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Ben Mitchell

Stories by Ben

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Blowout goes off

After light winds postponed the Gorge Blowout two weekends ago during the Bridge of the Gods Kitefest, the 17-mile downwinder from Stevenson to Hood River went off Saturday afternoon.

Commentary: Thank you, readers

Over the past six years as a reporter for Columbia River Gorge newspapers, I’ve covered pretty much every beat there is, from local to county government, to crime, to breaking news, to features, and most recently, local and high school sports.

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Phil Soltysiak wins fifth race of Gorge Cup slalom series

MacRae Wylde still leads standings

The fifth race of the Gorge Cup occurred last Saturday at the Hood River Event Site and after the final heat finished, the leaderboard of the annual windsurfing slalom series looked very much the same as it did heading into the final weekend of racing.

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Jason Shaner 2nd at nat’l wrestling champs

Shaner first male HRVHS athlete to ever make finals

Hood River Valley High School student Jason Shaner made history for the Eagles last week when he became the first male HRVHS wrestler to ever make it the finals of the USA Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman Wrestling National Championships in Fargo, N.D., according to HRV Head Wrestling Coach Trent Kroll.

Bruce Peterson takes fourth race of Gorge Cup, but annual windsurfing slalom series is still up for grabs

Perennial Gorge Cup winner Bruce Peterson took last weekend’s fourth race of the Gorge Cup, but unlike this time last season when Peterson’s lead was well-established, the frontrunners don’t have much space between them on the event leaderboard.

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Gorge Downwind Championships sees bigger numbers, diverse craft

The Gorge Downwind Championships returned to the Gorge last week, bringing paddlers of all kinds from all over the world to the Columbia River for the signature race Thursday afternoon.

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Wind cooperates enough for BOTG Kitefest, pro, amateur comps

Light winds push back Blowout downwinder

The wind may have been fickle, but it was enough for the Bridge of the Gods Kitefest to go off for a 17th running last weekend in Stevenson.

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2017 HOF inductees span multiple sports, decades

For its 11th class, The Hood River Valley High School Hall of Fame Committee picked a broad sample of prominent athletes, representing a variety of sports, decades, and schools in the Hood River Valley.

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11th KB4C boasts more riders, spectators, fun

The 11th annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer (KB4C) event had another great year of sunshine, wind, and lots of kiters hitting the water at the Hood River Event Site for a good cause.

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HRVHS alum Skyler Hunter a standout in college baseball

Hunter a top player with Purdue Boilermakers, Palm Springs Power

Skyler Hunter may only be an incoming sophomore, but he’s already making his mark in Division I college baseball.

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KB4C returns for 11th running this weekend

The ever-popular Kiteboarding 4 Cancer (KB4C) event returns this weekend for an 11th running, turning the Hood River Waterfront into a sea of colorful kites as participants do laps on the Columbia to help raise money for those who have survived cancer, as well as those still fighting the disease.

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Fiona Wylde near top of rankings after SUP World Cup win

Fiona Wylde’s reputation already precedes her when it comes to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), but even by those standards, she’s having a banner season.

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Soltysiak bros take Gorge Cup twin bill

Last weekend was a good one to be a Soltysiak.

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Gorge Explorer: Weldon Wagon Trail falls short of other Gorge hikes

The Weldon Wagon Trail maybe over a century old, bit it has been enjoying some recent prominence.

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IWT competitions waited for wind, went off Monday

The wind wasn’t cooperative for the International Windsurfing Tour (IWT) competitions slated as part of the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association’s (CGWA) Beach Bash celebration held last weekend, but in the Gorge, if you wait long enough, the wind will always come back.

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New gravel grinder grows out of the ashes of former bike races

Mt. Hood Gravel Grinder hits the upper valley July 8

There’s a litany of recreational events in the Gorge this summer, but there always seems to be room for one more.

HRVHS makes list of top Oregon public schools for athletes

Hood River Valley High School has found plenty of success with its sports teams over the years, particularly in the last few, racking up multiple state titles.

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HRVHS alumnus Kyle Beam signs with Milwaukee Brewers

Monday morning, Kyle Beam woke up and reported to his first day of work at Beam Excavating and A-1 Septic Tank Service. By the end of the day, Beam had a new job: professional baseball player.

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Gorge Explorer: Be mindful of trail conditions; don’t be afraid to turn back

With all this warm weather we’ve had the past few days, it’s easy to forget about the snow still lingering at high elevations from the brutal winter.

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Throw bros: HRVHS alum Sebastian Barajas helps train rising shot and discus star Henry Buckles to beat his old records

Wy’east Middle School student Henry Buckles has had quite the season this year as a member of the Hood River County School District’s middle school track and field program.

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'17 celebrates: ‘Growing up and getting out’ at HRVHS and Horizon

The stands at Henderson Community Stadium were filled to the brim Friday evening for Hood River Valley High School’s graduation, as family and friends cheered on the class of 2017.

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CGWA Beach Bash returns next weekend

The annual Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association’s Beack Bash extravaganza returns June 22-25, helping usher in the summer wind and watersports season in the Gorge.

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‘A-Town Throwdown’ to showcase improved Arlington launch

Windsurf, kite, SUP festival June 17

After years of scrambling over algae-covered boulders and dealing with choppy waters, windsurfers, kiteboarders and intrepid stand-up paddle boarders (SUP) have been enjoying the improved launch site at Earl Snell Memorial Park in Arlington and will christen it next weekend with a brand-new event.

HRV destined for IMC in latest OSAA reclassification proposal

Hermiston Bulldogs to compete against WA schools

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) recently went through its ninth public meeting of the committee assigned to examine rearranging the state’s athletic classifications and districts, and it shows that Hood River Valley High School’s current league for the majority of its sports, the Columbia River Conference, will no longer exist.

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Boys lacrosse playoffs: Westview upsets HRV in Cascade Cup final

Injuries impact No. 1 Eagles in 13-8 loss to No. 7 Wildcats

The HRV boys lacrosse team felt confident heading into their Cascade Cup title-game matchup with 6A Westview Friday evening, and they had their reasons.

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Tyson Poor takes first round of Gorge Cup slalom windsurfing series

The temperatures are heating up, the winds are rising accordingly, and this year’s Gorge Cup is already underway.

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Boys lax runs wild on Wilsonville in CC semis

No. 1 Eagles played No. 7 Westview Friday in title game

Surprising few who saw their last meeting with Wilsonville, the No. 1 HRV boys lacrosse team (8-8) rolled the No. 13 Wildcats (5-12) 15-2 Tuesday evening in the Cascade Cup semifinal game played in Hood River.

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OSAA 5A SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS: League nemesis Pendleton ends HRV’s playoff run

Buckaroos capitalize on Eagle errors to win 4-2, head to 5A semifinals

An inspired playoff run by the HRV softball team came to a close Friday evening at Steve Cary Field in Pendleton, where the No. 3 Pendleton Buckaroos edged the No. 6 Eagles 4-2 in the quarterfinal round of the 5A state tournament.

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HRV boys lax heads to the CC semis with defeat of Oregon City

Eagles face Wilsonville Tuesday evening

The HRV boys lacrosse team moved another spot closer toward achieving their second Cascade Cup title in three years Thursday evening, taking out No. 8 Oregon City (6-11) by a score of 14-8 in a quarterfinal game.

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OSAA 5A SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS Late-game heroics by Lauren Decker, Hannah McNerney send HRV to the 5A quarterfinals

HRV beats La Salle 3-2, played league rival Pendleton Friday evening

A two-out, walk-off single by Lauren Decker was the perfect cap to the HRV softball team’s (No. 6, 18-10) impressive rally Wednesday, erasing a 2-0 deficit against the La Salle Falcons (No. 11, 17-11) to come back and win 3-2, propelling the Eagles into the quarterfinals of the 5A state tournament.

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Boys lax steamrolls La Salle in Cascade Cup opener

Eagles advance to quarterfinals with No. 8 Oregon City

The HRV boys lacrosse team is the top team in the Cascade Cup and certainly acted like it in the opening round Friday evening, bowling over No. 16 La Salle, outscoring the Falcons 18-2.

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Horizon track and field places middle of the pack in 1A state meet

Horizon girls take 16th, boys 20th

The Horizon track and field team finished off their season late last week at the 1A state championship meet at University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in Eugene, coming away with new personal records and podium appearances to boot.

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HRV softball team heads to state tourney for first time in three years

Eagles defeat Milwaukie, has first-round game against La Salle Wednesday

For the first time since 2014, the HRV softball team (No. 6, 17-10) has made it into the 5A state tournament, qualifying Friday evening after edging the Northwest Oregon Conference’s Milwaukie Mustangs (No. 20, 11-15), 1-0, during a play-in game at the Ballpark at Belmont in Hood River.

Boys lax misses state tourney, but is Cascade Cup’s top seed

Eagles get win over Wilson, faced La Salle in first round of Cascade Cup Friday evening

Having lost six of their last seven games — four of which were Columbia League contests — the HRV boys lacrosse team desperately needed a win during the league and regular season finale Monday at Wilson.

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Softball, baseball teams crush The Dalles in regular-season finales

Girls play Milwaukie on Friday, boys to play May 24

The HRV softball and baseball teams capped regular-season action last Friday by creaming their Columbia River Conference rivals, The Dalles, in Hood River.

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Lead slips away in early playoff exit for girls lax

Last week, the HRV girls lacrosse team made short work of Lincoln in their final Portland League contest of the regular season, going on a 5-0 run in the first 13 minutes of the game on their way to a 16-7 win over the Cardinals.

Boys tennis third at districts, Sawyer Bogard heads to state

For years, it’s been Summit’s world, and the other boys teams in Special District 1 have just been living in it.

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Boys LAX wraps up

The HRV boys lacrosse team had their final home games of the regular season this week, hosting Columbia League opponents Lincoln (12-6, 4-0), and Grant (11-3, 2-2).

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HRV softball falls short of league title after doubleheader split with Pendleton

Eagles will host play-in game late next week, likely against Milwaukie

The Eagles softball team showed just how good they are Tuesday evening, splitting another doubleheader with No. 3 Pendleton, which gave the Eagles a split in the four-game season series with the Bucks — the first time that has happened since the 2013-14 season — and helped HRV keep their No. 5 5A ranking. HRV lost the first game 7-2, but took the second game 3-2.

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HRV track sends 24 to state after CRC meet

Eagles place second at league champs

At the beginning of the season, first-year Head Track Coach Brandon Bertram had a lot of questions about his team. The departure of almost all of his athletes from the boys’ 2016 squad that won HRV’s first-ever state track title, combined with fresh faces who had never stepped on a track for competition before, left those questions unanswered through the early part of the season.

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Girls lax defeats Lincoln, finishes second in league

Fresh off a statement-making victory over Tualatin last week, the HRV girls lacrosse team added some more feathers to their caps Wednesday night, when they concluded their league schedule with a resounding 16-7 defeat of the Lincoln Cardinals in Hood River.

Horizon track and field wraps up regular season, aims to repeat district success

The Horizon Christian track team wrapped up its regular season last week with an inspired performance at the Arlington Invitational that saw athletes set 14 personal records, as well as come home with three first-place finishes. Both the boys and the girls finished third out of the primarily 1A schools in attendance Saturday.

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HRV track and field team peaking at the right time

Team drops 21 PRs at Oregon City, heads to CRC championship meet this Wednesday

There’s a lot of new faces on the track for HRV this year, but those uncertainties have ebbed as the Eagles have grown over the season and are peaking just in time for the district meet this week, where the Columbia River Conference title will be decided.

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Girls tennis takes league title

Eagles defeat Pendleton 7-1, going to districts

Wrapping up what has been a standout season for the HRV girls tennis team, the Eagles took home the Columbia River Conference title, defeating the Buckaroos 7-1 Monday evening in Pendleton.

Injuries rear their ugly head again in boys lax trip to Central Oregon

The HRV boys lax team went on a whirlwind trip to Central Oregon last weekend, playing three games in three days, facing nonleague opponents Summit, Mountain View, and Bend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.

Girls lax wins triple-OT thriller against Tualatin

Before HRV’s game Friday with Tualatin, Eagles Head Coach Andrew McElderry pointed to the nonleague contest against the 13-1 Timberwolves as “very telling as to where we truly stand in the state.”

Boys take third league title

They may not have been able to finish the match, but the HRV boys tennis team got enough done Thursday afternoon against the Hermiston Bulldogs to lock up another Columbia River Conference title before thunderstorms rolled through the Gorge and halted competition.

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Cleveland rocked in 15-1 defeat by HRV girls lax

Summit also falls 16-2

Out of the litany of lopsided matchups the HRV girls lacrosse team has had this season, nothing topped Tuesday’s.

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Threepeat: HRV baseball team takes CRC again

Eagles defeat The Dalles 10-2

For the third time in as many years, the HRV boys baseball team are Columbia River Conference champions, sealing the deal Tuesday evening in Hood River with a decisive 10-2 victory over The Dalles Riverhawks.

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McNerney’s monumental mound effort shuts out TD

Eagles defeat Riverhawks, 6-0

HRV ace Hannah McNerney isn’t in the habit of giving up many hits or runs to opposing batters, but Tuesday’s home match against The Dalles was one of her stingiest performances of the season.

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