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Year 1 in the books, big things await in year 2

Almost a year ago, I was packing up my life in Pittsburgh, putting it into the back of a U-Haul and moving about an hour and a half to the northwest here in Youngstown.

I was going from being a sports reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to heading my own sports department here at the Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator. Talk about a big change, but it was one I was ready for and one I always envisioned for myself.

Growing up, I wanted to be the next Chris Berman or Stuart Scott in front of the camera on ESPN, but as I got older, I realized how important local journalism was for places like the Mahoning Valley. Growing up, I loved seeing my name or photo in the paper, and that was the feeling that I wanted to pass on to high school students throughout my journalism career.

That being said, this past year has been a blur as my staff and I have tried to accomplish that goal as much as possible.

When I first started here, the Warren JFK baseball team was just coming off its state championship win, the Scrappers were in the middle of the first season of the MLB Draft League, and I was settling in for my first season of high school football here in the Valley.

This first year of high school athletics turned out to be one to remember.

We got to see the Ursuline football team and the Crestview boys soccer team make runs to the state championship games in the fall, while Maplewood’s Caleigh Richards brought back her second-straight cross country title.

The winter was just as exciting as we saw multiple basketball teams make a run to the regional tournament, and I personally got to see two wrestlers, South Range’s Ray Cmil and Chalker’s Landen Duncan, earn their shots at glory as both were on the cusp of winning a state championship in Columbus. What an experience that was. The Raiders also brought home a team wrestling title this year, which was fun to see.

Saturday signified the end of the spring sports season. None of our baseball or softball teams made it to Akron, but we had several teams bring home district titles this season, which is an accomplishment in itself.

Let’s also not forget about our track and field state champions. Richards, Canfield’s Nick Plant, McDonald’s Megan Hipple and the 4×100 relay team from Valley Christian made up of RaQuan Bell, Phillip Spradley, Kwane Austin and Marquez Gibbs all brought home state titles from Ohio State.

It was a fun first year here in the Mahoning Valley, but it also turned out to be a year of growth for us here at the Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator sports department.

Outside of sports reporter Brian Yauger, we were all new to the area. That meant catching up on things the previous staff used to do, understanding weekly things they used to run and annual events they used to cover, while also putting our own spin on it. So we thank you for being patient with us as we figured out what you, our readers, wanted.

With that first year under our belt, I promise you that the best of our coverage is ahead of us and we have big plans for the fall of 2022 and beyond.

We have already begun plans for our annual football preview booklet that will come out in August and we are also brainstorming about how we can improve our coverage even more this year.

Year 1 at the Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator was a fun one, but Year 2 is going to be even better. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with us.

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