NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Good luck, Dad… go Mustangs!

We don’t usu­al­ly cov­er high school sports here on The Advo­cate, but I’d be remiss if I did­n’t men­tion that my alma mater’s cross coun­try team is com­pet­ing today in the State Cham­pi­onships, coached by my dad, Denis Villeneuve.

The Red­mond Mus­tangs are mak­ing their nine­teenth trip to the state meet, but it’s the first time that the girls team has been ranked No. 1.

They have a good shot at cap­tur­ing the title when they run at Sun Wil­lows Golf Course in Pas­co this afternoon.

I wish I could be there to watch, but my sched­ule did­n’t per­mit me to make the trip over to the Tri-Cities this week­end. So I’ll be cheer­ing from home.

Dad has worked extreme­ly hard over the years to build a strong cross coun­try pro­gram at Red­mond. It’s one of the bet­ter pro­grams in the state. The boys and girls’ teams have each made half a dozen con­sec­u­tive trips to state in the last few years, from a very com­pet­i­tive league (King­co 4A).

I try to go to at least a few meets every year — some­how I man­aged to make it to all the home meets this sea­son, as well as the dis­trict cham­pi­onship meet. So I’ve seen the Red­mond team out on the course, and they are impressive.

Both The Seat­tle Times and the Red­mond Reporter wrote about the Mus­tangs this week. Here’s what the Times’ Sandy Ringer wrote about the team:

Denis Vil­leneuve has had some pret­ty good girls teams at Red­mond in his 27 years as coach. The Mus­tangs fin­ished fourth in the 2007 4A state meet.

This could be his best squad. Red­mond is ranked No. 1 in the final coach­es’ state poll.

“We’re ranked No. 1 and we’d like to be No. 1 at state,” Vil­leneueve said. “We cer­tain­ly should be on the podi­um, which is top-four. That’s the min­i­mum goal. The girls would like to be first, but there are so many vari­ables. We feel we’re as good as all the oth­er teams out there, if not bet­ter. We just have to go in and be con­fi­dent and see what happens.”

That quote real­ly sums up Dad’s out­look on run­ning. Go in, be con­fi­dent, see what hap­pens. Do your best. Reach high, but don’t take any­thing for grant­ed. Don’t let a defeat get you down. It’s a pret­ty good approach to elec­toral pol­i­tics as well.

We’ve got an elec­tion com­ing up in less than a hun­dred hours (bal­lot return dead­line might be more accu­rate). There’s a lot at stake.

The first elec­tion I was involved in as an activist took place nine years ago. There was a lot at stake then, too (there always is). That elec­tion did­n’t go so well. Tim Eyman’s I‑776 nar­row­ly passed and Democ­rats lost con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate. Those were some of the low­lights. There weren’t many bright spots.

But I resolved not to let the elec­tion results dis­cour­age me from con­tin­u­ing to work against Tim Eyman’s destruc­tive ini­tia­tives. I’m still involved today because of the deci­sion that I made then. Per­se­ver­ance mat­ters. I learned that from Dad.

Win or lose on Tues­day, NPI and Per­ma­nent Defense will con­tin­ue work­ing to raise our region’s qual­i­ty of life. We’ll also con­tin­ue to oppose Tim Eyman’s harm­ful, mis­guid­ed ini­tia­tives. Wash­ing­ton just can’t afford Eyman’s schemes.

Dad has been coach­ing for near­ly three decades. Today, the pro­gram he’s worked so hard to build has a chance to win a state title. That itself is a major accom­plish­ment, one that our whole fam­i­ly is proud of.

But of course, noth­ing would be sweet­er than see­ing Red­mond go all the way this after­noon. So good luck, Dad, and go Mus­tangs! I’ll be root­ing for you.

POSTSCRIPT: Red­mond end­ed up fin­ish­ing third… the girls team ran very well, and even though they did­n’t win the meet, they accom­plished their goal of get­ting into the top four. This is one of the best fin­ish­es in the pro­gram’s his­to­ry. Red­mond was one point shy of tying for sec­ond with Bel­larmine Prep; Tahoma won the meet with 88 points. (In cross coun­try, the low­est score wins).

Red­mond had two girls in the top ten indi­vid­ual fin­ish­ers: Megan LeGres­ley was fifth with a time of 18:22.7. Kelsey Dunn was ninth with a time of 18:41.6. Megan and Kelsey are, not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, Red­mond’s fastest girls. Join­ing them in the top thir­ty was Hol­ly Young, who fin­ished twen­ty-ninth with a time of 19:13.3.

One hun­dred and forty-six girls com­pet­ed in the 4A cross coun­try cham­pi­onship race at Sun Wil­lows. Com­plete results have been post­ed.

The boys’ team is also in the state meet, and will run lat­er today.

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