One year ago at this time I was exhausted after putting together a fall sports preview section that spread across five pages in the weekly newspaper.
A month into being a professional journalist and covering Cottage Grove, Creswell, Pleasant Hill, Springfield, and Thurston for the first time, five pages was a big challenge – and accomplishment.
Twelve months later, with the help of an incredible team here, we’ve released a 32-page special section previewing all of the fall sports for our five coverage schools – every boys and girls team.
First off, thanks must be made to the incredible team around me.
I’m no dummy, so I’ll start with my boss Noel Nash, the owner of The Chronicle. Having a boss who is just as passionate about high school sports coverage is truly incredible, and none of this happens without him being as passionate as he is.
Our sales director Rachael Landi and her team of interns helped sell business owners on our goal, allowing us to get as much content as our hearts desired into the section. The interns also helped with capsules and social media campaigns.
If you haven’t seen the videos created by Garrett Hyink and Spencer Erspamer, see them on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Ron Hartman and Steve Mims helped immensely on the storytelling side. In all, there are 10 stories in this section, and they each contributed great stories.
A huge, huge thanks to our award-winning photographer Bob Williams. Thanks must also go to all of the coaches, athletes, athletic directors, and athletic administrators who helped with the content. Putting together a special section as robust as this is a team effort, and I’m incredibly grateful for the team that helped put this together.
The final thanks goes to you, our readers. We heard from so many people throughout last year about how they missed high school sports coverage in the area, and how thankful they were for our coverage.
This special section will serve as a guide all season – especially the super-helpful “Where They Play” pages. Whether you have a family member or friend on a team, are an alumni of the school, or are just a fan, this special section will be relevant and hopefully enjoyable for all of you.
Speaking of relevant content, it’s important to know that this special section is only the beginning. Last year we were doing more high school sports coverage than most other papers in the state. This year, we’re expanding on that coverage.
The High School Sports Zone is an important project for me, not just because it’s my job. High school sports matter for a lot of people, and we promise to bring you as much hyper-local sports coverage as we can this year.
Reporting by the numbers
“The Chronicle” is committed to covering the thousands of student-athletes, coaches, fans, volunteers, boosters, and administrators at our five local high schools. Pierre Weil makes that happen. A quick look at his stats from 2022-23:
■ 71 stories on high school sports
■ 16 different boys and girls sports covered
■ 5 different varsity high school athletic programs
■ 2 team state championships (Springfield girls basketball, Thurston baseball)
■ 56 all-state performers