Local firefighter competes in stairclimb for a good cause
|Local fireman, Joe Johnson, competed in the 2013 Scott Firefighter Stairclimb to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Johnson raced up 1,311 steps in full firefighting gear. Photo submitted|
March 19 — Local firefighter Joe Johnson set out to prove he and other federally employed firefighters are made of the right stuff, and that’s exactly what he did when he finished the 2013 Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in the top 15 percent of competitors in his age group.
The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb takes place each year in downtown Seattle, Wash. More than 1,000 firefighters from all over the world race up the 1,311 steps of the Columbia Center in full structural firefighting gear (boots, pants, coats, gloves, helmets and a breathing apparatus). Participants are required to fundraise a certain amount of money prior to the event and proceeds support The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb website, the stairclimb supports the mission of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by raising money through sponsorships, individual and department fundraising and entry fees.
Johnson, who has been a fireman for 11 years, is currently stationed at Ravendale Fire Station. He spent 10 years as a member of the Diamond Mountain Hot Shot fire crew before deciding to transfer to an engine so he could spend less time traveling and more time with his daughter.
Johnson got the idea to compete in the stairclimb from his boss, whose brother has participated in the event for the past four years. “It started off kind of as a joke at work,” Johnson said. However, something that started as a joke quickly turned serious, as he became determined to compete in the stairclimb. According to Johnson, registration for the event opens online at a specific time and sells out almost immediately. Last year, the event sold out in about an hour. This year it sold out in 11 minutes. Luckily, Johnson was prepared and was able to complete his registration in about eight minutes.
Registering for the event was only the beginning for Johnson, who spent 12 weeks training for the physically grueling event.
“I did everything from CrossFit in full gear to the Versaclimber and running stairs. I went to Reno and ran the Grand Sierra,” he said. The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev. has 27 flights of stairs, compared to the Columbia Center’s 69. According to Johnson, the race actually ended on the 73rd floor. Johnson also mentioned that he ran, hiked and biked in full firefighting gear while training.
When the day of the race arrived, Johnson said he was nervous. Although he had wrestled and participated in small competitions before, he had never competed in an event as large and physically intense as the stairclimb.
“This was huge. This was the crown jewel, the big daddy. There were people from nine different countries. There were a lot of people,” he said.
However, his nervousness was quelled by all the friendly and welcoming people he met before the race began.
Overall, the race went well for Johnson who said he had a few minor hiccups, but still competed at a high level and made it to the finish. “I definitely was somewhat hypoxic by the time I got to the top, but it felt good,” Johnson said.
He finished the race number 157 out of 950 people in his age group.
“It was a competition and I really had to prove myself,” he said, “as far as I know, I’m the first federal employee to do this competition, so that was another incentive … to show that we can compete.”
There is no doubt Johnson reached his goal of competing at a high level and proving himself, all while supporting a noble cause.
For more information on the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb and a video of the event, visit www.llswa.org.
Grizzlies go up against Foothill High School
Garrison Collier gets ready to run to second base in the Grizzlies’ home game against Foothill High School Wednesday, March 14. Photo by Maddie Musante
March 18 — The Lassen High School boys’ baseball team played its first home game of the season against the Foothill High School Cougars Thursday, March 14. The game ended in a 14-2 loss for the Grizzlies.
The grass and bleachers of Memorial Park were crowded with fans excited to cheer on the Grizzlies and the warm, sunny weather made it the perfect afternoon to enjoy a baseball game. Lassen Community College baseball players were there to show their support for the local high school team and helped out by operating the scoreboard and manning the snack bar.
Senior Joey Beck pitched 3.1 innings for the Grizzlies. Senior Jarrell Cunningham pitched 1.2 innings. Daniel Perry and Nate Freeman each hit RBIs. Beck hit a double.
Foothill High School is currently undefeated with an overall record of 9-0. The Grizzlies overall record is now 5-4.
Lassen High School’s next home baseball game is against Central Valley High School at 3 p.m. tomorrw afternoon, Tuesday, March 19.
Lassen High School girls' basketball celebrates a great season
The Lassen high School girls’ basketball teams held an awards ceremony in the student center Thursday, March 14 to celebrate the end of a great season. Award winners and their coaches pose together after the ceremony. Photos by Maddie Musante
March 15 — The Lassen High School girls’ basketball teams hosted a night of awards and celebration in the student center Thursday, March 14.
Before celebrating a successful season and receiving awards, the girls’ basketball teams passed out cake and punch to attendees who were excited for an evening of reliving memories and remembering the highlights of the season. Varsity coach Jessica Larson thanked her fellow coaches, the boosters and everyone who helped support the teams throughout the season.
Freshman girls’ coaches Tony Amero and Dorinda Shaffer kicked off the evening by calling the freshman team to the front of the room, introducing individual players and discussing the season. The freshman girls’ team went undefeated in league play.
“Dorinda and I both had fun,” Amero said, speaking about his experience coaching the girls.
Players voted on the awards for Most Improved, Best Offensive Player, Best Defensive Player and MVP. Tatum Uburu won Most Improved. As she stepped up to receive her award, Amero discussed her fun personality and recalled memories of her singing Whitney Houston songs while traveling to away games. Colby Sherman was voted Best Offensive Player. The award for Best Defensive Player went to both Garyn Harlan and Carissa Shaffer. Taylor Knecht won MVP. The Coaches’ Award, which was renamed the Ultimate Grizzly Award, went to Jenae Larson. The freshman team also received custom T-shirts with “undefeated” printed across the front.
Next up was the junior varsity team. Prior to handing out awards, coach Mark Zaengle gave a speech outlining the team’s impressive stats for the season and how close-knit they were as a team. He described the team as, “a great bunch of young ladies,” and said, “it was really fun with you guys.”
Taylor Speers was voted Most Improved by her teammates. Julisa Rodriguez won Best Defensive Player. Sandra Radey won Best Offensive Player. The MVP and Ultimate Grizzly awards went to Miranda Langenhorst, who had a double-double in every game she played this season. The JV team also gave the coaches a thank you gift to show their appreciation for an incredible season.
Larson introduced the varsity team, showing the crowd a necklace the players got her as a thank you gift and handing out memory books to each player as she introduced them.
Senior Gracie Radey and Jacqui Smith won awards for having 4.0 GPAs. The team voted Danica Guillen Most Improved. The award for Best Offensive Player went to Mikailia McClure-Bustamante. Smith won Best Defensive Player. Emily Terwilliger was awarded MVP. Laken Cagle took home the Ultimate Grizzly Award. Sara Carson got All-League Honorable Mention. Terwilliger and McClure-Bustamante each won All-League.
The evening was full of laughter and emotion, as both players and coaches recalled the season behind them and looked forward to next year.
Lady Cougar softball slugger signs scholarship
Lady Cougar first base player Becky McConnell signs a scholarship to attend and play for William Jessup University Thursday, March 7. Photo by Maddie Musante
March 13 — Lassen Community College softball star Becky McConnell is not only looking forward to this year’s softball season with the Lady Cougars, she is thrilled to have just signed a scholarship to play for William Jessup University next year.
McConnell is a Susanville native and alumna of Richmond Middle School and Lassen High School. According to McConnell, she has played softball since she was able to, starting with tee ball and beginning softball at the age of 5. This will be her second year playing first base for the Lady Cougars under head coach Glen Yonan. Last year she was awarded second team all-conference. Currently, she has a batting average in the high 300s and has scored two home runs for the Lady Cougars in their pre-season games.
William Jessup University is a private, liberal arts college in Rocklin, Calif. The William Jessup University Lady Warrior’s softball team is currently ranked number one in the California Pacific Conference.
McConnell said she was both excited and nervous about next year’s season as a Lady Cougar. “Nervous because I haven’t been anywhere but here, but excited to be away and play,” she said in Yonan’s office before practice Thursday, March 7. McConnell also said she thinks her greatest challenge next year will not be on the softball field, but in the social arena, as she tends to be shy, which can make it harder for her to meet new people.
After growing up in Lassen County and playing softball for so many coaches, McConnell was full of thanks for those who have coached and supported her throughout the years. “I would like to thank all of my coaches that I’ve played for, especially coach Yonan because he got me this offer. I’d like to thank my family for always supporting me and being there as often as possible,” she said.
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