Coffey shines at EOU / Duck caller shows grit

By Observer editorial November 21, 2012 01:16 pm
Coffey shines at EOU / Duck caller shows grit 

Coffey shines at EOU

Northeast Oregon has become a running mecca. Eastern Oregon University senior Karlee Coffey added to the region’s distinction at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships Saturday when she became an all-American for a fourth time — and the greatest harrier in Eastern Oregon University history.

Coffey is the first Eastern cross country athlete to earn four all-American honors.

According to EOU head cross country coach Ben Welch, who has been instrumental in making Eastern a cross country powerhouse, Coffey has been amazingly consistent. In her four national races Coffey has never finished worse than 12th, which she accomplished as a freshman. Her sophomore campaign saw a runner-up finish followed by two third-place finishes the last two years.

Coffey is not the traditional college student who came to college straight out of high school. She’s 32. She took some time off after high school, married, had a child and then went through a divorce before coming back to school and taking up running.

She said running has changed her life. It’s made her a healthier person, emotionally and physically.

It’s a testament to what exercise can do for a person — and consistency.  Congratulations to EOU and Coffey for a great season.


Duck caller shows grit  

La Grande High School junior Mitch Workinger is in world class company this week in Stuttgart, Ark., where he is competing in the annual World Duck Calling Championships. 

Workinger, the Oregon duck calling titlist, is entered in the 14-16 age division and hopes to make the top five in nationals.

The LHS junior has reached this elite level in duck calling by having good power for his age, excellent recall and a very good memory. 

Workinger is also known for his outstanding work ethic. He has been practicing at least an hour a day for more than five years. 

Callers are evaluated based on power, clarity, flow and realism. And if all goes well, they might even get a cameo appearance on ESPN television, which is filming the national competition.

Too often these days we hear about youth in trouble. Going down a wrong path. Being lazy. Getting in trouble with alcohol and other drugs.

But the true norm is Workinger and people like him. These teens are role models for their peers.

Good luck to Workinger at nationals. He’s living proof that young people by working hard, showing incredible discipline and caring deeply about their craft can reach for the stars.