Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 27, 2014

Talk with D-Rok

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | Mar 13, 2014
Photo by: Journal file photo Derek Helling

Today makes two months that I have been sports editor of The Washington Evening Journal. In that short time, I have enjoyed the second half of a winter sports season and am preparing for a full spring sports season.
My first Washington boys’ basketball game was an epic fourth-quarter comeback. One of the other boys’ basketball teams that I have the privilege of covering, the Keota Eagles, will be playing for third place in the Class 1A state tournament the day after this article hits the press. The cohesion and unity of the IMS boys’ team stuck out to me as I watched them play.
In girls’ basketball I witnessed many stellar performances as well. The ferocity of the defense played by Washington’s Grace Redlinger was impressive. The ability to read a defense and make the correct pass of Columbus Junction senior Martha Anaya was just as remarkable as the neon headband and shoes she wears. Kelsey Hora of Highland was entertaining to watch as she would throw the ball up and it would somehow inexplicably find its way to the bottom of the net. I can’t forget to list IMS’ Olivia Yutzy surpassing 1,000 career points.
On the wrestling mat, I couldn’t have written enough about the season that the Demons had. Winning a conference championship and sending eight wrestlers to the state tournament should be a reason for pride for the entire community. Mid-Prairie’s Phirom Peterschmidt and WACO’s Cey Saeugling provided me with quality wrestling to watch as well. No review of this past wrestling season would be complete without mentioning Highland freshman Drew West’s run to the state title. The future looks bright for both of the West twins.
There are a large number of stories from just the first two months on the job that are worth a mention in this column, but I don’t have the space and some of my readers don’t have the attention span for that.
I want to thank the student-athletes, coaches, administrators and parents that have put up with my learning on the job. I appreciate every compliment and critique that I have received. Now if the weather will cooperate, we can move on to the spring season.
I’m thrilled about getting out on the greens and hearing the sound of clubs impacting balls, watching the ball sail through the air, disappearing into the clouds then suddenly re-appearing on the green. The visual treat of deep green grass set against the blue sky and the pristinely white ball is a joy to photograph.
The athleticism of those students who play soccer and their endurance is something I look forward to waxing poetic about. The expressions on the faces of the players as they battle each other to get position is always the stuff that makes for a good picture.
Track and field is as dynamic a sport to cover as it gets. One of its most interesting facets is that the students are simultaneously not only competing against each other, but against themselves as well, constantly trying to push their physical limits. I love to capture the flying dirt of the long jump and the contortion of the bodies of the high-jumpers on “film.”
The point of my ramblings is that I’m looking forward to my first full season on the job. If the first two months are any indication of what the spring will bring, then I’m excited to personally witness then share the stories with you.

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