One year. Wow has it already been that long because it sure doesn’t feel it. For those who don’t know, it was about a year ago that I was hired as the sports reporter for the Wisner News-Chronicle by former owner Tom Kelly.
One of my first things that I had to do for the newspaper was get all of the Wisner-Pilger team photos along with coaches and letterwinners for the Fall Sports Preview. It was a bit nerve racking because I wasn’t sure how the coaches would respond to me or how the pictures would come out.
It ended up being all good and the coaches were very helpful with getting everything I needed. After that came my first stories and I will admit that they weren’t the best, but I attribute that to inexperience. Tom gave me plenty of feedback on my stories and what I needed to change or word to stop using so much.
The fall sports season brought a few firsts for me personally and as a sports reporter. I covered three different state tournaments that Gator teams were in. The state tournaments for volleyball and cross country were a first for me personally and as a sports reporter. Enjoyed covering them both and the coaches were appreciative of the coverage. At the state football playoff, I got one of my best shots during the game when Spencer Batenhorst high-pointed a great catch and it was on the opposite side of the field from where I was.
As soon as fall sports end winter sports start, but before they did, I had another first happen for me. I had my first senior sign a letter of intent to continue their academic and athletic career in college. I would end up with five seniors that signed their letters of intent to various colleges. It was a privilege and honor to cover those and see how excited and happy the family of each senior was when they signed their letters. I hope to cover more of these in the future.
The winter sports season I experienced many of the highs and lows for the Gator teams. Girls basketball had 15 wins which was the most they have had in more than 10 years. Boys basketball lost their sub-district game on an incredible last second shot from Wakefield that I’m still not sure how he got it off and able to go in. Wrestling had their first year of girls wrestling and had a state runner-up at 120 pounds.
Going down and experiencing state wrestling was another first for me. I had only previously watched just the championship matches that were on television. I will say it was definitely a fun time down there and you will definitely get your exercise walking around there.
Spring sports are always interesting to watch and to cover mainly for the reason that you have to be prepared for any type of possible weather that could happen. That means you could start the track meet or golf invite out wearing multiple layers and by the end could be down to just a few layers.
One of the scariest things I experienced was the day of the district track meet in Oakland. It was a very hot day and there was talk of potentially bad storms by the evening. The last race of the meet had just finished as the storms rolled in. First the dust storm then the heavy rain and wind. Everyone ran to their vehicles and made it out safely. I had seen reports from other district track meets and it showed the teams and everyone huddled inside the school gyms or buildings while the storms moved through.
Summer brought all the baseball and softball I could enjoy when it wasn’t raining. It was also when Chris Rhoades with Enterprise Media Group, who now owns the Wisner News-Chronicle, hired me on full time as sports editor and news reporter. It has been a crazy ride ever since then.
People always say hard work pays off, but it is really hard work when you enjoy your job so much?
- Dusty Kruger is the sports editor and primary news reporter for The Wisner News-Chronicle. He can be reached in the newsroom at 402-529-3228.