Paul Valencia: So far, prep fall sports season has been fun

Commentary: Paul Valencia

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



Hope you are having fun with the new high school sports year. Here are a few things I think look like a lot of fun.

• Air Hyde at Prairie High School.

The Falcons are 1-2 this football season, with one lopsided victory, one close loss, and another loss that saw them down big early then make mini-threat with a comeback.

Sure the Falcons would love to have two or three wins by now, but it must be fun lining up in that offense. Quarterback Colin Seitz threw four more touchdown passes Friday night against Mountain View, giving him 13 in three games. Coach Terry Hyde told me two years ago that he had a quarterback and a set of receivers who were special.

No kidding.

Seitz is 71 of 110 for 941 yards and his 13 TDs. With numbers like that, you can bet that Ansel Cecil and Jesse Zalk are among the receiving leaders.


Nos. 1 and 2 in the region — Cecil with 311 yards and seven TD receptions, Zalk with 245 yards and two scores.

Whether it means that Prairie can crack the top three and make the playoffs this year remains to be seen. But it’s a guarantee they won’t be boring.

• Air Kreunen at Union High School.

OK, we don’t associate “Air” nicknames with volleyball programs, but have you seen the verticals of our best volleyball players? That’s air in my book.

Coach Josh Kreunen did not predict a league championship or anything, but he did say that this year’s squad was set up to challenge mighty Skyview. So far, the edge is with the Titans, who handed Skyview its first league loss since 2006.

The match ended in three, but the games were all close.

The two teams meet again two more times, so a lot can happen between now and then.

But it’s got to be fun to be Union volleyball right now.

• There was another quality win for a program over a perennial winner last week, too. Prairie soccer topped Camas 2-1. It’s early, but Prairie and Kelso topped the 3A Greater St. Helens League standings after the first two matches. Not saying traditional powers Camas and Columbia River will not be back on top by the end of the season, but it’s fun for sports fans to see a little something different at the top from time to time.

• Want more fun? Go to a cross country race.

OK, so running might not seem fun to you. And watching the pain on the faces of the runners might not be anyone’s definition of fun. But what is fun is the fans. (Sure, if it’s just a dual, maybe there aren’t a lot of fans out there.) But the ones are who there really get into it. And unlike most team sports, the fans are supporting everyone. That’s a fun change from the win-or-else attitude in our society.

Perhaps the fans know how difficult it is to race such long distances that they will cheer for the fastest, regardless of the school he or she represents, and they will cheer for the slowest. Crossing the finish line is a big deal, no matter the placing.

• • •

Even though I became famous on Sunday, I’ll still hang around with you little people.

You all saw me on twitter, right? On’s national twitter feed, right?

Oh, you missed that?

OK, so maybe I’m not famous, but I did have a question for former NFL official Mike Pereira, who now works for Fox Sports and answers inquiries from fans. And like magic, I tweeted something his way, and he used my question on the national forum.

I write this not to remind you that I have a lot of pull with people (wink, wink), but rather to say that you, too, can get your questions answered regarding officiating in Southwest Washington.

You won’t become as well known as I did Sunday, but almost all questions will be answered, perhaps a day or two later. Just go to the to ask your question to the Evergreen Football Officials Association. The association will not address judgment calls, but will respond to questions regarding rules and interpretations.

For fans just wanting to understand the rules a little better, this is a great resource.

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at

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