Comment: Getting to know the EPLN’s first sports editor

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As I walked out of Aerie Stadium on a cold October evening in 2003, tears slowly began to stream down my face as my mother walked me home.

As we got closer to home and away from the stadium, the roar of the visiting Lakeville crowd grew louder. The Panthers were poised to defeat the highly ranked Eden Prairie football team and end their 59-game Lake Conference winning streak. It was the first time that I, a huge Eagles football fan, saw this team lose a game.

As my tears grew, my mother stopped me. His words were simple: “It’s OK. Most high school football teams lose games.

From an early age, I discovered the high level of athletics at the EPHS. Whether it was growing up in the shadow of school and seeing great athletes in all sports or seeing it first hand as a student and alumnus, I got to see it all.

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Now I can see it from another angle. On March 1, I officially took over as the very first sports editor and social media editor of the EP Local News. I’m more than happy to take on this role and help grow this community news organization that helps keep the local community informed.

Here I am with the sports-focused print edition that came out in fall 2021.

My family history dates back to the mid 1970’s when my paternal grandparents traveled to Eden Prairie from the Cincinnati area. They lived in what was the “new neighborhood” of the city near Purgatory Creek and the Pax Christi Catholic Church.

My own parents ended up moving to Eden Prairie in the late 1980s near EPHS and have stayed ever since.

Growing up in this town and so close to high school, Friday night football games were a cherished tradition. There was a buzz around the school each evening, with hundreds of people streaming into Aerie Stadium.

As a young fan, I got to see some of the brightest stars in the state shine in EPHS uniforms. Whether it’s Willie Mobley in football, Ryan Wittman in basketball, among others. With the porosity of Minnesota’s men’s pro and varsity teams in my lifetime, watching successful Eagle teams provided a much-needed escape for this sports fan.

Coming into high school, I tried to be one of those players. But my quest to be a great athlete was cut short like many before me. However, thanks to the Eyrie newspaper, I was able to be up close and personal with many of the big EPHS sporting events.

I saw Nick Leddy lead the Eagles to their first national men’s hockey title in 2009. There was Taylor Uhl’s dominance on the field in 2010 when the women’s soccer team won. That winter, Kyle Rau scored to complete one of the most epic men’s hockey games in history in 2011.

Then there was the epic month of November 2011. As a senior, I saw and captured on camera three state championships – men’s soccer, volleyball, and soccer. It was an incredible three weeks for a high school student to be on the sidelines and testify.

After graduating in 2012, I moved on to the University of Missouri, where I spent four years studying print/digital sports journalism while enjoying life at an SEC-joined school. It was a very different vibe than growing up going to Gopher football games in a half-full Metrodome.

I graduated in 2016. After a nine-month internship at USA Hockey in Colorado, where I wrote for the organization’s website and magazine, I returned to Eden Prairie and have been here ever since. .

Since returning in 2017, I’ve spent most of my time as a freelance sportswriter here in the Twin Cities. I’ve written many articles, mostly for the Star Tribune’s online high school coverage. I also spent the last three years at Bally Sports North (formerly FOX Sports North) as a production assistant working on the network’s pre-game and post-game shows for the Wild, Wolves and Twins.

In the midst of it all, I faced the COVID-19 pandemic like the rest of you. And like many PE residents, I woke up in 2020 to the horrible news that Eden Prairie News was closing. I had a feeling of helplessness. As a journalism enthusiast, not having an outlet to cover one of the largest school districts and suburbs in the state was fascinating to me.

Sitting at home like most have in 2020, thoughts started rumbling in my head about starting an information site for the town of Eden Prairie. Luckily, others who knew more about nonprofit life were already working their magic. Thus came Eden Prairie Local News.

I finally joined this company in the fall of 2020. Since then, I have helped with sports coverage and EPLN’s social media presence as one of the youngest members of the editorial group.

As of March 1, my official title changed to Social Media Editor and Sports Editor. I am beyond thrilled to return to this role.

By taking over this work, I hope to make our sports coverage the best it can be. As a part-time employee, that’s not my whole working life. However, I believe that with my work and the help of others, we can do our best to cover all things sports in Eden Prairie.

On top of that, hopefully we can cover everything equally. This city has a wealth of athletics to cover, and I hope to hit as many as possible.

Finally, I want transparency. I’m happy to chat with anyone about our sports coverage and would love your help. Whether it’s submitting photos, sheet music, story ideas, or grabbing a coffee and discussing your thoughts on EP sports. I am here to do it.

With that, my email is [email protected] Let’s discuss and work together to make this sports section work as well as possible. Also, let’s connect on social media. My personal account on Twitter is @rwilliamson29 and @ryanwilliamson29 on Instagram. Please also follow EP Local News on Twitter and instagram with #EPLNSports to follow the sports scene here in our city.

That’s all about me for now. Talk again soon!

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