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Saturday, March 2, 2024
March 2, 2024

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Tim Martinez: One idea leads to a celebration

High school sports

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:

Sometimes, one small idea can lead to another idea, which eventually leads to something really cool, especially when you work as part of a good team.

That’s kind of what happen at The Columbian in the past year.

During the fall of 2022, when early press deadlines prevented The Columbian from covering Friday night high school football in print in the same way we had been for years, we introduced a special e-edition page for our prep football coverage in our Saturday edition.

After using the e-edition in this fashion, we looked for other opportunities for the format. That led to the creation of special commemorative e-pages for our annual All-Region teams throughout year — a digital bonus to our coverage in print and online.

Then we thought that these digital e-pages would make for a nice keepsake for the honorees. So we printed out pages of these e-pages and delivered them to area schools so that each honoree could have a memento of their selection.

I wrote about my experience of delivering these pages in a column last December. From that column, discussions began about ways we could better honor our outstanding high school athletes.

After a year of talk and planning, I am pleased to announced that at the end of the 2023-24 school year, The Columbian will host an award ceremony where we will honor our All-Region athletes of the year on a single night on June 5, 2024. More details of that special night will be rolled out in the coming months, but it will serve as an exciting cap to the athletic school year.

The process to that special night begins this week, as The Columbian will unveil its All-Region athletes of the year and team in the fall sports of girls cross county (Wednesday’s edition), boys cross country (Thursday’s edition) and girls swimming (Friday’s edition).

The unveiling will continue next week with slowpitch softball (Dec. 6), volleyball (Dec. 7), girls soccer (Dec. 8) and football (Dec. 9).

Like we did last year, everyone of these stories of the All-Region player/athlete of the year in these sports will be accompanied with a list of the All-Region team in the print edition of The Columbian. With the digital e-edition of The Columbian, a special e-page of each team will be included.

And as we did last year, when all of the fall All-Region stories have been published, we will print out these special e-pages and deliver them to the schools on the week of Dec. 11-15, so that they may be passed onto each honoree. These pages will also include an invitation with more information about our year-end celebration.

The process will repeat itself at the end of the winter and spring seasons.

When it’s all said and done, we will be spotlighting 236 athletes in 23 WIAA-sanctioned varsity sports — something you’ll find is very unique to The Columbian. While other outlets have their own all-area teams, you will be hard pressed to find someone who honors this many athletes in this many sports.

And that doesn’t even include our multi-sport athletes of the year, which this year will be announced at our end-of-the-year celebration.

The 2023-24 season is shaping up to be as exciting as any since The Columbian began its All-Region series in 2001. So let the celebration begin.

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Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at tim.martinez@columbian.com, 360-735-4538 or follow @360TMart on Instagram and X (Twitter).

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