High school teams endure extended winter break

January 14

Not even three weeks ago, everyone in town was ecstatic to see the first big snowfall in years. Now all you hear is, “when is it going to go away?”

Among those praying for a thaw is Hood River Valley wrestling coach Mark Brown, whose team hasn’t seen a real-life match since the Dec. 19-20 Best in the West tournament.

One tournament, the annual Jan Anderson Invitational, was canceled on Jan. 3, while another (last weekend’s Oregon Classic) was unreachable. Not only that, the practice mats have been collecting dust as well due to last week’s school closures.

“It’s getting a little frustrating for some of our guys,” Brown said. “Especially my four seniors. They know that all this time off is only going to hurt them, because in the sport of wrestling, you have to be prepared. We’ve only got one month until district, so it’s now or never.”

With that in mind, Brown and HRV Athletic Director Mitch Sanders coordinated a four-team home dual meet for Tuesday night (results not available at press time).

Two teams that were washed out of the Jan Anderson Invite (Rex Putnam and Mac-Hi) agreed to make the trip to Hood River, along with Portland-based Parkrose.

Brown said all four teams will be evenly matched, and it should be the kind of experience his kids need after three weeks off.

“It’s mostly for the kids who have been coming to practice,” he said. “It’s been a tough couple weeks, and I think it’s critical to get these guys back in a match situation.”

Brown thanked Hood River Sports Club owner Clark Emmerson for allowing his team to practice at the facility last Thursday and Friday, saying that “any help we can get right now is appreciated.”

“Clark was very gracious to let us use the space at the Sports Club, and our team owes him a big ‘thank you,’” he said.

Additional HRV programs that have been put on hold the past three weeks have been the boys and girls basketball teams, as well as the swim and ski teams, which all missed at least one event — and numerous practices — due to weather.

“It’s been pretty tough to get in any sort of a rhythm,” said HRV girls basketball coach Tracy Norton, whose team took on Hermiston Tuesday night after nearly three weeks of no games.

“We already had a lot of things to work on, and now we are going to have to jump right back into games without much time to prepare,” she said.

Likewise, the HRV boys team has seen very limited practice time over the past three weeks. However, the Eagles did get to play three tournament games over the holidays.

Both HRV teams had games against Redmond and Bend wiped out last weekend due to travel concerns, but as of Tuesday morning, all systems were go to get the season back on track.

The girls will host Crook County and Summit this weekend, while the boys will travel to Central Oregon to face the same two teams.

Also on the docket this weekend is the swim team’s trip to Redmond for an eight-team invitational on Saturday, and the wrestling team’s trip to Pendleton for an Intermountain Conference dual meet.

“I don’t know if we’re ready for them, but we’re going,” Brown said of an experienced Bucks team. “Any mat time right now is good.”

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