Spirited girls pioneer high school lacrosse team


News staff writer

April 22, 2006

The Westside fields are busy this spring with more athletes than ever practicing and playing on the soft green grass. In the past, spring was a slower time on the fields, with softball being the only high school sport practiced at the Belmont grade school. About 10 years ago a boys’ lacrosse club formed in the wake of a rapidly growing movement of the sport across the west coast. Within a few years the club was adopted by Hood River Valley High School and the sport officially became a sponsored extracurricular Eagle activity.

And this year the boys are not alone. With the pioneering spirit of 22 young athletes, HRVHS now has a girls’ lacrosse team.

The girls started the team by first taking a petition around the high school and gathering signatures. Athletic Director Phil Vesel eventually approved the new team and the girls had the go-ahead to start practicing.

Of the 22 team members, only one had former lacrosse experience, meaning the girls would need some solid coaching to get down the basics and fundamentals of the sport.

But they had no coach.

“We didn’t have a coach for at least the first few weeks,” said team member Anna Smith. “So we coached ourselves.”

The girls started practice by running from the high school to Westside, where they did their best to teach themselves the West Coast’s fastest growing sport.

Once Coach Margaret Koenig answered the call and began volunteering her time, the team took form and was able to hold more organized and productive practices. Koenig also helped line up a few games for the girls this year, against junior varsity girls’ teams from a handful of schools in the Portland area.

“The girls are amazing, really,” Koenig said after the team’s first game this week. “I am astounded most by their game sense. Stick skills and fundamentals will take a couple years to develop, but the girls kept their composure on the field and played pretty lacrosse. This really is a great, eclectic group of girls.”

According to Koenig, the plan within the local lacrosse community was to start the high school girls’ team next season. But this year’s squad would not let the 30-plus eighth-graders expected to play next season be the first-ever HRVHS girls’ lacrosse team. So they took the initiative, petitioned, coached themselves, found their own coach and pioneered a team that is going to take off like wildfire starting next spring.

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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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