And after speaking with 88 Degree Men crew chief Matt Gregory and U-1 driver Dave Villwock, I will never complain about the Tri-Cities heat on boat race weekend again.
The unbearable heat and humidity this past weekend in Madison, Ind., claimed a lot of casualties among the boat crews — some who had to be taken to the hospital.
“Villwock was out on the race course and then came back to the dock, but none of his team was there because some of them had to go to the hospital,” said Gregory. “The Oberto team had to help get his boat out of the water.
“People were dropping like flies. It was hard to watch,” Gregory continued. “Not only did the heat play with crew issues, it put issues on the boats because they couldn’t get enough air to run well.”
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Gregory called the Herald back late Sunday night following the season opener in Madison, Ind.
For his team’s first race back in H1 Unlimited since 2008 — when family patriarch Kim Gregory passed away — Matt Gregory was thrilled with the Degree’s third-place finish.
“In all honesty, with 12 boats coming here, with only four boats making the front row, this is above our expectations,” said Gregory. “We had no notes on the course in Madison. We were guessing gears, guessing props. I give all the credit in the world to the kid we put in the seat.”
That would be Scott Liddycoat, who actually won the final race of the 2011 season — the Oryx Cup Championship in Doha, Qatar — in the U-7 Valken.com.
“Coming in, I said it was like riding a big ol’ rusty bike left out on the California coast,” said Gregory. “But we have such a good group of guys, and we’ve got such a good driver.”
And the end result was more than Gregory expected.
“It was huge,” he said. “Back up a heat to 3C, where we basically had to go out and win it to make the final. Then we had a 35-minute turnaround for the final, when all of a sudden a storm blew through.”
To get third, then, with this new team, was an accomplishment.
Rain washed out much of the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Golf Championship on Monday at Wine Valley Golf Club.
But Richland’s Cole Lorenzo leads the tournament at 4-under-par through 10 holes.
Pasco High grad Gregg LaVoie finished his round and is tied for seventh at a minus-1 71. So is Hanford High grad Alex Moore.
Walla Walla’s Tyler Daniels is also at minus-1 through 10 holes.
Richland’s Hunter Thompson is tied for 30th at a plus-1 73, while Walla Walla’s Mason Palmer is at plus-1 through nine holes.
The first round will resume at 6:30 this morning, and the second round commences at 8 a.m.
* Richland’s Zach Bixler has made three straight cuts on the Canadian Pro Golf Tour, placing 68th in Edmonton and 43rd both in Fort McMurray and Saskatoon.Kennewick’s Kevin Tucker has not made a cut yet.
Sanders steps down at NNU
Last week, Rich Sanders announced he was stepping down as athletic director at Northwest Nazarene University.
Sanders had been AD there since 2002, but he has a lot of connections in the Tri-Cities.
He graduated from Kamiakin High School. He was the head boys basketball coach at Hanford High School.
He became an assistant men’s basketball coach for Ed Weidenbach at Columbia Basin College, and when Weidenbach moved to NNU to become the head men’s coach there, Sanders went with him.
Eventually, Sanders took over the men’s program and led the Crusaders to the national tournament two seasons in a row. His 1997-98 team tied the school record with 27 victories.
And then he spent 10 years as AD.
He was a pretty good softball player too, playing for some good Conditioned Air teams in the Tri-Cities in the late 1970s.
Motorsports this week
The Tri-City Kart Club out at Horn Rapids ORV Park in Richland will be hosting the 4-Cycle Sprint Grand Nationals this week.
Practice will begin Wednesday, with different classifications racing Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Also down at Hermiston’s Columbia Motor Speedway Park, Hornets, Hobby Stocks, Late Models and the Northwest Pro 4 trucks will be racing, starting with qualifying at 6 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m.