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State wrestling tournament, day 2 Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wrestlers and spectators come and go from Portland's Memorial Coliseum Feb. 27 between bouts at the state wrestling tournament. The 12,000-seat arena--formerly the home of the Trail Blazers--was dedicated in 1961.

Jeremiah Pine of Umatilla struggles to escape Brice Haskell's grasp on Feb. 27 in what would prove to be the last match for the Viking wrestling program.

[If you've been following my photos in the East Oregonian, you'll note that one appeared twice in today's online edition. One of them should have looked like this. -ed.]

[left] Thurston's John Hedge gets a nose adjustment as he tries to pin Pendleton's Mike Savage in the 135-pound semifinal. [below] Hedge (bottom) strains to keep his shoulders off the mat against Savage. Hedge held off the attack to win 11-6.

State wrestling tournament, day 1

Cleveland senior Shaun Palakiko makes quick work of Pendleton's Sheehan Barnhart, pinning him in just 15 seconds Feb. 26 in the first round of the class 5A, 285-pound bracket at the state wrestling championships in Portland. Palakiko is the defending heavyweight champion.

The state wrestling tournament kicked off at Portland's Memorial Coliseum Thursday with the early rounds of the class 4A, 5A and 6A brackets. With the class 3A and 2A/1A wrestlers, who joined them Friday morning, there are more than 1100 athletes participating in the event.

Hermiston 145-pound wrestler Ethan Parks (right) winces as he lands awkwardly on his left arm early in his first round match against Ashland's Jake Scarminach. Parks continued the match but lost 8-0.

doubt all these kids are tough, but special mention has to go out to Hermiston's Ethan Parks. The senior, who was sidelined with an injury for most of the season, expected to do well at the tournament. But just seconds into his first round match, he landed awkwardly on his left arm as he was taken to the mat by Ashland's Jake Scarminach.

After consuming his entire two-minute injury allotment, I thought he was done for the year, but he resumed his match. Though he was obviously in pain and his arm was basically useless, Parks managed to survive the full length of the match. He lost 8-0, but prevented his opponent from picking up any bonus points.

The tournament continues through Saturday night. Full results are posted on the OSAA website.

[right] Hermiston senior Dillan Massey takes Crater's Jeremiah Swing to the mat en route to a 9-0 win in the first round of the class 5A, 160-pound bracket. [below] Quayde Fisher of Illinois Valley (left) tries to grab Dalton Sheets's leg in a hard-fought 10-9 over the McLoughlin senior in the first round of the class 4A, 135-pound bracket.

Girls basketball playoffs

Brooke Davis of Hermiston dribbles around Cleveland's Joanie Pioli in the second quarter of the Bulldogs' 72-31 win over the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs Feb. 25 in Portland. Hermiston plays Willamette (23-0) Saturday in Eugene.

We're just getting into one of the two best times of year for sports fans. Some might prefer October when baseball playoffs coincide with the beginning of the basketball and hockey seasons and the heart of football season, but I'm partial to the spring, when pro hockey and basketball are heading into the playoffs and baseball is beginning again, not to mention the NCAA's March Madness. Add to that high school playoffs for wrestling and basketball (and swimming) and you have a steady stream of high-intensity sporting action (balanced by the laid-back atmosphere of baseball's spring training). And for those living in Canada, there are major curling bonspiels as well.

I've been busy shooting high school sports this week, including the first playoff game for the Hermiston girls basketball team in the post-Schimmel era. (Shoni Schimmel, the sophomore who led the Lady Bulldogs to the state final last year, transfered to Franklin in the off-season along with her sister Jude.)

The Bulldogs (10-14) easily beat Cleveland, 72-31, but they face a much tougher opponent today when they travel to Eugene to play Willamette. The Wolverines have not lost any of their 23 games this year and are ranked no. 1 in the 5A polls. The results will be posted here.

2009 State Swimming Championships Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pendleton's Nolan Hill (top) dives in as Deven Jennings completes the third leg of the boys 200 yard freestyle relay at the 5A state swimming championships Feb. 21 in Gresham. The Buckaroos finished sixth with a time of 1:33.67. [below] Taylor Goodwin makes the first turn in the boys 100 yard breaststroke. Goodwin tied for second in the final with Wilsonville's Mark Guyler.

I spent Saturday morning at the pool at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, shooting the 5A state swimming championships.

I find swimming one of the most challenging sports to shoot: there are limited positions to shoot from, the start/finish line is very cluttered, the athletes are out of sight about ¾ of the time they're racing, and during the race the participants are all repeating the same motion over and over again.

The standard swimming shots (e.g. Iverson and Hill below) are very easy to get—you get several chances in every heat. They look good, but they're also very common—and they look the same regardless of which meet you're shooting.

To get something different, I brought my new ultra-wide lens to the pool this weekend. The shots (above) are hardly original, but certainly a different view

[left] Jordan Iverson of Crescent Valley swims in the girls 100 yard breaststroke. The junior won the event in a meet record time of 1:04.34. [right] Pendleton senior Lucas Hill swims in the boys 200 yard freestyle. Hill's time of 1:50.51 was good for fourth place.

Click here for the full results from the 5A championships.

PCC Panthers vs. Umpqua

[left] Portland's Toni Davis-Fields (left) beats Cassandra Tiggett (center) and Ally Burger to a rebound Feb. 14 in the Panthers' 105-52 loss to Umpqua. [below] Shardai Ducksworth led all players with 26 points.

I've been a bad blogger lately. I have been shooting a variety of assignments and working on a handful of other projects, but not getting around to putting much online. Tonight I'm trying to catch up a bit.

These images are from the basketball games I shot for Portland Community College last weekend.

In the first game of the day, the women got thumped by Umpqua 105-52. To be fair, though, Umpqua is the top team in the NWAACC's South Division. Portland only dressed seven players for the game, one of whom appeared to be playing through an injury. Then, midway through the first half, two of Portland's players succumbed to ankle injuries in the span of about 30 seconds. One of those returned in the second half; the other was out for the game.

[left] Carl Appleton shoots for two of his 13 points Feb. 14 in the Panthers' 90-85 win over Umpqua. The 6-4 freshman led Portland with 13 rebounds.

In the men's game, the Panthers fared better. They led by 10 at halftime, and by as many as 15 later in the game. Umpqua didn't give up, though, and fought to within two points. But Portland held on for a 90-85 win to improve their league record to 3-8. Umpqua fell to 1-10.

[below] Portland's Tom Creasey (right) gets some help from Mike Richmond (no. 3) as he breaks away from Jordan Black in the first half. Creasey led the Panthers with 26 points.

Serena Ryder interview Friday, February 13, 2009

As promised, my interview with Serena Ryder is now online at Northwest CanCon.

We talked about the tight-knit Canadian music scene, the Junos, and the transition from being a teen act to an adult performer.

Serena Ryder photos on Northwest CanCon Thursday, February 12, 2009

Check out Northwest CanCon for a new slide show of Serena Ryder's recent performance at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. The double-Juno nominee, who won the award for New Artist of the Year last year, played a solo acoustic set in the intimate confines of Portland's hippest venue. This is her first headlining tour in the United States. You can find her website here.

I put the slide show together with Adobe Lightroom, which I'm evaluating right now. Feel free to let me know what you think of the look/feel of the show.

(Philadelphia's Matt Duke opened the show. Below are a couple of bonus photos of him doing his thing in Portland.)

Serena Ryder teaser Thursday, February 05, 2009

Canadian singer/songwriter Serena Ryder performs Feb. 5 at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. The native of Millbrook, Ont., is nominated for two Juno awards.

I had the opportunity to interview young Canadian singer/songwriter Serena Ryder tonight for Northwest CanCon before her performance at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, and then I photographed her show.

Ryder, who won the Juno for New Artist of the Year last year, is nominated for two Junos at this year's ceremony, including Artist of the Year.

[left] Serena Ryder's road manager, Brad, arranges guitars onstage before the performance

She's touring the United States for most of February and March in support of her album Is it o.k., her first full-length release in this country.

You can read more about the 2009 Juno nominations on Northwest CanCon now.

Keep your eye on the site for the interview and concert photos, coming soon.

The Robertson Tunnel Sunday, February 01, 2009

A blue line MAX train arrives at Washington Park station in the Robertson Tunnel Jan. 31 in Portland.

The 3.1-mile (5.0 km)
Robertson Tunnel convey blue- and red-line MAX trains beneath the West Hills in Portland, Ore. The route opened in 1998 after five years of construction at a cost of $184 million. (Read more here.)

The tunnels are named for William D. Robertson (1947-1997) who was the president of the TriMet board of directors at the time of his death.

[right] Washington Park station displays a core sample collected during the construction of the Robertson Tunnel. The station sits 260 feet below the Oregon Zoo and the World Forestry Center.