Top sports stories from 2011

December 28, 2011

The past year was a crazy one for local sports. At the high school level, severa; individual athletes won state championships and some teams had their best seasons in years. National events remained a big draw, including the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic and Columbia Gorge Marathon.

It was a fascinating year to cover, full of fun and competitive personalities and exciting finishes.

With that, here is a look back at some of the stories which defined the local sports scene in 2011:

1. Out on top: Robert Frasier was set on a state wrestling championship from practically the moment he stepped onto the mat to begin the 2010-11 season. By the end of the campaign he left his name at or near the top of most of the HRV season and career records list and got his state championship in the process.

After making it to the semifinals the previous two years, Frasier ensured a spot in the finals when he knocked off Abrahim Rodriguez, who had beat him in the district finals. In the final match, Garrett Urutilla of Lebanon stood no chance. Seconds into the second round Frasier had his opponent on his back, and was able to celebrate a state title to wrap up his HRV career.

2. Twice the titles in track town: Nothing was going to stop Olivia Campbell or Ian McNoughton this year. Not weather, not sickness and certainly not their competition. The pair highlighted a field of 20 HRV athletes at the state trac, championships.

McNoughton took first place in the 5A 400-meter race and Campbell easily won the 5A pole vault title at Hayward Field in May to put HRV competitors atop the medal stand.

McNoughton used a final burst of energy in the last 50 meters to hold off Will Lawrence of St. Helens to win his first state championship. Meanwhile, by the time Campbell got to her state winning vault, she was the only competitor left in the field. The rest of the competition scratched at 10 feet 9 inches, leaving Campbell all alone at 11 feet 3 inches for the state title. She easily cleared the mark, and wants to push even higher this year - meaning a second state title may very well be coming this May

3. Heck of year to be a Hawk: Horizon Christian made a name for itself across the entire sporting spectrum last year. After making it to the 3A/2A/1A soccer tournament in the fall of 2010, the Hawk basketball team had its best-ever finish at the state tournament in Baker City, taking fifth. A few weeks later many of those same athletes were out for baseball, which returned to Horizon for the first time since 2006. The Hawks blew away many of their competitors, winning their home-opening doubleheader by a combined score of 45-11. The Hawk baseball team eventually lost in its district playoffs.

4. What a race: Olympians Clara Hughes (of Canada) and Kristen Armstrong (USA) headlined the field for the 2011 cycling classic and the matchup lived up to its billing with Armstrong edging out Hughes for the overall jersey. That was not to say the rest of the field didn't provide fireworks though. Armstrong's Peanut Butter and Co team won every stage but one and took the team title. In the men's field, Michael Olheiser thrilled the downtown criterium crowd with a spectacular performance which saw the mustachioed rider, decked out in stars and stripes, lap portions of the field and win the stage by a whopping 26 seconds.

5: Going my way: The Hood River Valley softball and baseball teams both made the state playoffs in the spring, and both wound up in the same place - West Albany - playing at the same time. The Eagle softball team was not expected to reach the playoffs with a young team featuring only one senior. But compete they did. The "Baby Birds" finished fourth in the league standings, but beat Wilson and Milwaukie to make it to state for the first time since 2006. The HRV baseball team, meanwhile, hammered Liberty to make it to the state bracket for the first time since 2008.

Both teams eventually lost to West Albany, but hope to use the experience to build for years to come.

Honorable mention:

Bringing back the bucket: After two years on the wrong end of the score, the HRV football team blasted The Dalles 56-6.

Swimming supremacy: The HRV girls swim team used the switch to 5A to show off what a few years of rebuilding can accomplish as the team finished fifth.

A beautiful brace: After not scoring his entire HRV varsity career, Josue Barrera picked a heck of a time for his first two career goals. He tallied two scores in three minutes for the HRV boys in a state play-in game. The Eagles wound up beating Franklin and advancing to the state playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.

Rebuilding schmebuilding: Like the HRV softball team in the spring, the HRV girls cross country team was young and inexperienced. Also like the softball team, it didn't much matter as the Eagle girls won the Columbia River Conference title and sent the girls team to state.

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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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