I’m fortunate in my job to be able to watch many of the Yakima Valley’s best athletes compete at high levels in their respective sports.
Sometimes while admiring that talent, I can’t help but wonder how I might stack up. After all, I managed to earn varsity letters in four different sports at a 5A school in Kansas, where I was reasonably close to qualifying for state in cross country, soccer and tennis.
I’d like to think over the last 13 years I’ve managed to stay active enough to avoid losing too much of those skills, even after a knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my right knee three years ago. With so much of the summer still ahead of us before the fall season begins, it seems like the ideal time to find out just how delusional I am.
That’s why I’m challenging some of the best Yakima Valley high schoolers from various sports to competitions, which will be captured on video and put on our website. It’s a chance to have some fun, share more with you about these incredibly talented teenagers, and hopefully not get embarrassed too badly.
To make things a little more interesting in some cases, I’ll be asking for my opponents to give me an advantage. For instance, in my first video, I made Selah’s Cooper Vick swim the butterfly while I got to swim the freestyle in a 50-yard race.
Here are a few of the other competitions I’ll be trying to “win” this summer:
• Running a 1,600-meter race against Eisenhower track/cross country’s Jonas Price while trying not to get lapped.
• Batting vs. West Valley softball's Morgan Epperson.
• Batting vs. East Valley baseball's Jared Sires or Jacob Changala.
• Covering Zillah all-conference receiver Sebastian Godina with Claysen Delp playing quarterback.
• A penalty kick shootout vs. La Salle's Gillian Martin, with Hayley Stohr playing goalkeeper
• High jumping vs. Prosser’s Haden Hicks
In addition, you’ll hear more about what these standouts and others have already accomplished in their impressive careers. I might even ask them to teach me — and by extension you, the viewers — how to do things like the Fosbury Flop or running the perfect slant route.
Hopefully you’ll be convinced to start following these athletes next season, if you’re not doing so already. Oh, and if you’re a high school athlete who would like to challenge me, just send me an email or reach out on Twitter. My DMs are open.