HRVHS Cross Country preview 2006 Cross Country hopes early rise takes them to top


News staff writer

September 2, 2006

When the bell rings on the last day of school, most kids look forward to setting their alarm clocks back (or just turning them off) and sleeping in for two months. Not the HRVHS cross country team. The boys and girls in blue and gold have been off and running at 7 a.m. for most of the summer.

“This is the smallest number of kids that I have, but they have great quality,” Coach Kristen Uhler said. “They are focused and committed.”

As a reward for getting up early during the summer, 12 runners were chosen to compete in the Portland to Coast High School Challenge last weekend with the Gorge River Hawks.

The Eagles return three state qualifiers this year, Leo Castillo, Erin Jones and Melissa Kauffman, and Uhler feels that the team can have an impact in the Mt. Hood Conference. Senior Alex Van Slyke wants to add to the team’s runners qualifying for state this season.

“I hope to make a good time and make it to state,” Van Slyke said.

While the team may not be as big as it has been in previous years, what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in an experienced core of runners that is constantly seeking to get better.

“We’re expecting a pretty good team this year,” Castillo said. “A lot of people are improving.”

In a conference filled with large schools, that experience will be important to pick up state qualifying spots. Castillo is regarded as a strong favorite to return to state, and Van Slyke could very well join him this season.

On the girls’ side, Kauffman would like to make it to state one more time before graduating in the spring, and the up and coming Jones should be right up there with her. Uhler said that Jones and Kauffman push each other to get better, and that “they are good for each other” as they both improve.

In the Mt. Hood Conference last season, Central Catholic ran away to a state team title on the boys’ side. Centennial was the only other boys’ team in the conference to finish in the top 20, coming in at 17th. On the girls’ side, Centennial finished 14th, while Barlow finished 18th as a team.

With a strong returning group the Eagles should be able to make a run at the district title, and hopefully send several runners to state.

“We are going to take no prisoners,” Kauffman said.

While none of the runners has competed in the new conference before, they are looking forward to the challenge.

“We are starting over in a new conference,” Jones said. “It will be fun.” Uhler has coached in the Mt. Hood before and she looks forward to the opportunities that are presented by returning to the conference. “We are excited by this new league and the chance to be successful,” she said.

Uhler added that because they are smaller than other teams in the league it would be important for the team to stay healthy and uninjured as the season progresses, but that she feels confident that the Eagles can compete with the best the Mt. Hood Conference can throw at them.

“We want to stay united as a team and to make it to the state meet,” she said.

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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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