“I think we have the ability to be the top team in Portland,” said Farinola. “Lots of things have to go our way since Cleveland High School has had maybe ten years straight where no one has beaten them on the PIL [Portland Interscholastic League]. We have lots of exciting duels with them, but on the scoreboard we have a lot of room to make up.”



The racquetball head coach Seth Bouska will be prioritizing developing the younger players’ skills with the loss of the seniors from last year.

“Last year we had a great season, with our boys team finishing second in state and our girls team finishing fourth.  We had four players finish in the top three in their division and even had the first place overall boys doubles team,” said Bouska.  “We did lose a lot of seniors off of that team, so this year we will be more focused on developing skills and getting better but I still want to have a goal of finishing in the top 3 in state for the boys and top 5 for the girls.”

The racquetball team has a big tournament coming up this weekend, and Bouska is excited for the players to prove themselves then, but also at nationals at the end of the season too. 

“Our first league match is coming up this Saturday, November 19th.  It’s going to be a big learning experience and so I’m excited to see how our players do. Finally, High School Racquetball nationals is actually right here in Portland, OR at the MAC club this year the first week of March,” said Bouska.



Head varsity swim coach Mikha Kaiel recognizes that managing school and swim teams can be very difficult, however that balance is vital for their success.

“Every year, the challenge is to build towards the end of the season. The biggest hurdles are winter break and finals week. Lots of swimmers miss time during these periods and they are a crucial time frame to continue to improve,” said Kaiel.

Swim is both an individual sport and a team sport, so for Kaiel the most important thing is taking the team and making it the most successful it can be.

Every season my goal is to take the group that we have and maximize our results. I try to accomplish this by pushing each individual swimmer to be the best that they can. At a high level, I try to aim for district titles for both the boys and girls teams,” said Kaiel.


Girls Varsity Basketball

For girls varsity basketball head coach Kevin Berry, not qualifying for playoffs last year has inspired him and the team to be the best team they can possibly be this coming season.

Last year we just barely missed the playoffs and I think that all the returners would agree that getting into the playoffs this year is our biggest goal from a competition standpoint.” said Berry. “Our team feels that since we got a full off-season of training that we are in a better position to accomplish that goal this year as compared to last year when I was hired in August and we didn’t get a full summer of work in.” 

Coach Berry explained some of the challenges that he expects to face in the upcoming season.

“We have a lot of new players this season so there’s going to be a challenge of getting the team to gel. We lost a lot of really impactful seniors to graduation so there are big shoes to fill. To prepare for that, we spend a lot of time working on our team culture, our leadership skills and our communication skills so that we can build the right type of program,” said Berry. 

Coach Berry and the team have been working hard over the off season and are excited to see the fruits of their labor this season.

“We spent the entire off-season working on getting better at all the foundational things we had put in during the season.The one area we might be a little different in this year is some of our offensive sets because we have a forward this year who is an excellent passer and when you have players that are both tall and good passers that gives you more options offensively that we didn’t have last season,” said Berry.