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The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Private Schools, Public Sports

Sarah Quist
Central Catholic sophomore Connor Donegan poses in a Lincoln singlet. Despite attending Central Catholic, he wrestles for Lincoln.

Do you know someone on your sports team that you never see at school? It may be because they don’t attend Lincoln. Students who attend private schools or are homeschooled are eligible to play Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) sports

According to the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) handbook, “A homeschool student may represent the public or a private school located within the public-school attendance boundaries”

Students attending a private school can represent a public school within their attendance boundaries only if their school does not provide said activity. Meaning, if your school doesn’t have a wrestling team, for example, you can play for the public team in your district boundary.

Senior Will Semler attends the online Dwight Global and Identity-Centered Learning (ICL) Academy. He also plays for the Lincoln tennis team and represents himself at national and international junior and professional tournaments.

Semler first started playing for Lincoln in 2022 and has enjoyed his time on the team so much that he’s considered going back to in-person school. However, he feels it would be hard to balance in-person school with the demands of competing at a high level and the need for extra practice time.

“I love Lincoln, so I’ve definitely thought about attending, but my growth as a player has been pretty exponential, so it’s hard to make the decision to go back to high school,” Semler said.

Despite Semler’s success in the sport, including winning an individual PIL title for both years, he has faced challenges due to scheduling conflicts that arise from balancing playing at an advanced level and meeting commitments at the high school level.

“The most challenging thing for me has been to balance playing for Lincoln and chasing my individual aspirations of playing at the top level in college and potentially pro. There are lots of scheduling conflicts,” Semler said.

While Semler navigates the demanding task of balancing commitments between playing for Lincoln and pursuing higher aspirations in college and potentially professionally, other athletes like sophomore Connor Donegan at Central Catholic find their Lincoln athletic journeys taking shape in different sports. Donegan’s introduction to Lincoln’s athletic scene began with youth lacrosse, and he has now transitioned to wrestling for the school.

Donegan feels that the only downside to participating in a sport at Lincoln is the social aspect. He otherwise believes he is not athletically at a disadvantage.

“I do workouts [at Central Catholic], I do football there, I can translate that to here. The only challenge is not knowing people,” said Donegan.

Like Semler, Donegan didn’t get to choose which PIL school to play for. Because they both live in the Lincoln district, they compete for Lincoln.

While facing the challenges of pursuing athletics at Lincoln, both Semler and Donegan maintain an optimistic outlook for the future season and the progress of their respective teams. Despite the hurdles, Semler shares his enthusiasm for the upcoming tennis season.

“The team is looking really good this year, and there’s no reason we can’t go for another team title at state,” Semler said. “Hopefully, I can secure the individual title in the process.”

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Hildi Harrington, Reporter
Hildi is a senior this year. She is excited to learn more about communications, and loves opinion articles!
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