Season preview Boys cross-country off to races with junior class

Jimenez is again the Eagles’ No. 1 for second year of IMC competition

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HRV standout Alex Jimenez (center) is the unquestioned No. 1 on this year's boys cross-country team.

By SCOTT BECKER

News Intern

The members of the Hood River Valley boys cross-country team are hoping to build upon a strong 2002 campaign as they gear up for competition in what coach Rich Hedges calls, “no doubt, the most competitive conference in the state.”

“This is a year to reload after losing three of our top runners to graduation last year,” he said in reference to Jon Gehrig, Jeff Fisher and Eric Avila.

“But the good news is, most of our top runners are underclassmen, and our nucleus will be back next year.”

HRV will get its second taste of Intermountain Conference competition this year after finishing fifth at district in 2002. Hermiston, Bend and Mountain View are all state-ranked teams, and Hedges has no illusions about where his team fits in.

“Hermiston, Bend and Mountain View are not only ranked top five in the state, they are also ranked nationally most years,” he said. “The reality for most of the IMC teams is that we’re battling for fourth, fifth and sixth.”

But Hedges still hopes to send one of his runners to state: The team’s top runner from one year ago, junior Alex Jimenez.

Jimenez enters the season as the unquestioned No. 1 runner after a grueling summer workout regimen that included a stint at the Steens Mountain Camp.

He and senior Brian Crosswhite are the team’s two co-captains, and will be leading the way for teammates Graham Hay, Jess Jennings, Chris Jennings and Fernando Ochoa.

Also competing for a varsity spot will be Mat Foster, Carlos Quintana, Louis DeSitter and Kevin Dye.

“Alex is one of the top runners in the district, and we really hope to get him into the top seven this year,” Hedges said. “And our two through five runners should make us competitive with most of the teams in our league.”

HRV will get things started this Saturday in Madras, where they will see a handful of other IMC teams in the 20-team field. Hedges did not know which schools would be there, but he said he expects the meet to be a good proving ground.

“The uncertainty we had over the summer didn’t help us, but we are hoping to regroup now that school is starting,” he said. “We also hope to recruit more freshmen to the team and see what they can do.”

Among the other runners on the HRV team this year are sophomores Ian Meyer and Eli Koester, junior Joe Yang, and seniors Mike Allen, Mike Kauffman and Devon Dallas.

Hedges hopes to have everyone in place by the Sept. 10 Skip Sparks Invitational, which is the team’s only home meet of the year.

“Right now we have 25 runners, with six more starting this week,” he said. “That’s a good place to start, but we need to come out and work every day with the season underway.”

Practices will continue after school every day this week.

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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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