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Inside Page: Oberto closes in on national H1 Unlimited high points title

After last weekend’s UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest, Jimmy Shane is in great position to give Art Oberto a goodbye present of a national high points championship.

Shane won all four of his heat races, including the final, by grabbing the inside lane each time while driving the U-1 Oberto. In the final, he fought off J. Michael Kelly’s attempts to take the lead in the U-5 Graham Trucking.

It was a reversal of the Seafair final a few weeks ago in Seattle, where Kelly won.

Art Oberto is set to end his sponsorship with the U-1 team after the season ends next month in San Diego.

Shane and Oberto lead the point standings with 4,860 points. Kelly and Graham are second with 4,234, while Cal Phipps in the U-27 Dalton Industries is third at 3,611. Scott Liddycoat and the U-9 Jones Racing are fourth at 3,438 points.

Jean Theoret flipped the U-96 Ellstrom Elam Plus in Detroit. But the boat landed softly enough that minimal damage was done, although crew chief Mike Hanson stayed behind this week with divers trying to find the missing skid fin.

Theoret and Ellstrom have had such tough luck this season. If not for accidentally going through a DMZ before last month’s Gold Cup final in the Tri-Cities and getting disqualified, the standings might be different. Theoret and Ellstrom had the best boat of the fleet by far on Gold Cup weekend.

Heza Dasha Fire

The standout 3-year-old gelding quarter horse, owned by Don, Kathy and Shawn Meneely from Kennewick, won his first big stakes race of the year Sunday in the $180,200 Golden State Derby at Los Alamitos in Southern California.

That was Heza Dasha Fire’s eighth victory in nine career starts. But what really jumps out is how he covered the 400 yards in 19.57 seconds.

The runner-up came in at 19.83 seconds — a huge difference in quarter horse racing.

“Dash lived up to expectations by putting a half-length on the field out of the gate, and then expanding the lead to 11/2 lengths after 300 yards,” Don Meneely said. “And then running the final 100 yards in cruise control with his ears twitching and the jockey just sitting on him. Very impressive win.”

Next up? The trials for the $750,000 Super Derby in October.

Prep football changes

Here are some notable coaching changes this season (there are over 60 this year throughout the state), as provided by David Maley:

• Eastmont’s Doug McGill is gone after 11 seasons. In his place is Mike Don, who was at Meadowdale the past two seasons.



• Former NFL and Washington State star James Hasty has his first head-coaching job at Franklin.



• Locally, Brett Jay (who was at River View from 2008-13 and Monroe last season) steps in at Hanford, replacing Rob Oram, now an assistant at Kennewick. Former WSU standout Michael Bumpus takes over for Jay at Monroe.



• Kevin Jolley comes from New Mexico to take over at Pasco, replacing Dustin Lamb.



• Darren Mezger steps into his first head-coaching job at Kiona-Benton, replacing Craig Beverlin, who was there last year.



• LaCrosse-Washtucna-Kahlotus has dissolved its program (lack of numbers), so Justin Ziebell is out of a job after coaching the team the past two seasons.



• Jeff Nelson, who was at LaCrosse-Washtucna from 1994-2012, has taken over the head-coaching job at Odessa-Harrington.



• Benji Sonnichsen left Prosser after being there the past six seasons. He’s coaching at Mead in Spokane. Corey Ingvalson gets his first head-coaching job at Prosser.



• At River View, former Southridge assistant Bryce Kennell takes over for Kevin Hale, who was there in 2014.



• Michael Coe takes the helm at South Whidbey, replacing former college coach Chris Tormey.



• At Sunnyside, John Lobbestael gets his first head-coaching position, replacing Mark Marro, who was there from 2002-14.



• At Waitsburg-Prescott, Jeff Bartlow has stepped down after being the main guy there the past eight years. Troy Larsen takes over for his first head-coaching job.



• Former Eisenhower coach Dan Eyman steps in for John Beck at West Valley of Yakima.



Also, former WSU football and basketball standout Mike Bush will be the new coach at Kentwood, taking over for Rex Norris.

Notes

Grace Smith (Richland) was in on four blocks as the Judson University women’s volleyball team swept Governors State 3-0 on Saturday. Smith is a junior for the Eagles. ... Redshirt junior quarterback Zach Bartlow (Waitsburg) is one of four team captains for the Eastern Oregon football team this season. The Mountaineers, ranked 13th in the NAIA preseason poll, open the season Saturday at Frontier Conference rival College of Idaho. ... The Indoor Football League announced that teams would have 16 games for the 2016 season instead of the usual 14. ... Tri-Cities Fever owner Teri Carr will announce her new coach next week at a news conference. Whoever it is will replace Adam Shackleford. He signed a three-year deal last week with the Spokane Shock, which will join the IFL. League commissioner Mike Allshouse will be at the Fever news conference, which will address a new veteran player eligibility rule. There also will be an announcement of new teams joining the league and changes to the conference lineups and playoff format.

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