Running hard at Skip Sparks

Hood River Valley High School cross country hosted the annual Skip Sparks Hood River Invitational Wednesday afternoon. With near-perfect running weather and 11 teams with 300 runners in attendance, the meet is only one of two home contests for Eagle runners this season. Teams return to the course Oct. 27, when Hood River hosts The Dalles, Pendleton and Hermiston for the Columbia River Conference championships.

Highlighting Eagle runners in the team’s first 5K race of the season was junior Grace Grim, who finished second in the varsity girls race in 19:47.46. Freshman Sascha Bockius followed 23 seconds later for a fourth-place finish, while Hermiston senior Maggie Coleman dominated the field for most of the course to finish first in just over 19 minutes. Kate Marwick of Hermiston finished third between Grim and Bockius to help the Bulldogs do a first-place team finish just two points ahead of Hood River.

Hermiston also won the boys team title, followed by Franklin, Cleveland, Wilson and Hood River in fifth.

“Our goals are to continue to improve as the season progresses, which is what we’re doing,” said coach Kristen Uhler. “For the boys team, we didn’t put our fastest lineup all at varsity. We have a lot of younger runners and our goal at this meet was to let some of them experience success at the junior varsity level rather than putting them at varsity and having them get lost in the middle of the pack. The girls finished just two points behind Hermiston, and we are a much deeper team. Hermiston has a few really strong runners, but not a lot of depth. If any one of them gets hurt, they’re in trouble. We have a lot more depth, so we feel pretty good about being able to beat them next time around.”

Uhler said the varsity lineup, particularly for the boys team, will change after this race, as some of the younger runners at JV are moved around. The Eagles’ JV boys and girls squads both finished first this week, with sophomore Jessica DeHart and junior Kailee McGeer finishing first and second for the girls and Ben Dane leading the way for the boys in third, followed by Charlie Sutherland in fourth and Justin Crosswhite in fifth.

HRV cross country is on the road for the rest of the season until the district meet. Next up is the Northwest Classic at Lane Community College next weekend. Hosting districts this year gives the team a home-field advantage, which is particularly valuable on a course like Hood River’s.

“People love the course because it’s so different than any other,” Uhler said. “It’s a real cross country course with hills and steps and bridges and forested trails. It’s much hillier and diverse than most, which will give us an advantage at districts because we can train for the course.”

HRV highlights:

Varsity girls

(Winner: Maggie Coleman, Hermiston, 19:08.59)

Grace Grim, 2nd, 19:47.46

Sascha Bockius, 4th,


Lauren Robinson, 11th,


Madison Freeman, 15th,


Denali Emmons, 17th,


Junior varsity girls

Jessica DeHart, 1st,


Kailee McGeer, 2nd, 22:37

Alia Burck, 4th, 23:40.30

Varsity boys

(Winner: Alejandro Cisneros, Hermiston, 16:19.01)

Ricardo Castillo, 9th,


Jorge Cuevas, 29th,


Miguel Cuevas, 30th,


Brodie Sutherland, 32nd,


Ryan Colesar, 51st,


Junior Varsity boys

Ben Dane, 3rd, 18:21.84

C. Sutherland 4th, 18:24.30

J. Crosswhite, 18:31.92

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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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