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More Reser's Tournament photos Thursday, January 29, 2009

Newberg's Tommy Siciliano jumps for joy after beating Hermiston's Ben Jorgensen with a takedown in the final second of the 119-pound title match at the Reser's Tournament of Champions Jan. 24 in Hillsboro.

The 119-pound match between
Newberg's Tommy Siciliano and Hermiston's Ben Jorgensen was one of the best match-ups on the card last weekend at the Reser's Tournament of Champions in Hillsboro. Both were champions in lighter weightclasses last year (Siciliano at 112, Jorgensen at 103) and both are two-time state champions.

And they didn't disappoint. Jorgensen was up 5-4 with 6 seconds left on the clock when the action was stopped to clean up some blood. When the pair reengaged, Siciliano scored a 2-point takedown in the final second of the match (right) to win the title.

[left] Newberg's Peter Russo ties up Brady Fischer's arm in the 112-pound final. Russo beat his Oregon City opponent 2-0 to take the title. [below] Crater's Brock Gutches (top) grapples with Brandon Griffin of Sprague in the 160-pound final. Gutches won the match 4-1.

[above left] I brought my new 11-16mm f/2.8 lens to the match ... generally a bit too wide for wrestling, I think, but there is an image to be made if all the pieces fall into place. Here, Seth Honl of Scappoose (black) grapples with Roseburg's Sam Mecham en route to a 3-1 win in the 135-pound championship.

Full results from the 2009 tournament can be found here.

R.J. Pena gets it done on the mat Monday, January 26, 2009

R.J. Pena of Sprague High School (front) lifts Josh Cate of Burns in the 145-pound final at the Reser's Tournament of Champions Jan. 24 in Hillsboro. Pena won the title by fall at 3:12. The senior, who recently signed with Oregon State University, pinned all four of his opponents at the tournament.

R.J. Pena is undoubtedly the best high school wrestler that Oregon has seen in recent memory. Maybe longer than that. Quite possibly a lot longer.

He's ranked no. 1 in the nation at 152 pounds, and the no. 5 recruit overall, and it's easy to see why: he just doesn't lose.

The senior is already a three-time state champion. He holds two titles from the Reno Tournament of Champions which draws wrestlers from across the country. And now, he is a four-time champion at the Reser's Tournament of Champions, the toughest meet in Oregon.

Pena doesn't just beat his opponents, he dominates them. Everybody gets pinned. Most don't make it past the first round.

Wrestling at 145 pounds at the Reser's tournament last weekend, Pena pinned his opponents at 1:30, 1:27, and 1:23 en route to the title match. There, Josh Cate of Burns pushed him into the second round before falling at 3:12.

It's hard to see how anything short of an injury will prevent him from becoming a four-time state champion. The state wrestling tournament is Feb. 26-28 at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

I'll post more images from the Reser's TOC later this week.

[left] R.J. Pena puts Josh Cate's shoulders to the mat at 3:12 in the 145-pound final at the Reser's Tournament of Champions Jan. 24 in Hillsboro.

A visit to Portland's own "Little Sweden" Thursday, January 22, 2009

The view from red line MAX (light rail) train as it crosses I-205 in Northeast Portland.

No parks this week. Perrie had some shopping to do on Sunday morning so we boarded the MAX out to Cascade Station, a big-box type mall right by PDX airport. It was a beautiful sunny day, about 30°F at 9 a.m. as we rode out to visit Little Sweden.

We went so early in part because we had several other errands and appointments that day, but also to take advantage of their ultra-affordable breakfast.

[left] Another view from the MAX, eastbound alongside I-84. [below] The cafeteria at Ikea serves breakfast for just $0.99 (left) or a slightly larger version (right) for $1.99. Coffee and tea are free until 10 a.m.

After breakfast I wasn't really inspired to take any pictures until I saw this (left) as we descended the escalator. I thought there were quite a few shoppers in the store, but I guess they expected more! The mass of waiting carts looked pretty cool, so I shot it from several angles.

Another chilly Sunday, another cool park Saturday, January 17, 2009

Perrie O'Tierney walks under trees covered with Methuselah's Beard moss Jan. 11 at Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton, Ore.

Last Sunday Perrie and I drove out to Beaverton to check out Tualatin Hills Nature Park. It was a pretty arbitrary choice
—I picked it because it was the biggest park on the west side of Portland. It turned out to be the perfect place for a morning walk.

The 222-acre greenspace is right in the middle of Beaverton, with a convenient MAX (light rail) stop at the northern edge of the park. It is well-developed, with about 1-½ miles of paved and 3 miles of unpaved trails, all well-signed. The park contains a variety of forests, ponds and a large trail-less wildlife preserve area.

It also has an interpretive center with interactive exhibits and a classroom that, I suspect, is well-used by the local schools during the week.

I didn't bring my camera with me, but Perrie had her point-and-shoot so we took turns with it. These photos are a mix of hers (e.g. at right) and mine (e.g. above).

All around the park are signs warning visitors not to step on—or even touch—the newts. Since it was somewhat less than 50°F we didn't expect to see any, but sure enough we found one on the trail just before we got back to the interpretive center. It was moving ... very ... slowly, trying to eat a tiny worm (that's what appears to be a cigar in the second picture). Eventually the salamander won.

[left] Matthew works his magic on some hapless individual.

Rough-skinned newts are a type of North American salamander with particularly poisonous skin. They are probably not toxic to the touch, but certainly would be if ingested. I suspect that is why dogs are not allowed in the park. You can read more about the newts and their poison here.

Sunset vs. Westview: away from the action Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Westview fans razz Sunset's Wade Moyer as he waits to inbound the ball in the second quarter of the Apollos' 58-55 win over the Wildcats Jan. 9 in Beaverton.

Since Westview and Sunset are just three miles apart, both high schools had a lot of fans in attendance at last week's basketball game. And with such a close game between the rivals, there was a lot of emotion on and off the court. Here are some non-action photos from the game.

[below] Sunset fans participate in a group cheer in the fourth quarter.

[left] Sunset coach Todd Sherwood gives directions to his team in the fourth quarter.

[right] Westview junior Hayes Garrity appeals to the referee after being called for an offensive foul in the fourth quarter.

[left] Westview coach Pat Coons wonders what's going on. [below] Sunset cheerleaders and fans react after Wade Moyer sinks a three-point shot to put the Apollos in the lead with 14 seconds left in the game.

[right] Sunset fans stream onto the court to congratulate the players after the Apollos came from behind to upset Westview 58-55 Jan. 9 in Beaverton.

Metro League basketball: Sunset vs. Westview Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunset guard Anthony Holton drives past Westview's Tim Coons Jan. 9 in the second quarter of the Apollos' 58-55 win over the Wildcats. The eighth-ranked Apollos came from behind to beat no. 2 Westview in the first game of the 2009 Metro League season.

In the powerful Metro League every game is a must-win situation, and the Sunset Apollos got the season off on the right foot last Friday night with a 58-55 win at home against Westview.

Sunset, ranked 8th in the state, took control of the game in the second quarter. But second-ranked Westview carried momentum into the break as senior Tim Coons drained a 70-foot shot at the buzzer.

Over the next 8 minutes, the Wildcats outscored Sunset 16-7 to carry a 5-point lead into the final frame.

But they couldn't finish off the Apollos. Westview missed several key free throws in the final minutes, and was unable to contain Sunset at the other end of the court.

[right] Senior Wade Moyer was the hero for Sunset, sinking a 3-pointer to give the Apollos the lead with 14 seconds left to play. The guard played for Westview in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

The packed house went wild as senior Wade Moyer (who used to play for Westview) put the Apollos up 56-55 with a 3-point shot with 14 seconds left on the clock. Wes Wenzel rounded out the scoring with a pair of free throws.

The teams will face each other twice more in the regular season.

[left] Ryan Kroon (right) of Sunset tips the ball away from Westview's Robert Casteel in the first quarter.

[right] Westview junior Hayes Garrity elevates for a shot in the third quarter. Garrity scored 17 for the Wildcats.

[below, left and right] Westview's Austin Kuemper draws a crowd of defenders every time he touches the ball. Even so, the 6-10 sophomore scored 15 points in the game including 8 in the third quarter.

Headliners: Issa Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I put a new interview up on Northwest CanCon on Monday. Back in December, Issa (formerly known as Jane Siberry) stopped in Portland to distribute CDs to her fans.

We talked about her change of name, her stripped-down lifestyle, and her new album, Dragon Dreams. You can read more and hear the Issa interview here.

Kelley Point Park Sunday, January 04, 2009

This morning was cold and grey—but dry—so Perrie and I went for a walk around Kelley Point Park in North Portland. The park is named for the point which, in turn, is named for Hall Jackson Kelley (1790-1874), a New Englander who visited Oregon in 1834 and advocated for the settlement of the territory in the early 1800s. Read more about it here.

It is located right at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The main trail is paved and very flat, so it was easy walking.