May 2021 ~
Kathy Naylor Prenevost (Adams, 1975) spent her first two years of high school at Marycrest, a since-closed girls school in Northeast Portland.
She played volleyball, basketball and softball, though fans were few, as Marycrest had only intramural teams.
“I was that kid always in the gym, always ready for the next game,” she says. Athletics “was my social group, my passion.”
When Marycrest shut down after her sophomore year, Naylor transferred to her neighborhood public high school, Adams, and jumped into the expanded world of PIL athletics. “It was like, this is the big-time; we’re playing other high schools,” she recalls.
Naylor went on earn all-PIL honors in volleyball, earned two varsity letters also in softball, and played some basketball. She was successful enough to earn PIL Hall of Fame induction in 2006.
Volleyball was her favorite sport, and probably her best. She was a setter for Adams coach Tom Swanson, her math teacher, as the Patriots became the first and only school team to win a league title. Adams volleyball went back-to-back, advancing to state as league champions in 1974 and 1975.
She enjoyed her two years at Adams. “I liked my teachers, my coaches, and made new friends there,” she says. “We had diverse teams, black and white, and we all played hard and together. There were no issues.”
In softball, she played outfield and second base.
She was voted Adams’ Athlete of the Year and even got her photo in a national women’s sports magazine.
Naylor also took part in USA Volleyball club action, where she became familiar with Marlene Piper, a legendary figure who developed the Portland State volleyball program and served as its coach from 1969-83.
“I saw her coach and play in the USVBA and was star-struck,” she says. “I had to play for her. I wanted to do anything for her.”
Naylor got a volleyball scholarship at PSU, where Piper’s teams were highly successful “and we had big crowds.”
Naylor played some varsity softball and JV basketball for the Vikings, too, while earning a psychology degree.
“I was always interested in learning how to help others,” she says.
She launched into a behavioral health career, working with emotionally disturbed youngsters and adults with mental illness and going back to Portland State years later for a masters degree.
Today, Prenevost is addictions program supervisor for Washington County.
Her early years in sports and PIL days have helped her on the job, she says.
“I learned a lot playing competitively,” she says, “like how to deal with a loss or a victory. I attribute my leadership skills to my experience in sports.”
Over the years, she has been a coach in softball and basketball for kids with disabilities.
She played recreational volleyball and softball till her late 40s, picked up a black belt in both taekwondo and karate, and continues as an avid golfer who “still works out like a crazy woman.”