Newspaper Archive of
Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island, Washington
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February 2, 1994     Mercer Island Reporter
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February 2, 1994
 

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hiferSESPORTS Wednesday, February 2, 1994 Carter leads way in gymnasts’ win By Toby Therrien Mercer Island Reporter It was the last dual meet of Shannon Carter’s gymnastics career. And it was home, in the friendly atmosphere of the Mer— cer Island High School gymnasi- um. She gathered up her roses and then went to work. Ask anyone in the gym last Thursday night and they would say it was only fitting that Car- ter, the Islanders’ classy senior, should walk away a winner. That she did. Carter finished second with an all-around score of 33.2, in— cluding a polished 9.0 on the bal- ance beam. But more important— ly, her Islanders beat Issaquah for the first time since her fresh- man season, 160.8 to 156. With Carter providing the compass, Mercer Island entered recently uncharted territory this season, wrapping up the Kingco Conference schedule with a 10-2 record and tied with the Indians for second place. The Islanders now face their first hurdle in their quest to re- turn to the state gymnastics meet, a meet they haven’t seen as a team in four years. Five teams will advance from Fri~ day’s Kingco meet at Newport High School to next week‘s SeaKing District meet. The Is— landers take the floor on Friday for the first session at 3 p.m. As always, Carter will lead Mercer Island into the gym. CARTER HAS STYLE, but it never gets in the way. She is classy without being aloof. It’s the making of a good leader. Carter is humble in assessing her leadership ability. “I guess people look up to me because I’m the only senior,” she said with a smile. Her coach, Lenny Lewis, has a different view. Please see ‘Gymnastics’ on 82. Get ready to run the half marathon By Jane Meyer Mercer Island Reporter You’re in reasonably good shape. You exercise. You run three or four miles at a crack. You may even have run a 10K race a while back. But a half marathon? It sounds daunting. The Mercer Island Half Mar- athon is just eight weeks away. It’s the 22nd year for the race, co-sponsored by the Mercer Is- land Rotary and Farmers New World Life. It’s a major event on the Island. Last year, more than 1,700 participants and 150 volun- teers participated in the thee events — an 8K race, a 3-mile Fran Call walk, and the centerpiece, the half marathon run around the periphery of the Island. But it’s do-able. Nike says “Just Do It.” Fran Call says, “Why Not?” With this week’s issue, the Mercer Island Reporter is launching a weekly training pro- gram, designed by Fran Call, re— tired teacher and creator of the legendary Outdoor Fitness and Cyclemates programs for mid- dle school students. It’s all a matter of small steps, according to Call. Over the years she’s trained hundreds of students to run the race. She’s not sure how many times she’s run it herself at least a dozen — Please see ‘Run’ on 82. Week One 0 Training runs: Four runs —— two four~mile runs and two three—mile runs, totaling 14 miles: Schedule ’ the runs as you wish within the seven days. You can run every day for four consecu— tive days, or alternate a run- ning day and a rest day. 0 Suggested route: For a 3.0 mile run: From the latte line at the south QFC, head north along Island Crest Way to SE. 48th Street, then return. 0 Pre—run tips: Have a light snack an hour before the run — toast, ba- nana, water. Go to the bath— room; a half-cup of coffee helps move things along. 0 Want to run? Meet at 9 am. on Monday, Feb. 7 at the corner of Mercerdale Park for a train- ing run. Andrea Marchese Darryl Gordon holds the canopy open while Rob Villalobos sits in the cockpit of the gravity sled the two designed and-builtrecently. Villalobos will pilot the sled at speeds of 120 mph this-weekend during the World Championship Shovel Si Sled Race at the Angel Fire Ski Resort in Taos, New Mexico. Firefighters to race in custom sled By Toby Therrien Mercer Island Reporter ‘t's a sport currently burgeon- ing with the influx of bigtime sponsorship money. High—tech de- ' signs have introduced unforeseen speed — and the accompanying danger — to its participants and fans. Keep up with the times or get left behind. Where can you thrill at the dra- matic meeting of mechanical acu- men and human will? At the World Championship Shovel & Sled Race, an event started 21 years ago and run an- nually at the Angel Fire Ski Re- sort in Taos, New Mexico. Think of it as the Soap Box Derby on snow. And this year, for the first time ever, the Northwest will be repre- sented in the qualifying heats, on Friday. The racing finals are (sicheduled for Saturday and Sun- ay. AFTER A CHALLENGE from a his uncles, who are founders of the event and past champions, Rob Villalobos hooked up with Darryl Gordon to build “Bacxdraft,” a super—sleek sled they think can win the race. years, will be boys.” Don’t laugh. There’s some seri— «ous "dough goes into building a ,rldmchampionship caliber sled. er A1 Unser Jr. has entered a‘Sled the past three years, as has the Hooters Restaurant chain and Budweiser. To build their sled, Villalobos and Gordon tapped into the best minds involved in unlim- ited hydroplane racing. The 1,500—foot course slopes straight down Angel Fire at a 40- percent grade - 1,000 feet to speed and 500 feet at the bottom to stop — with an aircraft carrier catch-net at the bottom. “Envision being halfway up the slope at Hyak and just letting go,” said Gordon. The event is a lot like World Cup downhill skiing. Each sled is timed from start to finish and the fastest one wins. Sleds regularly cross the ffiiish line at 100 mph. Villalobos hopes to top out at 120. THE BIGGEST challenge, of course, is stopping. , “A lot of the brakes we saw were human powered,” said Villalobos, who will pilot the sled. “You can only do so much with that.” So “Backdraft” has a nitrogen- powered piston which will fire 600 pounds of pressure into the brake, just lettin ’""l‘hé*pit crew'for Indy 500 drivg ._ . i. r a. steel claw that digs intorthe‘r- g} - Darryl brags. snow behind"‘"th‘e" 'Psied.‘s that doesn’t work, there’s always the‘ rocket-deployed parachute at- tached to the back. Then there’s always the net. That seems to be how most of the sleds are stopping in the Prime Sports Network videotape run- ning on the television at the South Mercer Fire Station. “We’ve taken all of the best de~ sign characteristics of the past three years,” Villalobos said, “and incorporated them into our sled: We think we’re going to win.” They started with the rollcage, a steel frame designed and built by master welder Steven Jones, from Southcenter Ironworks in Kent. “Steve said it’s stronger than it will ever need to be,” Villalobos said, although some of the end- over-end crashes on his videotape look like they might test even the strongest steel. “The frame was physically built around my body. We didn’t want to have any more A structure to the sled than we abso- lutely needed.” snow limited hydroplane specialist Vir— I all Williams to build a fiberglass being}. I ‘1 the.» “910139 afifiya'ksnd shell. The hot pink and black body looks" like a hydro cockpit? , ’, How: to steer an 8-foot long, 240- pound,s1ed at loomph? g ‘L- ‘T the _‘ T-bar designed by Mike Collins from. Zetec Inc., a ‘ nonvdeStructive‘,<‘- testing facility based~;in:13saquah;“Where Gordon was-,oncefémployed- gi.?i‘:"_We"re'i-using“the skier theory f: turning‘don the edges of the r skis,..’=’,s said Gordongi; Some of thes1éds have a third ski directly under the nose, but on tape it doesn’t really seem to help steer and actually makes the sled unstable. The final price tag for six weeks of work? Four thousand dollars -— not including the $1.98 “hand-me-down” skis that will carry “Backdraft” down the slope. On the television, the Molson- sponsored sled designed by Un- ser’s pit crew began its descent. ' “We’re talking about an Indy- car pit crew here,” Gordon said. “That’s a lot of cash.” “And they still haven’t figured .out how to steer their sled,” Villalobos deadpanned as the sled wobbled into a spectacular rolling crash. “This guy’s facehas been plas- tered on these video tapes for tivo years talking about how the mon— ey has changed. the sport,” he said of the Molson pilot. “We’re going to‘ go down there and whip ’em. We can do it. We’re firemen. Don’t give us a challenge. We just might take it.”