Titus toppled just shy of state title


News staff writer

February 21, 2007

Even though his team did not come away with a state championship, Hood River Valley wrestling coach Rich Polkinghorn could not be disappointed with his team’s effort.

Alex Titus took second place in the 285-pound division, while Sean Baker, after losing his first match, advanced to the consolation finals at 130 pounds and wound up with fourth place. The Eagles, which qualified seven wrestlers for the first-ever Oregon 6A state competition, finished in 15th place as a team, with a score of 47.0

“To take 15th at state with a school of 1,100 people is pretty good,” Polkinghorn said. “The tradition of wresting at Hood River Valley is great.”

Roseburg won the 6A team championship, as well as individual titles in three weight classifications.

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise spectacular tournament performance by Titus, who defeated Oregon City’s Scott Shugert in double overtime to advance to the championship match.

In the championship, Titus appeared to have much of the momentum in the first round of the match, but at the opening of the second round, Milwaukie’s Jimmy Haman was able to pry Titus out of his “down” position, and flip into his shoulders, a move that Titus could not escape from.

After wrestling Shugert for eight minutes to earn the right to battle for the title, the championship match lasted two minutes 25 seconds.

“I just got caught and he was strong enough so that I just couldn’t get out,” Titus said.

After the first day of competition, Titus and Baker were the only two Hood River wrestlers remaining in the tournament, but both notched themselves small parts in Hood River history with their performances over the remainder of the tournament.

Titus became the second Hood River heavyweight to place at state, following Jimmy Donnelly, who won the state title in 1995; and Sean Baker became the second Hood River sophomore to place at state, following in the footsteps of Doug DeHart, who took fourth place at 145 pounds in 1988.

Even though his Hood River wrestling career ended on a down note, don’t expect to find Titus moping for long.

He will now be focusing on concluding his senior year and getting ready for college.

He has applied to both Stanford and the University of Puget Sound and expects to wrestle collegiately wherever he ends up.

Polkinghorn, for one, will be sad to see him go.

“It’s a tough way for Alex to end,” he said. “He’s been a stud for us and the hardest worker in the room.”

In the past several years, Polkinghorn has seen the team make dramatic improvements and is confident that the team will be bouncing back next year.

“Four returning state qualifiers is a lot to grow on,” he said.

Baker will headline that group of of returners for the Eagles next season.

Despite the loss in championship, Titus gave Hood River wrestling fans one to remember with his dual with Shugert in the Friday night semi-final.

As the wrestlers battled into overtime tied at 2-2, they were the only wrestlers left on the mat for the evening.

Titus barely avoiding falling behind in the first overtime when Shugert took him down, but could not stay in bounds.

In the first 30 seconds of the second overtime, Titus was able to escape from Shugert’s grip from the bottom position to get two escape points that Shugert could not match in the second portion of the overtime.

The same move would not work again in the championship, but Titus was content with what he accomplished in the tournament.

“I had fun,” he said. “I think I wrestled pretty well and I’m satisfied.”

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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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