HRV wrestlers prepared to rough up Mt. Hood league

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

December 6, 2006

Call them the anomaly.

While most of the coaches and athletes have not known quite what to expect from the Mt. Hood Conference and have been nervous and even a bit apprehensive about switching to the quicker more athletic league from the Intermountain Conference, the HRV wrestling team is anything but.

In fact, they may be the only team at the school to be disappointed to be making the switch to the Mt. Hood.

“As far as competitiveness, the Intermountain Conference is one of the toughest conferences in the state for wrestling, so from that perspective we’re a little disappointed because we want to see the best,” Hood River Coach Rich Polkinghorn said.

“(The Mt. Hood) has more numbers but we can compete with these guys.”

Senior heavyweight Alex Titus headlines the returners for the Eagles as a returning state qualifier and the lone Hood River wrestler pre-ranked in his weight class in the Mt. Hood.

The team has also assembled a veteran-supporting cast behind Titus, including John Phillips, Corey Miller, Cameron Kiyokawa, Lucas Mondragon, Sean Baker, and Joe Johnson.

In addition to putting together a veteran squad on the mat, the team has also assembled a veteran coaching staff for the group, including new assistant Trent Kroll who comes aboard at HRVHS after several years as head wrestling coach at Centennial High School.

“Its nice having such a great staff with guys who eat and breathe this sport,” Polkinghorn said of the coaches who will be joining him in instructing the team this season.

The team got its first competitive action of the season at last weekend’s Hermiston invitational, which featured four other teams, including Burns High School, the top ranked 3A team in the state.

Despite missing the previous week of practice, the Eagles finished second as a team behind Hermiston, and defeated Burns along the way.

Junior Brandon Gass recorded an upset of Burns’ Dallon Swindlehurt, the No. 6-ranked 3A wrestler in the state, while Baker finished the day at 4-0 while beating two ranked wrestlers.

Johnson took Hermiston’s Randy Larson, ranked No. 2 in the state, to overtime before falling 10-8.

Miller also established himself as a force to reckon with this season when he earned the fastest pin of the day by putting an opponent down in 25 seconds against Walla Walla.

Gass, Johnson, Lucan Mondragon, Cameron Kiyokawa and Miller all ended the tournament with a 3-1 record and all recorded two pins during the course of the tournament.

Titus was not at the meet due to taking the SATs, but believes that the performance shows what the Eagles will be capable of this season.

“Everyone works really hard,” he said. “When everyone in the room is working as hard as you want to work, its good motivation.”

Titus also wants to return to state competition this year, and is excited to see how he and his teamates stack up in the Mt. Hood.

“I think it looks promising for us,” he said. “The last couple of years we have had a really young team and this could be the year where everything starts falling into place for us.”

Baker, a sophomore, is looking forward to putting in the work to get Hood River to the district championships, and to hopefully get himself to the championships at 130 pounds.

“I want to work extra during practice and out of practice like running, working out, and eating right,” he said. “To be the best you have to take that one step more.”

With several years of battling some of the top teams in the state during IMC competition under their belts, the Eagles hope that taking the extra step will propel them to a conference title.

“We are excited about having kids who want to be better and who want to work to be better,” Polkinghorn said. “That’s the kind of thing that gets coaches excited.”

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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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