Youth gymnasts seek perfect marks

A limber group of youth gymnasts is beginning to hone its competitive skills at Gorge Gymnastics this fall.

The Level 5-6 competition team, which consists of 10 gymnasts ages 7-14, has started the season with three third places, and will go for another top finish Friday at the “Gym-Nest” in Hillsboro.

“This is our best start in years,” said Gorge Gymnastics director Amber Bardin. “The program is really starting to take off. We have a terrific coaching staff that knows what it will take to get these girls to the next level.”

Led by long-time head coach Steve Roney and assistants Candy Smith and Rebecca McDonald, the Gorge Gymnastics team has earned tremendous marks at its first three meets — the American Elite meet Sept. 7 in Troutdale, the Judges Open Sept. 14 at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, and the Sunburst Invitational in Oregon City on Sept. 21.

The team has relied on strong performances by Jena Viemeister, who won the all-around competition at American Elite and the Judges Open, and took third at Sunburst; Megan McHale, who finished sixth at both the American Elite and Judges Open and eighth at Sunburst; and Katie Rawson, who finished fifth at both the American Elite and Judges Open, and seventh at Sunburst.

Also performing well for the Gorge Gymnastics team have been Alexa Boldt (fourth at Judges Open), Amy Hay (fourth at Sunburst) and Alisandra Denton (third at Sunburst).

“The first meet is kind of scary, but after that, it’s fun,” said Hay, an 11-year-old Level 5 who has been involved in gymnastics for three years. “We have a really good team this year and the coaches make it a lot of fun.”

Also competing on the team and showing tons of progress this fall are Madison Eaton, Maddie Schubert, Jenica Christman and Kristen Kawachi.

The gymnastics team works out a total of 11 hours a week, and much of the time is spent trying to improve upon what they already know.

“You have to work at it all the time to get better,” said Kawachi, a 9-year-old Level 5 gymnast who started in the recreational gymnastics program. “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.”

Bardin said one of the reasons the competitive program is taking off so much this year is because of the youth movement.

“We had a really great summer and the gymnasts have been progressing at a steady pace,” she said. “But our biggest thing has been team-building. The encouragement from one another has really helped the team thrive.”

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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