Blue-Gold action: HRVHS squads begin practices, show skills at Aug. 22 event

The community can see Hood River Valley High School fall sports teams up close for the first time on Aug. 22 with the annual Blue-Gold Night.

It’s a season of change with several new, or returning, coaches, and some new rules to follow for practices.

Athletic director Keith Bassham said coaches are seeing “a great turnout of fall athletes, more than spring 2013” — 344 participants compared to 327.

Blue Gold gets going from 3-5 p.m. with soccer scrimmages at Westside Field, followed by the volleyball exhibition on Vannet Court from 5-5:30 p.m.

A fajita dinner, a fundraiser for the football team ($7), starts at Henderson Stadium a 6 p.m., with football intersquad play from 6:15-7:45 p.m.

The cheerleading squad will also perform.

Bassham said football and volleyball programs are adjusting to a new Oregon Scholastic Activities and Athletics (OSAA) rule prohibiting “daily doubles” on consecutive days, which he said is done in the interest of student health and safety.

“It is changing the way things have been in past; there is no longer a daily double schedule. There is a very precise schedule coaches have to follow,” dictating frequency and duration or practices.

Coaches are also employing newly-applied training in hydration, steroids, and concussion prevention, under new procedures enacted via the OSAA medical specialty committee, according to Bassham.

He said that as of last year, all high school coaches, including volunteers, are required to be certified by the National Federation of High School Coaches, which involves taking a course and paying a fee.

HRVHS runners have a new cross country coach this year in Brandon Bertram, from Arizona by way of North Dakota, according to Bassham. English teacher Gabe Judah returns as assistant coach.

Bertram was hired this summer to succeed long-time coach Kristen Uhler, who remains as health teacher but has stepped down from coaching.

“We’re going to miss Kristen, but she is still in the building, and looking forward to soon becoming a grandmother, which she wanted to make time for,” Bassham said.

Troy Tactay is back as freshman football coach.

“Troy had been out of the program a few years and it is nice to have him back,” Bassham said.

Amanda Orand joins the girls soccer coaching staff, overseeing JV2. Head coach is Kevin Hespela.

The water polo program added a girls team and a boys JV squad to the boys varsity; returning coach Dave Cameron leads all three squads.

Look for Blue-Gold pre-season coverage in the Aug. 27 edition.

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