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The Observer paper 04/29/16

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Home arrow Sports arrow PROFILES


Billingsley opens eyes with a stellar performance at his NFL pro day

Eastern Oregon Universityís Jace Billingsley is shown during a game against the College of Idaho last season. Billingsley put together one of the top performances during his pro day at the University of Nevada last week and has drawn interest from several NFL and CFL teams. (Observer file photo)
Eastern Oregon University’s Jace Billingsley had a standout performance at the University of Nevada’s pro day last week, and with the NFL Draft quickly approaching, that’s all he could have asked for.

Changes at LGCC

The La Grande Country Club is adding a few new additions this spring, and they aren’t anything you want to miss, according to LGCC General Manager and Head Golf Professional Dana Londin.

Big fish in big pond

La Grande Swim Clubís Garren Dutto, 14, is one of four swimmers to qualify for the 2015 Arena Western Zone Senior Championships July 29 through Aug. 2 in Clovis, California. (Josh Benham, The Observer)
Each weekday morning the members of the La Grande Swim Club head down to the Veterans Memorial Swim Pool. Inevitably, there’s going to be days when the kids simply don’t want to get in the water, but all of them find the strength to push through.

Worth their weight

Christopher Herrera is among six local lifters set to compete in the Old School Powerlifting Championships July 25 in Ontario. (Cherise Kaechele, The Observer)
Among the crew that La Grande strength coach Dino Herrera trains, there’s a mix of weightlifters who are relatively new to the competitive side, with others searching for a new way to stay in shape. Herrera is leading five of those pupils to a regional competition, plus himself, to see how they match up with the best of the immediate area.

One for the books

La Grande wrestler Cole Rohan ended one of the finest careers ever for the Tigers this year, finishing with an in-season record of 169-27 and a state championship in his junior season.
Cole Rohan doesn’t pull any punches.

Disc golf phenom

La Grande 9-year-old Aviendha Durrant is one of 13 girls worldwide to receive an invitation to compete in the 10-and-under age group at the Professional Disc Golf Association Amateur & Junior Disc Golf World Championships.
It was just another day in 2012 when Ed Durrant wanted to get some practice in for an upcoming disc golf tournament. His 6-year-old (at the time) daughter, Aviendha, thought she would tag along.

Vaulting into history

Eastern Oregon University junior Talitha Fagen repeated as national champion in the pole vault at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships last weekend.
Tucked away in the Grande Ronde Valley, Eastern Oregon University has quietly become a powerhouse in the pole vault over the last two decades.

Tradition of dominance

The La Grande girls swim team is shown holding its ninth consecutive 4A Special District 2 team championship Feb. 14.
At the heart of any dynasty, two things are typically present: a template of success handed down from the upperclassmen, and a dedicated, knowledgeable leader who oversees it all.

Sibling Rivalry

Jordan Pratt

Badger brothers try to match title won by Powder Valley in 2009 

Sibling rivalry has been around since the beginning of time. Thankfully, the battle in North Powder is nothing like Cain and Abel’s fight. 

Logan Allen, Marcus Pratt and Chace Dixon drugged their feet as long as they could, but the three seniors will finally make that return trip to Baker City for the Class 1A state basketball tournament Thursday. The Badgers will take on Ione at 8:15 p.m.  

Super sophomores

Collman, Albrecht and Avila (left to right) helped the Tigers clinch the league championship with a win against Ontario Friday night.
Young trio helps La Grande bring home the league title with a win against Ontario 

LA GRANDE — The sophomores of the La Grande girls basketball team have taken the court by storm this season. Kylin Collman, Avery Albrecht and Kali Avila, three of the Tigers’ starting lineup, have proven that hard work and great team play wins games. 

Final stretch for senior

La Grande senior Tyson Wicklander and his teammates are 17-2 overall this season.

Wicklander and the Tigers want to lock up the league title tonight

Tyson Wicklander is on the verge of completing a goal he takes very seriously, and with a sense of pride.

He saw what La Grande basketball was supposed to be like the year before enrolling at the high school as a freshman. In 2008, the Tigers went to the state basketball tournament. They won the Greater Oregon League title, and finished second in state.  

La Grande graduate will play close to home next season

Most babies have cute mobiles hanging over their cribs, with a stuffed animal sitting in the corner. There are those babies, and then there’s Alora Brown. 

The La Grande High School senior grew up with a soccer ball in her crib. Her parents, Sam and Kathleen, encouraged the passion they share.

Family tradition

Unionís Quinn Evans will be in Los Angeles this weekend for the II West Preliminary Polo Tournament. The Bobcat freshman comes from a long line of polo players.

Evans following family legacy of playing polo

Union’s Quinn Evans appears to be a normal freshman. He goes to classes, gets good grades and this winter he’s playing basketball. All in all your typical 15-year-old kid. However, one of the things that sets Evans apart from the rest of his classmates is also taking him places.

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