Micah Rice: Columbian aims to be go-to place for preps

Commentary: Micah Rice

By Micah Rice, Columbian sports editor



Happy New Year!

What? Wrong month?

All apologies, because this is the time of year we flip the calendar in the Columbian sports department.

After a catnap during the dog days of summer, pads crunching and whistles blowing always jolt us awake.

High school football practice began last week. If I learned one thing in my first year as Columbian sports editor, it’s that we aren’t the only ones excited.

Columbian readers make their voices heard in many ways — from emails to phone calls to readership totals on Columbian.com.

Here’s what you’ve told us:

You dig the Portland Trail Blazers, especially when they’re winning playoff games in dramatic fashion.

That NFL team up in Seattle? The most rabid fan base in the Northwest includes many Clark County residents.

You follow outdoors news in any season and any weather.

But nothing measures up to your interest in local sports, particularly high school varsity athletics.

That’s not surprising. Dozens of media outlets cover professional and major college teams in the Northwest.

But The Columbian is the best place to follow athletes from your own neighborhood, town or city.

We’re honored that you come to us for this. And it’s my top priority to live up to your expectation that The Columbian be the go-to place for Clark County sports news.

Today marks a beginning, of sorts. Nine months of high school sports coverage starts with prep sports reporter Paul Valencia’s look at how reclassification has changed the face of local high school leagues. Monday, we will begin introducing you to each high school football team in the county.

As the year goes on, you’ll see more photos of your hometown varsity athletes in action. We’ll have reporters at more contests. We hope to be at every football game in the county.

We’ll offer more ways for high school fans to interact. Our Football Friday live chat and athlete of the week voting will be joined by a reader photo of the week. We’re also working with local school districts to live-stream more games on Columbian.com.

Big-time sports offer plenty of excitement, emotion and thrills. But there’s no shortage of drama in our own backyard.

Those dazed looks of disbelief on the Columbia River football field after an ending so improbable it went national? Those were real.

The tears and shock after Camas’ bid for a perfect football season ended on the last play? Those were real.

The gasps of amazement upon seeing Alexa Efraimson break a national high school record in the 1,600 meters. Those were real.

That genuine drama, excitement and emotion were all given to us in the past year by Clark County high school athletes.

What will the next year bring? Read The Columbian to find out.