The fans have spoken, and we've listened.
And now we're giving them another opportunity to voice their thoughts.
This week, The Columbian will begin its fall series of All-Region athletes of the year and teams, honoring the best athletes in Clark County and beyond.
As we have done for years, The Columbian staff will compile these teams based on accomplishments of the athletes during the entire season and with some input from area coaches.
But for one of these All-Region teams, we're adding a wrinkle this fall.
First, let's go back to last January.
At the start of the year, we added a new wrinkle to our weekly athletes of the week selections, by allowing fans to vote on a single athlete of the week for all sports.
These votes were wildly popular with fans, drawing several hundred votes each week.
In the fall, we added a football player-of-the-week vote. This weekly vote drew more than 1,000 votes in some weeks.
So we thought about how we could add fan input into our annual All-Region selection.
Beginning Monday and running through Friday, fans can go www.360preps.com and cast their votes for the players they believe are most deserving in football this season.
Now before you nay-sayers jump on your phone to call me or on your computers to send me an email or make a comment below to tell me about how outrageous it is that we would take our annual All-Region honor and turn it into a popularity contest, hang on a minute.
The fan vote will be only one component of our All-Region football selections process.
The Columbian staff, led by the reporter Paul Valencia, will select players we feel are most deserving of an All-Region honor. The fans will have their vote. And we're also asking area coaches to complete their All-Region survey.
Coaches, check your email for a link to that online vote. If you don't have that email, check with your athletic directors, or you can feel free to contact me.
The players listed on the online ballots were drawn from the all-league teams submitted by the coaches in each league.
The final All-Region team will be created from the selections of The Columbian staff, fans and coaches.
As for our All-Region football player of the year, The Columbian staff will continue to make that selection alone. We feel it's important that we own that piece of our All-Region team, plus there are some logistical issues that also factor into that decision.
We're starting this process with football only, as football is the most popular sport in high school athletics.
If the process goes well, and if we can iron out any potential glitches that we may arise, then we'll repeat the process in the winter season with our basketball All-Region teams. If that goes well, we'll look to extend the process to more teams in the spring and beyond.
So, go to www.360preps.com and let your voice be heard, and help us celebrate the best in high school football in the region this fall.
Athlete of the week
Speaking of fan votes, our first athlete-of-the-week vote for the winter sports season will begin Monday.
Go to our prep sports blog, which can be found at www.360preps.com, for this week's nominees.
Then, go to our prep sports Facebook page at www.facebook.com/360preps to vote on the outstanding athlete of the week. Voting will conclude at 8 p.m. Thursday.