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Top off-road cyclist rewarded with a lucrative sponsor deal

Prep Notebook

Jeremy Van Schoonhoven of Williams is one of the country's most proficient off-road bicyclers.

For proof, all one has to do is look at the recent deal an on-line mountain bike accessories firm has made with the 17-year-old, home-schooled junior, who competes in mountain bike and cyclocross events. Airbomb.com's sponsorship will be worth from $30,000 to $50,000 over the next year as Schoonhoven travels to 17 events competing for the Canadian company's team.

That makes him the best-sponsored junior in the country, says Jim Van Schoonhoven, Jeremy's dad.

It also means someone else will be paying entry fees, travel and other expenses Van Schoonhoven's parents have covered.

Jeremy's most recent endeavor was over the weekend at the United States Cycling Federation Cyclocross National Championships at the Presdio near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Despite getting stuck behind a large pileup on the first lap and injuring his shoulder in a solo crash on the next lap, Van Schoonhoven placed eighth in the 45-minute, plus one lap, event on a muddy course.

He finished two minutes off the pace set by world champion Matt Kelly.

Up next is a trip to Harrisburg, Pa., for observed trials in February.

Observed trials are obstacle courses (with 8-foot drops or 5-foot climbs over objects, for example) where points are deducted every time a rider's foot touches the ground.

RIGHTING THE SHIP-- The Oregon School Activities Association has asked South Medford High's administration to draw up a plan to curb a string of violations dating back to 1997.

South has been guilty of using ineligible players, holding a scrimmage between freshmen and eighth-graders and -- most recently -- playing a basketball game prior to the allowed date.

The positive is that we do self-report our violations and we are diligent enforcers of the rules when it's found that we have made a mistake or bad choice, South Medford assistant principal Paul Cataldo said Monday.

The plan is due to the OSAA Feb. 7 Cataldo said South's quarterly grading system complicates matters because the OSAA academic standards are based on semesters.

The school is also taking action to reduce the number of unsportsmanlike ejections from athletic contests.

The OSAA executive board noted, erroneously, in its Dec. 6 meeting that South had tallied eight ejections during the fall. That total was duly reported in this space. The state's prep athletic governing organization has since contacted South, noting it had miscalculated the ejections. There were four -- three in soccer, one in football.

We are not leading the state, thank goodness, said Cataldo, whose duties include overseeing athletics.

Part of the school's plan is to have the players own up to their conduct on the field or court.

South already requires athletes to write letters to the OSAA regarding their ejections. The school has tried to heighten awareness and take measures in hopes the athletes will take (ejections) more seriously, Cataldo said.

In addition to a one-game suspension meted out by the OSAA for ejections, South has mulled tacking on a second game.

LEARNING THE ROPES-- New Eagle Point wrestling coach Brad McBee knew he was hired to restore the program to the prominence it held 10 years ago.

With former coach Bob Bergen crafting a rugged schedule, McBee quickly is figuring out the scope of the task.

Last Friday, the Eagles found themselves pitted head-to-head against Newberg on the Tigers' mat.

I'm not saying they're better than Crater right now, but when you're talking for the last 10 or 20 years, McBee says, Newberg is the elite team in the state.

Since the '70s, almost every year Newberg has been in the mix. In the '80s it was Eagle Point and Newberg, and right now, it's Crater and Newberg.

Staring tradition in the eye, the Eagles won six of 14 matches in dropping a 37-24 decision to the Tigers in the finals of the Newberg Invitational.

We're young and we've got a ways to go, McBee says. That's why we went up there. I came in blind from the Midwest (Kansas). I know good wrestling, but I didn't know where it was. Obviously, Crater in our own conference. But who else, I didn't know.

Four of the state's top eight dual teams were at Newberg. The No. 6 Eagles cut down No. 8 Oregon City, 56-6, in the semifinals to get their shot at Newberg.

We made some mistakes, but we beat some of their studs, McBee says. We were competitive with them and got to wrestle in a hostile environment.

The Eagles have won seven of eight duals, and heavyweight Blake Cam improved his record to 6-0 against the Tigers.

B.J. McFall (140) lost for the first time in eight bouts, dropping a 3-2 decision to Tim Norman, who was the Class 4A state runner-up at 135 pounds last winter. Chet McBee (145), the coach's son, topped Jordan Barich, last season's 130-pound state champion, 3-1, in overtime.

While the front-line wrestlers fared well, Eagle Point had 13 more youngsters in a junior varsity bracket tournament at Newberg. The Eagles lost three matches the entire day.

Depth means a lot where two are eligible in each weight class and can even advance to the state meet.

We might not be in the top two or three right now, but I'd like to think we're in the top eight and we're pretty solid right now, McBee says. But we're still in that second tier behind the top teams.

(Greg Stiles is a Mail Tribune sports writer. He can be reached at 776-4483 or )