Top times signal peak of XC season

WINNING TEAM: Hood River Valley High School varsity boys cross country team members Charlie Sutherland, Carlos Chairez, Quinn Fetkenhour, Nils Engbersen, Jorge Cuevas, Ricardo Castillo and Justin Crosswhite pose with their team trophy after winning the In-vite division of Saturday’s Oxford Classic in Bend.

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WINNING TEAM: Hood River Valley High School varsity boys cross country team members Charlie Sutherland, Carlos Chairez, Quinn Fetkenhour, Nils Engbersen, Jorge Cuevas, Ricardo Castillo and Justin Crosswhite pose with their team trophy after winning the In-vite division of Saturday’s Oxford Classic in Bend.

With just two contests remaining before the Columbia River Conference championships, Hood River Valley High School cross country runners are energized and on track for an exciting showdown at the end of the month. In a format that advances only the top two boys and girls varsity teams and five fastest individuals, the stakes are high in the CRC finale, held this year at Pendleton’s McKay Park.

At this point in the season training and discipline become vital, as athletes must push their training to the next level to peak at the proper time, while building confidence and poise for the mental challenge of the all-or-nothing format of the CRC and state finals.

“We are right on schedule with our training,” coach Kristen Uhler said this weekend following the team’s successful road trip to the Oxford Classic in Bend. “The kids are pretty excited with their performance, and there’s nothing like a win to motivate them to train harder.”

The Oxford Classic on Saturday pitted HRV against a field of nine varsity girls teams and 13 varsity boys teams on a 5K course at downtown Bend’s scenic Drake Park. Racing in the invitational division rather than the elite division, the Eagles had commanding wins in both varsity and junior varsity boys races and finished in second in both girls races.

“This meet will build their confidence before we race in the Elite division at the Adidas Invitational next Saturday,” Uhler noted. “Everybody was confident and aggressive in their race. Cross country is about building confidence through hard training. Then, come race day, you can just let your body do what it was trained for.”

In sync with training objectives, every varsity runner put in a season personal record at the meet and several had career-fastest marks. Leading the boys squad was Ricardo Castillo, who finished third in 16:30, his fastest-ever 5K time: 17 seconds faster than his 2012 CRC result. On the girls side, Sascha Bockius left the field in the dust at mile-two to finish with a 20-second lead over second-place finisher Sara Christianson of Borah High School. The 18:54.3 result was Bockius’s fastest of the season and exactly two minutes faster than her time at the same race last year. It is also currently the fastest time posted by any CRC runner this season by more than 30 seconds. Castillo’s result Saturday is the third-fastest time in the conference, with Hermiston runners Alejandro Cisneros in first (15:26.6) and Jose Macias in second (15:49.7).

The varsity elite division winners gave the Eagles perspective on their times versus bigger, more developed cross country programs. South Eugene’s Ben Elder put in a blistering first-place time of 17:05 and the top varsity girl, Summit sophomore Hannah Gindlesperger, finished sub-18 at 17:46.7 to lead the elite races.

HRV junior varsity teams were led by Abigail Kinoshita (23:22.9) and Miguel Cuevas (18.23.2), both in second behind runners from Borah High.

Race results

Varsity girls: 2nd

Sascha Bockius, 1st, 18:54

Sophia Marble,10th, 20:45.8

Daisy Dolan, 13th, 20:50.7

Lauren Robinson, 14th, 20:54.9

Althea Dillon, 18th, 21:08.4

Kailee McGeer, 20th, 21:09.8

Denali Emmons, 21st, 21:11.2

Varsity Boys:

Ricardo Castillo, 3rd, 16:30

Justin Crosswhite, 7th, 17:00.7

Quinn Fetkenhour, 15th, 17:30

Jorge Cuevas, 20th, 17:39.9

Carlos Chairez, 24th,17:53.1

Nils Engbersen, 25th, 17:57.3

Charlie Sutherland, 27th, 18:01

JV girls, 2nd

Abigail Kinoshita, 2nd

Jenna Powell, 3rd

Marley Bloomster, 9th

Andrea Martinez, 40th

Marie Browning, 44th

JV Boys: 1st

Miguel Cuevas, 2nd

Nick Salter, 3rd

Jesse Wiley, 4th

Nicholas Poe, 8th

Rafael Villegas, 12th

Daniel Fischer, 17th

Jacob Bromham, 22nd

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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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