Paul Valencia (Columbian Staff)

Comment history


Thank you, Alex, for your kind words. And thanks for noticing my style. For the most part, I choose to write about the guy who forced the fumble or recovered the fumble instead of the guy who fumbled. Obviously, there are times when I must describe in detail some of the negative parts of a game. But for the most part, I do try to focus on how a team won instead of how the other team lost.

I never really know if anyone catches that difference, but now I know at least one reader has. You are right, high school athletes are not professional athletes, and they should not be covered like professional athletes.

Thanks again,

Paul Valencia

September 27, 2010 at 6:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Basketball players on the move

Actually, ccallahan, we will explain the WIAA rules that allow for such possibilities ... if it pertains to any athletes who have moved and then play for different schools. However, in my blog item, I only wrote that these athletes have either moved or are enrolled at different schools. Until they actually show up for practice during the season, or until a school says they are ineligible, there is no more to the story. I have spoken with the athletic coordinators from the schools you are referring to in your post. All involve understand the perception. If/when the athletes you are talking about show up for practice in season, I will get confirmation from administrators that those athletes are eligible and I will report on the rules that allow for their eligibility. If they are not eligible, that will be a story, as well. ...

Hardly being a cheerleader here. Just posting news that some big names have made changes. Any athlete who does move understands that there will always be people who will accuse them of cheating. Some might be. Most are not.

The situation you are speaking of, ccallahan, is worthy of an explanation. And one will be made in basketball season, if the athletes you are referring to actually play for those teams. A lot can change between now and the first day of practice in November.

September 25, 2010 at 2:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Skyview receivers catching on

Got it, PadmaRani. Thanks for your help!

September 1, 2010 at 10:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Class 1A Trico League Spring All-League Teams

Hello nwsportsvixen,

The official all-league softball list provided to The Columbian by a coach in the Trico League had several miscues with names. The person here who put the list together for the paper, and online, did not know the spellings were off. I noticed Kiley Monson as soon as I saw the paper, then saw a few others from La Center softball, as well. Those have been fixed.

June 4, 2010 at 6:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

No shortage of cover stories

Good question, Kyle. After the WIAA added a 4A classification in 1997, the previous 3A champions were reclassified as 4A champions, and the 2A became the 3A. So when we look back on the record book, Columbia River, a winner of the 3A tournament in 1989, is now listed as winning the 4A tournament in 1989, even though there was no such thing at the time.

June 2, 2010 at 4:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

No shortage of cover stories

This story has been changed since it was originally published. It was 1989 when two Clark County baseball teams (Class 4A and 3A) won state championships on the same day, and, obviously, they did not face each other in the championship game. Score that one an E-W (Error, writer).

June 2, 2010 at 10:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coach’s last lesson keeps team moving forward

Thanks for the comments.

I heard from several people who wanted to remain anonymous. I heard things such as "poison" and "bullying" yet rarely got specifics. The specific allegations that were forwarded to me were not confirmed by the coach nor anyone associated with the football program or the school.

A coach resigned. He was not fired. And when I spoke to Josh Gibson, he would only confirm that, and he wished his former players well. That story ran April 21st.

I sensed there was something more going on here, but even after a lot of pressing by me, Gibson would not say anything negative about anyone at Washougal. I've got nothing to go on without a complaint. If this were a criminal situation, for example, there would be no "victim" here because the "victim" refused to press charges. (Just an example. Not saying there was any victimization.)

The more I hear about what might have happened at Washougal, the more I believe that Ryan Erdwins, Jarrett Gregory, and Colton Sullivan are the mature and courageous people involved in this story. They took the time to contact me, to set up a meeting, to tell their story — with their names attached to the story. I was so impressed by those three that I did want to tell their story in my column.

Their story was simply this: They love Coach Gibson. They still listen to him. And he told them to fight for themselves, their football program, but not for him. They did provide some specific allegations, but they asked that those be "off the record." I honor such requests.

Coach Gibson is not demanding any action. Nobody else associated with Gibson or the football program, on the record, is demanding any action — not through The Columbian, at least.

It could make for an interesting story if one or two people with official ties to Washougal High School would want to go on record. Or, if the coach would want to go on the record. Or "if there is anything there ... there."

A columnist's job is to get people to think, maybe even talk. Perhaps this column will lead to someone wanting to go on the record. Until then, I am not going to publish specific allegations without a source or two. That would be irresponsible.

Instead, for this column, I chose to highlight three young individuals. They told their story, knowing their names would be in the column, knowing that some at their own school would not be happy about it.

That took guts.

April 28, 2010 at 8:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Team effort leads Prairie girls to win at state

Thanks elisof.

Also just ran into Kat at the state tournament. She was real nice about letting me know I made that mistake.

I just misread the name on the program. My apologies, and I will get a correction online in a minute.

Thanks, elisof and Kat Vela, for bringing this to my attention.

March 11, 2010 at 3:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Caught in coaches’ crossfire

Thanks again for all the comments.

It is clear that some people think that Evergreen was up to no good and it was fine that the other coaches punished the athletes through the all-league voting. That's the great thing about having an opinion, and I respect yours.

Some have also asked why this was a story. I have always promised my readers transparency. I will explain how we come up with our story ideas or why I wrote what I wrote, for any story. I did try to answer the question on the news value of this particular piece on the high school sports blog on Friday with my entry titled: Sports nerd defends his stance.

In brief, this was a story because it was most likely unprecedented. What happened to Justine Joudrey was unique. For more of an explanation, go to and find the "sports nerd" blog entry from Friday.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

March 6, 2010 at 5:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Caught in coaches’ crossfire

Thanks for all of those who have taken time to comment.

NWSmiles addressed me directly, and does bring up an interesting question regarding the ethics of detailing the family's financial situation.

Truth is, I never would have written this story without the family's cooperation. As noted in the story, the family was worried that their daughter was punished because some thought she was "recruited." The family has known all along why they moved. The parents did not think it was necessary to explain their situation. But when it became clear to them that so many people thought Justine was recruited, and she was "punished" for it, they decided to go public.

The Columbian learned of the slight from outraged fans of other basketball programs. We received e-mails and calls wondering what happened with Evergreen in the voting. No one from Evergreen contacted us about this story. After receiving those e-mails and calls, I contacted Justine's mother. I left it up to the family to go on the record with me. She and her husband agreed to go public then.

The leading scorer in the region has never missed out on being a first-team selection for her league in my decade at The Columbian. Until now. Thought that was worth looking into.

Thanks for reading.

March 3, 2010 at 8:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )