Full room, healthy mix for HRV wrestling

Eagles kick off season with Blue and Gold night Friday

HARD WORK in the HRVHS wrestling room will be put to the test starting this Friday with the team’s an-nual Blue and Gold inter-squad meet. The first varsity matches of the season will be Dec. 6, home, at 7 p.m.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
HARD WORK in the HRVHS wrestling room will be put to the test starting this Friday with the team’s an-nual Blue and Gold inter-squad meet. The first varsity matches of the season will be Dec. 6, home, at 7 p.m.

With 10 returning district placers leading the charge, Hood River Valley High School wrestling is gearing up for what is expected to be another exciting season on the mat, and with precious little time to spare, the team will be working hard over the holiday break to get in shape for the first round of competition in less than two weeks.

The team, led by head coach Trent Kroll, hosts its annual Blue and Gold inter-squad meet this Friday, 7 p.m. at Hood River Valley High School, where many will battle for varsity positions in stacked weight classes and others will get to experience their first-ever six-minute matches.

Of the 60 or so wrestlers on the roster, about 20 are freshmen, and of those many have never wrestled before. Contrast that with 10 who placed at last year’s 5A Special District II tournament (an 11-school combination of the Columbia River Conference and the Portland Interscholastic Conference) and you have a mix that is both exciting and challenging for Kroll and his coaching staff.

“One of our goals is to involve as many people as possible in our program,” said Kroll, who goes by the slogan, “A full room is a great problem to have.”

While the future of the program depends on bringing new wrestlers into the room and keeping them there, it’s also vital to have the returning varsity lineup engaged and pushing themselves hard enough be prepared for the state’s best competition. It’s a difficult balance to strike with everyone training in the same room, but with seven seasons with the Eagles under his belt, Kroll is making it work.

“We have six seniors this year who are all of state championship quality,” he said after the first week of practice. Looking ahead to Friday, battles for a few of the middle weight classes are going to be hard-fought. In the same few classes, Chaz Peterson, Charlie Mallon, Andrew DeHart, Junior Rojas, Jeremy Fischer and Cesar Zarate will be wrestling for No. 1 varsity positions going into next Friday’s four-way dual at home against Lincoln, The Dalles and Wilson.

Of that bunch, DeHart had the best season last year with a second-place district finish and a fourth-place finish at state. Also returning this year is junior Christian Marquez, who finished third in the state at 120 pounds and has his eye on a state title. Other returning district placers are Texx Spezia-Schwiff, Kyle Weseman and Steven Swafford.

Jessica DeHart and Payton Rigert will lead the charge for the girls team, of which there are two new faces this year. The girls will travel to five female tournaments this season. For (Jessica) DeHart, defending girls state champion and former girls national champion, her season will likely also include matches at the 106-pound varsity position.

After a second-place district finish last season, behind Hermiston, the Eagles brought 13 wrestlers to state and finished seventh — a result Kroll is hoping to improve on this season. The team will have plenty of tough competition between now and the end of February to prepare for that goal, including the Coast Classic in North Bend, the Oregon Classic in Redmond, the Reno Tournament of Champions and the Hood River Elks Memorial Tournament.

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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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