New HRV water polo team holding its own

Club team is 2-1 so far in first season

Stan Ocheskey takes a shot on his teammates during a practice this week. Ocheskey racked up nine goals Thursday in the Hood River water polo team’s 16-9 victory over Gresham High School.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Stan Ocheskey takes a shot on his teammates during a practice this week. Ocheskey racked up nine goals Thursday in the Hood River water polo team’s 16-9 victory over Gresham High School.

Hood River Valley High School’s water polo team is already making waves.

The team — functioning as a club separate from HRVHS varsity athletics — formed this summer and has been working hard to learn the basics of the sport and get in shape in preparation for the fall high school season. In their first three games, the club’s 11 players (10 boys and one girl) have surprised the competition and have come away with a narrow 8-7 loss against Centennial High School, an 11-8 win last week against Reynolds and a 16-9 win Thursday at Gresham.

“We have a group of young but strong players to start the team,” said Dave Cameron, who stepped up this summer to coach the group. “We have one senior, a junior, two sophomores and the rest are freshmen. That means if these kids persist we’re going to be in a great position in a few years to really get people’s attention.”

Although new to Hood River, high school water polo has been around Oregon for years. Teams make up five leagues in the state and most have transitioned to being part of their school’s varsity sports program. Hood River is in the Mt. Hood League with Centennial, David Douglas, Gresham, Reynolds, Sam Barlow, Parkrose and Sandy.

“Ideally we’ll attract enough players to form two teams — a varsity and a JV — for next year,” said assistant coach Kellie Dunn. Using her experience as a collegiate player at University of California Santa Clara, Dunn is helping teach the team the basics of a sport that is, as she says, much more complex than it looks.

“They have come a long way in the last few months,” she said. “One of the most difficult aspects is learning the rules of the sport. There’s a lot more to water polo that what people see on television or from the stands, and there’s even more that goes on underwater.”

Cameron said ideally the team would have a few more players, and that it’s not too late for interested high school students to join the club. Although only seven are in the pool at once, a full squad is considered 13 players.

“Most of our players have a background in swimming; it helps but it’s certainly not required,” said Cameron, who volunteered as coach because his son, HRVHS freshman Myles Cameron, wanted to play.

“A big reason for forming the team this year is Connor Dunn, who made starting a water polo club part of his senior project at school. In a small town like Hood River, when you have kids who want to do something positive like this, what else can you do but support them?”

With a skeleton crew, the team started practicing this summer and was able to schedule several games for the fall. The games are all away, with the possibility of a home tournament in October. As it turns out, the Hood River Aquatics Center is an excellent pool for the sport because, unlike many high school pools in Oregon, it’s big enough to have a field that is deep at both ends.

“I think one reason we’ve come so far so quickly is because you can’t cheat and touch the bottom here,” Dunn said. “That’s something a lot of schools don’t have, so teams are going to want to come to Hood River to play.”

Any high school student interested in playing can find out more by contacting the HRVHS activities office or by stopping by the aquatics center to watch a practice (weekdays, 5 p.m.).

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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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