Children’s Clinic to donate helmets at Velo Classic bike race, wellness fest

Oak Ridge Velo Classic

Professional and top amateur males race in a previous Oak Ridge Velo Classic. (Photo submitted by Lou Rabinowitz)

The Children’s Clinic of Oak Ridge is donating more than 20 children’s bicycle helmets to be distributed at the seventh annual UCOR Oak Ridge Velo Classic Bicycle Racing Event and Wellness event this weekend.

The Wellness event is scheduled for Sunday, July 27, at the Horizon Center. It will feature a “Kids Bike Rodeo” that will emphasize safe bicycle handling and skills games for children age nine and under, a press release said. Helmets donated by the Children’s Clinic will be distributed to children who need one at no charge.

In addition, Roane State Community College is giving away a limited number of T-shirts to Kids Rodeo participants, and all children who participate and stay to watch the Pro/1/2/3 criterium race beginning at 1:30 p.m. will be entered to win one of two $50 gift cards donated by R&R Properties.

The Kids Rodeo is a “drop in” event. Parents can bring children anytime between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.. A short “Kids Race” will take place on part of the criterium race course at Horizon Center immediately following the Kids Rodeo. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera to take pictures of children posing on the podium with Velo Classic competitors including 2014 Tennessee State Road Race Champions and 1996 Olympic Bicyclist Kent Bostic. [Read more...]

USRowing in Oak Ridge: Vesper Boat Club victorious again

Vesper Boat Club

The Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia swept the competition, winning the men’s, women’s, and overall team trophies at the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships for the second consecutive year. The championships were in Oak Ridge from Wednesday through Sunday. (Photos courtesy USRowing)


By Ella Odland/USRowing

Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia swept the competition, winning the men’s, women’s and overall team trophies at the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships for the second consecutive year. Vesper won a total of 14 gold, 12 silver and six bronze medals.

The 2014 championships were in Oak Ridge from Wednesday through Sunday. The 2013 championships were in Camden, New Jersey.

“We decided to shrink the numbers of the program this year and try to go for more quality,” said Sean Clarke, Vesper’s program manager. “It made things very exciting at the end for us, but everyone here really did a fine job of living up to Vesper’s tradition of ‘all together.’”

Vesper Boat Club Men

The Vesper Boat Club Men are pictured above.

The Vesper men narrowly beat out New York Athletic Club, winning the men’s trophy by two points.

“We had a solid outing,” said Vesper men’s coach Colin Regan. “We had some good results in a lot of our races and some results we’ll look to improve on going into Canada.” [Read more...]

USRowing: Last day of heats, semis Saturday; more finals Sunday

USRowing Club Nationals

Racing in the USRowing Club National Championships in Oak Ridge on Saturday consisted of heats and semifinals, setting up the second round of finals on Sunday. (Photos courtesy USRowing)


By Luke Reynolds/USRowing

If Saturday’s racing on Melton Lake in Oak Ridge could be summed up in a few words, it would be these: wet, saturated, and exhausted. The athletes—some on their fourth day of racing—rowed through a consistent, steady drizzle, and at times, a heavy downpour.

Such was the case for Sagamore’s junior B quadruple sculls boat coming off the water after its heat.

“This is my second race of the day, so I’m pretty exhausted,” Sagamore junior Patrick Ansalon said. “Today’s race went … not so well. We had a U17 eight, which got fourth, and I was in a composite four that qualified for finals tomorrow.”

Luckily though, the rain let up around 1:45 p.m. during the break and held off for the majority of the afternoon. Around the race course though, conditions remained muddy and saturated from the several hours of continuous rain.

Saturday’s racing consisted of heats and semifinals setting up the second round of finals on Sunday. [Read more...]

USRowing: First final session wraps up in Oak Ridge


Harborside Rowing at the at the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships in Oak Ridge. (Photos courtesy USRowing)

By Ella Odland/USRowing

“‘Olé, olé, olé,’ rang out across Melton Hill Lake Friday morning as crews battled for the title of club national champion in the first bout of finals at the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships.

The “olé” cheer could be heard during every race in which Harborside Rowing competed. Harborside won a gold medal in the lightweight women’s intermediate pair and two silver medals—one in the women’s senior four with coxswain and one in the lightweight women’s intermediate pair.

“We still have a lot to go; we are very excited,” said Harborside coach Hugo Guardo. “We hope the next three days are also good. It was a great day for Harborside.”

As for the unique “olé” cheer, Guardo says that it stems from his Mexican heritage, and it is something the crew has done for a few years now.

“It is one of the first things the kids learn,” Guardo joked. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge hosting 2014 USRowing Club National Championships this week

USRowing Club National Championships

The USRowing Club National Championships started Wednesday and ends Sunday at the Oak Ridge Marina. (Photo courtesy USRowing)


Story courtesy USRowing/Luke Reynolds

Crews from across the country ranging in every age and skill level converged on Oak Ridge this week for the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships, which started Wednesday and ends Sunday on Melton Hill Lake.

Philadelphia’s Vesper Boat Club is the defending overall team points trophy winner. The team brought nearly 200 junior men and women to compete on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J., in 2013 and also took the men’s and women’s trophies to sweep the event.

This year, around 1,500 athletes from 80 different clubs will be participating in the event, which is hosted by Oak Ridge Rowing Association.

“The city is really trying their best to welcome people to Oak Ridge,” said Oak Ridge Rowing Association President Terry Holley. “The businesses are very excited for this regatta and all regattas hosted by USRowing. [Read more...]

ORHS football camp dates moved to Wednesday, Thursday

Joe Gaddis

Joe Gaddis

Oak Ridge Wildcats Coach Joe Gaddis and his staff are hosting a football camp for youth players ages 5-12. The camp was originally scheduled for July 9-11, but because of the rain last week, the camp has been moved to 10 a.m. to noon this Wednesday and Thursday.

Lady Wildcats host summer soccer minicamp for children tonight, Aug. 1

The 2014 Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats varsity soccer team is hosting a summer minicamp for children 4-13 years old on Friday, July 11, and Friday, August 1, from 6-8 p.m. at Pro2Serve field at Oak Ridge High School.

In the camp, campers will receive one-to-one instruction from the players and coaches. Stations will cover fundamentals, shooting drills, and scrimmaging, all on the high school field. The high school is  at 1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike, and the soccer field is located on the Oak Ridge Turnpike side of the high school campus.

The cost for the summer minicamp is $20 per child, $35 for two children, and $45 for three children. All checks should be made out to ORHS Lady Wildcats Soccer Booster Club.

For more information, contact Alison Kuipers at [email protected] or Melinda Buck Brown at (865) 804-2251 or [email protected].

Red Sox sign Steen, a right-handed pitcher from Oak Ridge

BOSTON, Mass.—The Boston Red Sox have signed ninth-round selection Kevin Steen, a right-handed pitcher from Oak Ridge High School.

The Red Sox drafted Steen in June. He had committed to play baseball at the University of Tennessee, and he was the 284th pick in the three-day, 40-round MLB First-Year Player Draft in June.

Steen, who was a senior at ORHS this past year, also played basketball for the Oak Ridge Wildcats and helped lead the team to a state championship game in March for the first time since 1963. Oak Ridge finished as state Class AAA runner-up. [Read more...]

Honors: Gipson selected to Capital One Academic All-America third team

Autumn Gipson Christmas Invitational

Oak Ridge High School graduate and Middle Tennessee State University student Autumn Gipson, right, running next to teammate Jackline Kiprono, left, in the mile at the Christmas Invitational in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (MT Athletic Communications)


First Blue Raider in track and field and cross country

AUSTIN, Texas—Autumn Gipson, a senior runner at Middle Tennessee State University and former all-star athlete at Oak Ridge High School, was selected to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country third team. The College Sport Information Directors of America announced the selection in late June.

Gipson, a key contributor for MTSU in cross country and track and field, is an exercise science major that has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, the university said in a story posted on its website. She was also selected to the Conference USA Women’s Track and Field All-Academic team on May 28 and the C-USA Women’s Cross Country All-Academic team in November 2013.

“Gipson is the perfect combination of putting academics and athletics together,” said Middle Tennessee head coach Dean Hayes. “She is a good student and has done good things athletically, while making the most of her opportunity at Middle Tennessee. What she has done in the classroom and on the track will help her find success in the future.”

The Knoxville native notched two top-10 finishes in cross country, placing as high as eighth on the two-mile course at the Front Runner Invitational, the MTSU story said. During the indoor season, she tallied three individual top-15 finishes and was a member of the distance medley relay, which placed in the top seven in the five meets they competed in. The relay team captured first at the Edward S. Temple Classic and seventh at the C-USA Indoor Championships. [Read more...]

Honors: Tri County Comets softball team wins championship in Chattanooga

Tri County Comets 6u

Front row from left to right are Addison Griffith, Lexi Hammock, Kyleigh Cawood, Braylen Melton, and Kenzie Hardie. Second row from left to right are Emory Thompson, Madison Starkey, Kaylee Hickman, Ryleigh Hargis, Sailor Presley, Hannah McKinney, and Lilly Denham. Pictured in the back row are coaches Amy Cawood, Matt Griffith, Head Coach Kelley Griffith, Chris McKinney, and Joe Presley. (Submitted photo)


The Tri County Comets 6u softball team won the 2014 SEAA Recreational World Series at Warner Park in Chattanooga from June 20-22.

Six teams competed: Tri County Comets, Cleveland Express, Meigs County Heat, Cleveland Heat, Middle Valley Aftershock, and East Brainerd Breeze.

This was a two pool double elimination tournament. On Saturday, the team lost the first pool game but bounced back and won the second. Rain delayed the games until Sunday. Then, the Tri County Comets came out and played five games in the blazing heat and won the championship.

The Comets played a total of seven games with a record of 5-2.

Family, friends remember Brayden Pearson, seek to honor his ‘zest for life’

Bubbles for Brayden Pearson

Family and friends blow bubbles for Brayden Pearson during a Friday night vigil at the Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge.


He wore No. 14 when he played baseball and basketball for the Boys and Girls Club. Only eight years old and going into fourth grade, he hadn’t really decided on a profession yet, but he thought playing major league baseball “would be awesome,” a family friend said.

So it was fitting that family and friends gathered in the outfield of a baseball field at the Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge to remember Brayden Pearson on Friday. They described Brayden as a lively boy with thick, curly hair, and a contagious laugh—”the best laugh ever,” said Tracy Stewart, a member of the close-knit sports family at the club. Brayden loved school, family friend Sara VanLandingham said.

Brayden died Monday, two days after he had trouble while snorkeling near a swimming area at Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge. He had to be pulled from the lake that Saturday afternoon. Family and friends performed CPR, and 911 was called. The Oak Ridge police and fire departments responded and continued CPR, and Brayden was flown by a Lifestar medical helicopter to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.

The family said they wanted to continue Brayden’s zest for life by donating his organs to other children who need them. On Friday, VanLandingham, who has been speaking on behalf of the family, said four organs had been successfully removed for donation. [Read more...]

Fall soccer registration for Anderson, Roane counties starts July 24

AYSO Soccer

The American Youth Soccer Organization will hold signups for the 2014 fall season beginning Thursday, July 24. 
Registration will be held at the Oak Ridge AYSO Office, located at 1998 Oak Ridge Turnpike beside the UGO Grocery Outlet.

Registration dates are:

  • Thursday, July 24, from 5-7 p.m.,
  • Saturday, July 26, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.,
  • Thursday, July 31, from 5-8 p.m., and
  • late registration on Saturday, August 2, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (Add a $10 late fee to this registration day).

Anyone from age 4 to 19 who is interested in playing soccer is encouraged to register. AYSO was founded on the principle that everyone plays. The league is committed to safe, fun, fair competition, a press release said. You do not need soccer experience—just a desire to be part of this sport.

Both returning and new players can speed up registration by going online at, printing two copies of the form, and bringing them with the registration fee to signups at the times listed. Cash or checks only will be accepted. [Read more...]