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Prep Digest.

Byline: The Register-Guard

EUGENE INDOOR TAKES A BREAK: The Eugene Indoor track and field meet, which attracted hundreds of high school athletes to the Lane County Fairgrounds each January, is taking a break.

According to meet director Erin Regali of the sponsoring Track City Track Club, the indoor meet will take a `one-year hiatus' due to financial concerns.

`It's not that our club doesn't like the meet or doesn't believe in the meet,' she said. `The problem is that it's a lot of work for diminishing returns.'

Regali said the club could see a profit of $5,000 in an exceptional year, but only $1,000 in other years. It cost the club $8,000 just to rent the facility, and all of the labor - including setting up and taking down the track, running the meet and clean-up - was done by volunteers.

`We would show up at 6 a.m. and not leave until midnight,' Regali said. `It made for a very long day.'

The Track City Track Club took over the meet in 1997. The format was changed from two days of competition to a single day to save money two years ago. It usually attracted as many as 800 high school athletes from throughout the Northwest, 100-200 college or open competitors, 50-75 masters athletes and a handful of youth participants.

`Hopefully, it will come back,' she said. `We'll just have to see what happens.'

IRISH BOYS END LOSING STREAK: After 52 consecutive losses, the Waldport boys basketball team finally tasted victory last month. The Irish beat Clatskanie 60-51 in December, and while that remains their only win of the season, it has been a whole new ballgame under first-year coach Robin Helgerson.

`Last year we lost by an average of 30 points each game,' Helgerson said. `We're definitely a different team now. We've been in most every ballgame. After 52 losses, the boys didn't know how to win, they didn't know how to finish.'

Helgerson was familiar with most of the players because he was their coach in middle school. He said `a bunch' of players approached him about a month before the season and asked him to take over the program.

`All the kids coming up know me, and things look bright for the future,' Helgerson said. `Winning is contagious, but unfortunately, so is losing. It's hard to break out of that, but we're close. It comes from a lot of hard work and a different attitude.'

Helgerson, who insists that each player be dressed in a coat and tie on game days, said this is the first time in three years that Waldport has fielded a freshman team.

`Last year we had 17 kids in the entire program,' he said. `This year we have 34.'

DANCE TO BENEFIT INJURED COACH: La Pine High School has scheduled a benefit dance Friday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to raise funds for teacher and head track coach Tim Fox, who was critically injured during the summer. Admission is $5.

Fox, a two-time Pac-10 champion in the discus for Oregon State and a graduate of Bend High School, is confined to a wheelchair and faces a difficult and uncertain recovery.

Contributions can also be made to the Tim Fox Back on Track fund at any U.S. Bank, or by sending donations to: Tim Fox Paralysis Fund, La Pine High School, P.O. Box 306, La Pine, OR, 97739. For more information, call (541) 322-5377.

SHARP RECEIVES FRIENDSHIP AWARD: Bill Sharp, a Eugene attorney who coached South Eugene's varsity boys basketball team during the 2000-2001 season after a long career as an assistant for the Axemen, received the Friendship Award from the Federal Republic of Germany last week. Sharp has hosted a number of German high school students over the years and has conducted basketball clinics and camps in Germany. Through his efforts, more than 100 student-athletes, as well as their coaches and chaperones, have traveled from Germany to Oregon over the past decade.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 15, 2002
Words:667
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