This time of year, whenever we send a reporter out to cover event, someone in the office inevitably says “Bring home a loser.”
Here’s the thing about sports journalists. We’re old and cynical, even the young ones.
It’s not that we don’t want to see our locals to succeed. It’s more about load management.
Take last Saturday for example.
We sent four staffers out to cover five events, with Meg Wochnick pulling double duty.
Then we hired four more contributing reporters, plus two photographers, to cover nine different events across the state. And that doesn’t count the three events we covered on Friday.
And yet, after I tweeted out all the events we were covering on Saturday, the first response we got was “But what about (an event we weren’t covering)?”
As much as we’d like, we can’t be everywhere. We aren’t Santa Claus, although we do know when you’re sleeping. It’s generally the time we are working the hardest.
We like it when our local teams win. Wins create news, and we like news.
We just want a manageable amount of it.
So when the Columbia River girls soccer team beat Liberty on Saturday afternoon, ensuring we’d be sending a reporter to the 2A state final weekend in Shorecrest, I thought we might as well have Ridgefield join the Chieftains. Heck, add Hockinson, too. Make it a party.
It would also ensure we’d have a local team playing for a state championship on Saturday. We like certainty. It makes it easier to plan.
And that’s exactly what happened. Joshua Hart, our resident soccer expert, will have two games to cover Friday at Shoreline Stadium — Ridgefield vs. Hockinson at 6 p.m., followed by Columbia River vs. Selah at 8 p.m.
Three local teams advanced to the 4A and 3A state volleyball tournaments in Yakima — Skyview and Camas in 4A and Kelso in 3A.
Since we expanded our coverage area this fall to include Cowlitz County, we asked coaches there to help us by reporting their results to us.
Some did. Some didn’t.
One who did was Kelso volleyball coach Michelle Mury. So we’ll send a shout out to the Hilander volleyball team on ending a long state tournament drought by qualifying sixth at the 3A bi-district tournament.
“It has been nearly 20 years since volleyball has made it this far,” Mury said. “The girls have a purpose beyond themselves and it is magic. Our fans this season have made a huge impact. The environment was electric and everyone believed.”
Kelso will open the 3A state tournament Friday at the Yakima SunDome with an 8 a.m. match against Eastside Catholic.
In the 4A tournament in Yakima, Camas opens against Lake Stevens at 11:45 a.m. Skyview faces Graham-Kapowsin at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
If you thought 20 years was a long drought, how about 45 years? That’s the last time Washougal won a game in the football state playoffs.
But the Panthers got that win by rallying to beat Clarkston 14-13 on Saturday. Washougal will hit the road against in the 2A quarterfinals when the Panthers face Lynden at 2 p.m. Saturday at Civic Stadium in Bellingham.
Camas and Hockinson will play quarterfinal football games closer to home on Saturday.
In the 4A playoffs, Camas hosts Puyallup at 2 p.m. at Doc Harris Stadium. In 2A, Hockinson meets Lakewood at 4 p.m. at District Stadium in Battle Ground.
So, once again, we’ll have all the elves working hard this weekend.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.