Cross-country teams struggle in district tune-ups

BEND — Seeking to maintain even ground with the other Intermountain Conference runners before the Oct. 26 district meet, the HRV cross-country teams took to the course against the Northwest’s best last Saturday in Bend.

Mead, Snohomish, Jesuit and South Eugene high schools were all represented at the Summit Invitational. But, unfortunately for HRV, so were Hermiston, Bend and Mountain View.

The Intermountain Conference is home to many of the Northwest’s best teams and individuals, making the Eagles’ trip to Bend a possible preview of what may take place in two weeks.

“This meet was a who’s who in high-school cross-country,” boys coach Rich Hedges said. “You’ve got the defending state champs from Washington (Mead of Spokane) and all the powerhouses from Oregon as well. We needed our best performance to finish among the top 10.”

Hedges said it also gave his runners a chance to see what they could expect out of one of the most highly competitive conferences in the state.

“We didn’t run that bad, but it wasn’t the way we needed to if we’re going to compete in two weeks,” he said.

Hedges’ team of Jon Gehrig (60th), Alex Jimenez (71st), Jess Jennings (95th), Jeff Fisher (97th) and Chris Jennings (120th) finished 17th out of 24 teams.

But the good news is, they also finished ahead of three IMC schools —Crook County, Summit and Redmond — without the help of senior co-captain and No. 4 runner Eric Avila.

Jon Wherry (144th) and Graham Hay (147th) rounded out the varsity spots, while Brian Crosswhite, Kevin Dye and Joseph Broschart turned in the best JV performances.

“No one was really running at their peak on Saturday,” Hedges said. “The course was really sandy and dusty. I think some guys were just happy when it was over.”

On the girls side, only two varsity runners took to the course. Defending state champ Christy Paul continued her gradual training program to gear up for the district and state meets, while freshman front-runner Brisa Jessup earned some valuable racing experience going up against the elite field.

“The light is starting to come on for Brisa,” coach Kristen Uhler said of Jessup, who finished 54th (21:43) in a field of more than 150 runners. “She is working harder in practice and paying more attention to her split times. We’ll continue to see tremendous improvement as she gains more confidence.”

Paul will also be looking for an added confidence boost before state after she finished second behind South Eugene’s Erin Gray (18:48) for the second race this season.

“Christy tried a different strategy this time by sitting behind the leaders (at the start),” Uhler said of Paul, who clocked in at 19:21.

“But at 400 meters, it was already a two-person race. We’ll probably stick with the ‘hard and fast’ approach to try to burn out the other competitors early.”

Part of the reason the girls weren’t at full strength on Saturday was that seniors Allison Byers, Joyce Yang and Emily Meyer were taking the SAT in The Dalles. Two senior JV runners, Hannah Kingrey and Raemi Lucas, also traded in their racing spikes for pencils on Saturday, leaving the JV race in the hands (or feet) of the team’s future stars.

Freshman Jennifer Jeffries returned from illness to place 29th overall, while Jenna Fisher took 36th overall and Christa Chandler 68th overall. Junior Caitlin Becker was third on the team in 53rd place.

“We push the girls through so much pain in practice, and they’re starting to realize that they really can do this,” Uhler said.

Both the girls and boys cross-country teams competed Tuesday at Sandy High School, but results were not yet available.

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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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