I think one of the things I miss the most about not being the local sports editor at the old Tri-Valley Herald is how we were able to pay tribute to our local high school athletes.
I have written about this many times over the last 15 or so years, but when I started at the Herald in the fall of 1985, we had a staff of five sports writers to cover the East Bay Athletic League alone.
That meant we covered every football, basketball and baseball game throughout the season. It was an incredible amount of coverage, with Saturday's edition featuring two wide-open pages in every sports section dedicated to prep sports.
That started shrinking and by the time I took a buyout and retired from the industry, I was the lone prep sports writer for the EBAL as the Herald and Valley Times had merged. Unlike the years before, when we had two local papers in competition for the local high school sports beat.
It was a fun battle as we each tried to put out the most comprehensive coverage. The winner? The local athletes.
But then people behind desks from outside the Tri-Valley decided the local sports didn't matter much. What coverage of the preps was left to regional coverage.
After I left the paper, I have been so lucky to have the Pleasanton Weekly offer me a weekly column to talk about Pleasanton sports. Two years ago, the powers that be brought the Tri-Valley Preps Playbook to me, allowing me to write about the entire EBAL again.
Weekly publisher Gina Channell Wilcox and editorial director Jeremy Walsh get the importance of local sports and have given me the forum to reach out.
It has been a great two years getting to interact with athletes and coaches from across the league again. But one thing was still missing initially from the prep scene.
At the end of the year at the Herald we had our prep sports banquet, honoring all of our Athletes of the Week. We would end up with 600 to 700 people at a venue, with each Athlete of the Week getting a plaque for their efforts. We also honored athletes of the year for each season, as well as picked a Coach of the Year.
When the Herald went down, so did the banquet.
But out of the ashes rose a phoenix.
Local Tri-Valley Community Television always covered our banquet and aired it on their channel. With no banquet in the Valley each year, TV30 stepped up and launched its own banquet to honor local athletes.
Recently TV30 hosted their 12th annual Outstanding High School Athletic Awards program. The athletes are feted on the show "Tri-Valley Sports Final" with personalities Ian Bartholomew and Tim Sbranti. The show airs weekly.
Participants in the program include student-athletes, the mayors of the Tri-Valley cities, as well as the superintendents from Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin school districts.
In addition to the 37 athletes honored, Foothill volleyball coach Dusty Collins was selected as the Coach of the Year.
The show will air throughout the summer on TV30 but is also available on demand at www.tv30.org.
The athletes honored included Chris Lawson (Foothill football), Elijah Hodgers (Livermore football), Adam Moore (Dublin football), Jake Goldsworthy (Amador Valley football), Tyler Trudeau (Livermore football), Erin Brown (Amador water polo), Evelyn McLaughlin (Amador water polo), Brady Steadman (Dublin football), Dominic Johnson (Livermore football), Katie Salonga (Foothill volleyball), Paige Bennett (Foothill volleyball), Roland Ruckmann-Barnes (Granada cross-country), Montana Parkinson-Lubold (Amador tennis) and Brady Nassar (Amador football).
Also receiving awards were Charlotte Kelly (Amador volleyball), Mehki Thomas (Dublin basketball), Sam Riter (Amador volleyball), Rachel Grier (Dublin volleyball), Courtney Anderson Jr. (Dublin basketball), Andrew McKeever (Granada basketball), Tyler Harris (Granada basketball), Donovan Cooks (Dublin basketball), Lauren Nguyen (Granada wrestling), Maxwell Wise (Foothill wrestling), Jayson Victoria (Granada wrestling) and Oliver de la Torre (Amador baseball).
Rounding out the list were Joshua Morano (Granada baseball), Alexander Franco (Dublin track and field), Delaney Aumua (Granada softball), Alexa Pletschette (Granada basketball), Alex Mello (Granada softball), Landen Meonske (Foothill volleyball), Carston Pearson (Dublin baseball), Nate Clinton (Amador volleyball), Kush Arora (Amador golf), Brandon Knight (Foothill golf) and Kevin Zhu (Dublin volleyball).
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email email@example.com.