Tomorrow morning will be the first Sunday in months where I’m not making that phone call to Cheney boy’s tennis head coach Jesse Erickson, nor will I be going through the depths of the NW Preps website to find the score of the Blackhawks’ baseball game.
Another year of Cheney spring sports is done with all of the teams having their big moments. In the sports that I don’t cover, the girls’ softball team their first Great Northern League regular season title and district championship. The girls’ track team also claimed a district title.
On my end, the baseball team had some ups and downs in the last part of the regular season. They managed to reach the district title game but fell to West Valley. After winning the regional qualifier against Ellensburg – the team that bounced them out of regionals – they advanced to the state tournament where they lost of the Fife Trojans.
Cheney had several key players this year, especially in the bullpen. Connor Pratt – who made All-GNL first team – and Kyle Jones – who made the second team – were just lights out on the mound. Both guys are graduating this year and Cheney’s going to have to really work on figuring out who will fill those two spots.
The boys’ and girls’ golf teams had some big moments. Junior sensation Cheyenne Marchand finished in the top 3 of several tournaments, including winning the GNL tourney at Fairways golf course. She finished 19th out of 40 at this year’s state tournament. Besides Marchand, the girls’ team have a fresh crop of players moving up next year.
Freshman Tyler Koohns stood out on the boys’ golf team, finishing in the top 5 throughout the season. He made his first trip to state but didn’t advance to the second round. Not bad for a freshman. Like the girls’ team, the boys have several players stepping up next year.
Perhaps the two strongest teams – this is just my opinion – this season were both of the tennis teams.
The girls’ team finished the regular season in second place – a vast improvement from last year, as well as tied for second at districts. Once again Katelynn Smedley shined in the No. 1 singles spot. She took second at districts and made it to state for the second year in a row.
The girls’ team also had a dark horse named Bridget Calvert, who went undefeated for the entire regular season. Calvert finished third at districts and would have made it to regionals had she not faced Smedley in the second-place match. The girls’ team loses seven varsity players – including Smedley to graduation – but if more competitors like Calvert step up next year, the Hawks will have another strong year.
Meanwhile the boy’s team won their first regular season championship – the first of Erickson’s career – and only lost one match. Ryan Smedley – Katelynn Smedley’s brother – shined in his first year at singles, finishing second at districts and joining his sister at state.
The boys’ lose three seniors to graduation but they should have a strong core group next year.
Covering spring sports this year was a lot of fun, not only because of their success – I do try to be objective when it comes to writing about teams but it’s not fun to write that your teams lost – but also I feel like I’ve grown as a writer and my stories are leaps and bounds than my first foray into Cheney High athletics.
When I first started out my stories were basic recaps and I didn’t quite figure how to make them exciting while keeping the necessary details. At the time, my mindset was “Cheney is just a job, I want to focus on my ‘MMA journalism’ career.”
Since then I’ve realized that there is more to life than covering MMA – shocking isn’t it? – and if I’m going to be at the Free Press, I need to put in more time and effort if I want to succeed. I’ve also gotten to know the players and coaches personally. While it’s nice that fighters I’ve written about have retweeted my stories and thanked me – and I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing – but nothing beats hearing a coach over the phone, thanking you for covering their team. Nothing can top players getting excited to see you at their games.
Spring sports is done but I’ve got summer baseball, as well as fall and winter sports to keep me occupied. Time also seems to fly quickly and I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m making those Sunday morning calls to coach Erickson.