Girls cross-country eyes District title

If constant competition only makes runners stronger, then the Hood River Valley girls cross-country team is sure to be one of the buffest, burliest teams in the Mt. Hood Conference this season.

Less than one week remains before the team's first meet and the varsity squad still hasn't been determined. The team has so many strong runners that coach Kristin Uhler is having a very difficult time narrowing the field to seven.

"The girls that have been trainÿing this summer are extremely dedicated," Uhler said. "As a coach, that commitment is really appreciated.

"After all, if you're going to do something -- whether it's sports, academics, etc. -- you should do it with 100 percent commitment."

One runner who has demonÿstrated her commitment the past two seasons is junior Christy Paul. She's not just committed. She is driven to be the best.

Paul all but secured her spot on the varsity team after winning the 2000 Oregon state girls cross-country title. Any doubts were removed when she broke the 5K record at the Steens Mountain High-Altiÿtude Running Camp in late July.

Senior Laurissa Pennington has also solidified her position on the varsity team, leaving almost 15 runners to compete for the final five spots.

"It's going to be tough to make it into the top seven," Uhler said. "That's what you want on a comÿpetitive cross-country team. Friendly intrasquad competition makes everybody faster."

Not that you can ever have too many good runners.

Just like any sport, depth is a huge positive in cross-country. With so much qualÿity competition from within, the junior varsity squad will improve at a faster pace, and be prepared to step in next season -- maybe even later this season.

Some of the other runners comÿpeting for a spot on varsity inÿclude juniors Emily Meyer, Raeÿmi Lucas and Allison Byers, sophÿomores Chelsea Nance, Faye Haÿglund, Lindsey Brown and Jessica Adams, and freshmen Kristen Hedges and Jillian Jones. Uhler also expects up to ten more runÿners once school starts.

That depth should allow the Eagles to build on last year's third-place finish at Districts, and get a leg up on the rest of the conference this season.

The team has been training together all summer, including one-hour uphill workouts at Post Canyon every Tuesday, long runs of 45 minutes to an hour, and 200, 400, 800 and mile interval runs.

They also went on a mountain retreat to Cloud Cap to practice high-altitude running. The team travels to Cloud Cap each year during daily doubles -- a chalÿlenge that eliminates any leftover rust from summer vacation.

Uhler hopes that all the hard work pays off this season, and has very high expectations for her team.

"I never like to make predicÿtions," Uhler said, "but we were third in the district last year and were very disappointed that we didn't make it to State.

"We've got the talent and the work ethic this year, and our goal is to win a district title."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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