Through with soccer, Giles tries boxing ring
Ashlee Giles has absorbed her share of bumps, bruises and worse in her prep basketball and soccer careers.
She has torn a knee ligament on the soccer field and been hauled off a basketball court on a gurney.
Now the North Medford senior has enrolled in a new class in the school of hard knocks. Giles is taking lessons at Medford's Bulldog Boxing Club.
Her workouts there are in lieu of playing soccer. She was removed from the school team last month.
Giles may well be the Southern Oregon Conference's premier female athlete for the Class of '99. She was a first-team SOC soccer all-star two years ago and was a second-team pick last year, despite a knee injury that sidelined her for more than half of the season.
She demonstrated last winter that she was one of Oregon's best defensive basketball players as North earned its first state-tournament trophy.
Giles and several other Black Tornado basketball players are working out with Lisa Pedrojetti, a former North athlete, whose family operates Bulldog Boxing Club.
Giles says she's not quite ready to climb into a ring at the Doubletree Hotel and duke it out. But instead of getting her kicks in soccer these days, it's kick boxing.
Soccer coach Dick Darcy kicked Giles off the squad after she completed a basketball recruiting visit at the University of Portland last month.
Giles said she told Darcy of the trip three weeks in advance and had been excused from two non-conference matches that weekend.
Two or three days after I got back, he told me to turn in my uniform, Giles says.
For his part, Darcy says that the matter is best forgotten.
I really don't want to comment on it, Darcy says. That's something that took place between Ashlee and myself. I think it was something done for her own benefit.
True, Giles' athletic future apparently is in basketball. She has verbally committed to the University of Portland and plans to sign a letter of intent in November's early signing period.
In essence, Darcy wanted Giles all of the time or none of the time.
So Giles finds herself in the boxing gym.
I don't want to play for a coach who doesn't believe in me, she says.
Portland coach Jim Sollars and his staff saw enough of Giles in last year's state tournament to believe she could help the Pilots. Giles guarded Oregon City's Lindsey Yamasaki, North Eugene's Keani Christianson, Jefferson's Carliss Holland and Westview's Julie Deming -- a veritable Who's Who list -- at the University of Portland's Chiles Center.
Lindsey Yamasaki didn't really hurt us until the last two minutes, and Keani got frustrated, then got into foul trouble, North coach Mike Kay says. She shut out Deming (who was a second-team all-tournament selection).
Giles' ability to disrupt offenses wasn't enough to get honors accorded to some of the people she outplayed.
Her ability to see the court and react are so important, Kay says. Her ability to run the court and her long arm span are things that aren't always recognized.
Giles figures Portland and the West Coast Athletic Conference will be a good fit.
I wanted to go to a small Division I or II school that was close but was well-known for its academic program, Giles says. When you walk on a college campus, you want to feel you can go there. When I went to team camp down at Pepperdine for three years, I didn't feel comfortable there.
She had gone to watch soccer matches on the Portland campus that overlooks the Willamette River but became enamored with the place when North played there in March.
During the (state basketball) tournament, I thought: `This is a cool place,' she says.
Giles took a cue from former teammates Ericka Brosterhous, who signed early with Oregon State last year, and Dolinda Meeker, who landed with the University of the Pacific in August.
Ericka went into every game (her senior year) and had fun because the pressure was off, Giles says. With Dolinda, every game counted because there could be someone there watching her and she really depended on that.
So with soccer behind and basketball ahead, Giles is rolling with the punches.
The boxing part is kind of scary, but the workouts are great because they're working on hand speed and foot speed, Kay says. ``Plus, it's a great aerobic workout for kids who aren't playing fall sports.
COMING BACK: North running back Justin MacLauchlan suffered what was feared to be a neck injury two weeks ago against South Medford in a freshman football game at Spiegelberg Stadium.
Fortunately, it turned out to be concussion and shoulder injury. Kay reports MacLauchlan will be able to play again later this month.
ON THE RUN: North Douglas running back Joel Williams has taken to new coach Cal Szueber's double-wing offense. Williams rushed for 481 yards and five touchdowns in a 60-30 win over Riddle last week. That gives him 1,223 yards and 21 TDs in five games.
Riddle's Mike Brown didn't do too badly, either. He rushed for 219 yards and a touchdown, giving him 840 yards in five games.
(Greg Stiles is a Mail Tribune sports writer. He can be reached at 776-4483.)