Wednesday, July 15, 2020
July 15, 2020

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Seeking a little March madness? Pick the winner of best prep photos

High schools: Tim Martinez

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
4 Photos
Out of Bounds. Basketball Bracket Entry 9.
Out of Bounds. Basketball Bracket Entry 9. Photo by Nathan Howard Photo Gallery

So how is everybody doing?

It’s a week into our hiatus from prep sports – all sports for that matter – and we still have another five weeks to go, at least.

For us at The Columbian, this first week was made a little easier by kind words of support from readers.

One message we received from a local coach who noted that “it’s crazy not to have sports right now,” but that the stories we’ve been providing in the sports section is providing “a little ray of sunshine.”

When you think about it, that’s kind of our job 365 days a year.

Sports provide distraction from the worries of everyday life. And right now, we could use a whole lot of distraction. But there aren’t any games being played.

That got me thinking. What are missing most right now in the sports world?

On the national stage, it’s March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournaments, busting brackets.

Right now, we should be through the first two rounds of the NCAAs, which would normally leave us elated over that 12/5 upset we picked, or anguishing that one of our Final Four teams is out.

Locally, a lot of folks are missing high school sports. The wonderful weather last week probably made athletes and coaches miss the fact that they weren’t out competing last week.

So, what if we put those two things together to provide us a little distraction?


I have selected 64 of the best photos The Columbian has shot during the 2019-20 high school sports year and arranged them in a 64-entry bracket.

We invite the reader to vote on the photo they like more, and we’ll advance the winners until 64 have been reduced to one.

16 Photos
The Littlest Knight. Wild Card Bracket Entry 1. Photo by Nathan Howard
Best Prep Pictures Wild Card Bracket Photo Gallery

I’ve divided the images into four categories or brackets – football, basketball, all other sports and wild card, the last of which is a mixture of the images from the first three categories.

Now, we hope that when people vote, they will base their vote on the merit of the image itself and not specifically on the moment, team or athlete that is portrayed.

It’s the best photo, not the best moment.


One other thing – the platform that we are using for this feature is a little different than other votes we’ve held, like athlete of the week or All-Region voting.

When you go to vote, you’ll be asked to enter an email address. This is how we will monitor vote manipulation. We allow one vote, per round, per email address.

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Soccer In The Fog. Other Sports Bracket Entry 13. Photo by Alisha Jucevic
Best Prep Pictures: Other Sports Bracket Photo Gallery

Our other voting tools allow one vote per IP address, which basically limits to one vote per household, or by cookies, which can be cleared from browsers.

With email address, everyone in a household can participate.

After putting in your email, a second page will ask for some information like your zip code or age group that will provide us with some demographic information to get a better idea of our audience.

In an effort to make this as unintrusive as possible, I’ve limited the number of demographic questions. We hope it won’t keep your from participating.

Once you’ve completed the demographic questions once, you won’t be asked to do it again if you want to vote in later rounds or in any other vote The Columbian uses on this platform.

We’ll keep voting open for the first round of matchups through Friday. Then we’ll take a day to reset the matchups for the next round before starting the voting on the round of 32 on Saturday.

16 Photos
Down The Lane. Basketball Bracket Entry 8. Photo by Samuel Wilson
Best Prep Pictures: Basketball Bracket Photo Gallery

This process will continue through the sweet 16, elite 8, final four and finally the final matchup, each allowing for five days of voting.


By doing this, we can provide a month’s worth of distraction, even if it’s just a small one.

And by the time we crown a winner, hopefully things will be a little bit closer to normal.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.

16 Photos
At The Pylon. Football Bracket Entry 14. Photo by Alisha Jucevic
Best Prep Pictures: Football bracket Photo Gallery