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Maggie Coleman won the Wildhorse Meet (Photo/AJ Mazzolini)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


MISSION — With her time as a Bulldog winding down, Hermiston cross country runner Maggie Coleman is only revving up.

A week after the senior shattered her personal record by almost a minute — on the way setting a new girls’ school record in the 5,000 meters — Coleman cruised to a first-place finish at the Kyle Burnside Wildhorse Meet at Wildhorse Golf Course on Friday. Her time of 18:44.47, while more than 40 seconds slower than the race of her life at Portland’s XC Classic last Saturday, was still easily enough to win the Wildhorse race.

Coleman had 13 seconds of separation between herself and the No. 2, Hood River Valley runner Grace Grim, and the Hermiston girl posted her second-fastest time of her high school career.

“I didn’t know I could do this and it’s so cool. And after all these years I guess it just finally clicked,” Coleman said.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


Some people run as a hobby to stay in shape, others use it as the means to get from A to B. Cicely Waters runs to honor her mother.

For Waters, running became as much a mental escape as a physical stimulant in 2002. Her mother, Sharon Loftus, had been diagnosed with cancer of the blood and was battling the disease in Pendleton where the family is from. Waters, who moved to Portland in 1996 to attend the University of Portland, would span the state along Interstate 84 back to the dry side almost every weekend to be with her mother.


 
 
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Pendleton athlete Lathan Alger (845). (Photo by Matthew Aimonetti)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian

PENDLETON — Most weekends this fall Lathan Alger has worn two different hats for the Pendleton Buckaroos — one a sparkling gold helmet and the other a numbered race bib. Just 15 hours after Alger’s Bucks football team squeaked out a playoff win over Milwaukie 19-12 in the Round-Up Grounds Friday night, the senior faced a different kind of competition in Eugene with another Pendleton squad: the boys’ cross country runners.

 After the game, Alger traded in his route running as wide receiver for just plain running: a mild-mannered runner by day and a pass-catching superhero by night. Over the weekend, he competed in postseason play in each sport, helping the Bucks make the state playoffs’ round of 16 on the gridiron and the cross country team to place 10th at the Class 5A State Cross Country Championships.

“I’ve been doing it all season, but I didn’t know I’d have to do it on such a big scale as a playoff game and state (meet),” Alger said Saturday after the race. He placed 53rd — toward the middle of the pack.

 
 
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The Bulldog XC team runs down Gettman Road Wednesday in Hermiston while preparing for the state meet. (Photo by EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian

HERMISTON — During practices circling a wide radius around town, the Hermiston boys’ cross country team sometimes runs in a jumbled formation and other times in single file. When they morph into the latter, it looks like a unique spin on the children’s game “follow the leader,” mostly because they don’t really have one.

On a given day, it could be any of the top four or five runners taking the charge. On a windy Tuesday afternoon in November as they cruised into a pit stop at Sandstone Middle School, the young man in front was Javier Velasco — a senior who took third at the state meet last year — tailed by Eduardo Juarez. Juarez is fresh off a first-place finish at the Columbia River Conference district meet and may be Hermiston’s best shot at an individual champion at the Class 5A Cross Country Championships at Lane Community College in Eugene on Saturday.

But then again, he might not be, Juarez said.
 
 

Whatever It Takes: Harrison Ringel

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By  AJ Mazzolini

A boy lay in a hospital bed with medicine pumping into his body. The sanitary white sheets and mattress were becoming as familiar to Harrison Ringel as his own bed at home in Galloway.

Doctors said the boy had acute lymphocytic leukemia. He would receive some form of chemotherapy treatment for the next 3 1/2 years — if things went well.

But Harrison wasn’t thinking about the cancer. Or why he was the one getting sick, a 12-year-old just starting to really live. His mind wasn’t even in the hospital room.

His mind was at the track, on the back of his road-racing motorcycle ripping down the pavement and hugging the tight turns, his favorite parts.

“(Racing) has always been something that I’ve used to look past everything else,” said Harrison, now a 15-year-old incoming freshman at Ready High School. “It’s a motivator to get past these things, to say, ‘OK, I’ve got to do this so I can get back on the bike.’ ”
 
 
Daughter's run a sign of love for mother with liver cancer

When Sara Smith's mother was diagnosed with liver cancer in December 2008, the news left her bewildered. She was very close to her mother and had never given a thought to her mortality.

"It was absolutely devastating," Smith said. "Everything you can think of just goes through your mind. Will she be OK? What does this mean? I know people lose their parents, but the full impact of that was so difficult, especially when you're not prepared for it."

The Missoula native said watching her mother undergo treatment made her feel helpless. Chemotherapy left Peggy Smith, 62, frustrated, tired and weak. There had to be something she could do, Sara thought.