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I came on board at the Columbia Basin Herald a year ago and started covering South Grant County and Adams County athletics.

Itís been a real pleasure getting to know players and coaches in that area. I started Othello baseball and had a chance to watch Alix Garcia swing a bat. I see where heís hitting .364 with three RBI at Central Arizona College.

I hardly recognized Alixís freshman mugshot with short hair. It was kind of refreshing to see those long locks flying in the wind as he stretched a double into a triple for the Huskies.

Now that Alix is a Vaquero playing college ball down in Coolidge, Ariz., Iím thinking, if winter up keeps up the way it is, we all might want to take a road trip and watch the Othello kid.

Speaking of vaqueros, the gunslinger from Royal City just signed a national letter of intent to play for Weber State University. I think Kaden Jenks will be a perfect fit in the Big Sky Conference.

Jenks obviously has that big arm and the ability to make things happen in or out of the pocket. I got to laughing at a couple of pictures I have of the 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior rolling right, throwing across his body, off his back foot.

Reminds me of a few I have of John Elway doing that same thing. The Weber staff will work on those mechanics, but they wonít have to coach his competitorís heart. Jenks and the Knights were 27-0 the past couple of years and took one more trip to the Tacoma Dome where they capped it all off with another 1A state championship.

I donít run, but I was taught a love for distance running by then Adams State College coach Joseph I. Vigil, and Iíve been hooked ever since. I got to see the development of Othelloís David Maldondo and watch the Royal kids run tough at the 1A state meet in Pasco this past cross country season.

Yep, Rodolfo Flores (17:05.90) and Victor Santillan (17:50.80) led the Royal boys to a 13th place team finish in the 1A meet.

And of course, thereís wrestling. They take the circle serious here in the Columbia Basin. Iíve been covering the Othello Huskies a little bit, even got more than three words in a row out of the quiet-by-nature, tenacious in the circle 106-pounder Chris Melo during an interview.

I covered the Leonard Schutte Invitational to start things off and kept mixing T.J. Martinez (195) and Reese Jones (170) up. I watched Martinez wrestle, then went off to do the interview, asking for Jones. Reese came out and Iím thinking, man you looked a lot bigger on the mat.

Now that I have that figured out, I look forward to seeing the Huskies take a run a defending state champion Toppenish and the rest of the 2A wrestling community at the 2017 state wrestling championships.

So, having droned on with all of that, itís official. I will jump on board with the Sun Tribune as the Othello High School beat writer and look forward to covering the South Side.

Rodney Harwood is a sports writer with the Sun Tribune and Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at rharwood@columbiabasinherald.com.

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