2022 All-Area Athletes & Teams

All-Area Athletes and Teams

All-Area Athletes & Teams

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Page 4 www.yoursun.com By PATRICK OBLEY SPORTS EDITOR On 22 occasions this school year, Vinnie Portell and myself were tasked with a great responsibility. That task led to numer- ous phone calls and texts. I can't speak for Vinnie's whereabouts on those occasions, but I do know at my end we talked while I was in my car, on an island in Charlotte Harbor, on my bike, on a boat, in a movie theater, catching a snake, in an emer- gency room, in a Publix parking lot, on a spring training back field with Stu Sternberg staring at me, and so on and so forth. None of those calls happened while either of us were in the oce (if you cover prep sports and you're in an oce, you're doing it wrong). Ultimately, those phone calls and texts resulted in Sun Preps All-Area first and second teams in 22 sports. That's 383 names, 383 delib- erations. We needed to make sure we covered everything. We needed air-tight arguments. At times, we exasperated each other. At other times, we saved each other, because the mind can turn to salad while trying to keep everything straight. Many of those 383 showed up Tuesday at CoolToday Park, also known as Soggy Bottom Hollow, for our second Sun Preps All-Area Awards presentation. We're 0-for-2 with Ma Nature, but I hope we're batting 1.000 on entertainment value. If I might brag a bit, I'm particularly proud of the work Vinnie and I did this school year. It felt as if we were everywhere, all the time. O days were few. If you haven't figured it out by now, then I'll fill you in: Vinnie is a commu- nity treasure. His institutional knowledge grows by the year, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in crime. Of course, Vinnie and I don't do this entirely on our own. Freelancers Chuck Ballaro, Bruce Robins, Scott Lockwood, John Vittas and Nate Cowan have shoveled words into our paragraph furnace. Photographers Tom O'Neill, Chris Blake, Justin Fennell, Tim Kern and Kat Edwards have graced our pages, both in print and on Facebook. Our newspaper's manage- ment has been wonderful, both in giving us the tools we need and tolerating their occasional- ly cantankerous sports editor. The best part of their support is knowing they want what I want – to do this sort of thing even better next year. And the year after that. Folks on our newspaper's advertising and marketing side were intensely involved with Tuesday's event. They were the ones who greeted you at the gate, set up many aspects of the venue, sought out the sponsors who bankrolled the event and, well, made sure y'all showed up. If you were there Tuesday, you saw Josh Grant doing his thing. One of the joys for me since moving back to the area has been reconnecting with Celebrating another epic school year Looking back, looking ahead at Tuesday's Sun Preps All-Area Awards SUN PHOTOS BY CHRIS BLAKE Charlotte weight lifters hang out before the start of the Sun Preps All Area Awards on Tuesday night at Cool Today Park. North Port softball players from left, Jewelie Vanderkous, Kelsey Raducci, Kaedyn Stoltzfus, Jasmine Rachal, and Kaitlin Kohlenberg attend the Sun Preps All Area Awards. Sun Preps All Area Awards keynote speaker Ryan Klesko talks to the athletes during Tuesday night's event at Cool Today Park. PATRICK OBLEY Sports Editor SEE OBLEY, 38A

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