Writing sample from Dec. 2019
Raiders outlast Chargers 53-51
     The South Ripley Raiders varsity basketball team hosted North Decatur for a non-conference game on Saturday, Dec. 7. The home team held on to a late lead and won 53-51, improving their season record to 2-1. North Decatur dropped to 0-2 with the loss.
     SR head coach Tyler Theising said, “Making shots down the stretch,” made the difference in the game.
     The Raiders led by as many as eight points midway through the final quarter. The Chargers kept battling however, and drained a couple of three pointers late that brought them back into the mix.
     South Ripley maintained their composure as the visitors charged. Five Raiders players scored in the fourth quarter, led by Cody Samples’ eight points in the final eight minutes.
     The score stood at 52-51 with one minute remaining. SR implemented ball control efforts down to about 30 seconds, when senior Aaron Greiwe was sent to the foul line. Greiwe hit one free throw, and the Raiders defense held off two final shot attempts by the Chargers to claim victory.
     “We finished well,” Theising said of those final minutes. He commended his players for hitting their free throws and playing with confidence throughout the match.
     In particular, the Raiders showed off the ability to drive to the rim with success throughout the game. Junior Jaden Peetz scored six points in the first quarter, four off of drives and two free throws thanks to being fouled on a drive.
     Later, it was Cody Samples who took it to the hoop on several occasions as the visitors attempted a comeback. Greiwe also scored most of his points through penetrating the Chargers defense and getting to the rim.
     Samples led the team in scoring with 21 points, 19 of which were scored in the second half. Greiwe also notched double figures with 10.
     Additional scorers for SR included: Peetz nine, Zach Gentile six, Sam Evans three, Eric Vickers two, Cory Ralston one, and Dakota Day one. The Raiders went 15-23 as a team from the free throw line.
     Prior to the varsity match, the junior varsity Raiders earned a win, 54-47 in overtime. Quarter scores were 12-5 (SR) after the first, 17-15 (SR) at half, 30-28 (SR) after three quarters, and 42 all at the end of regulation.
     The JV Raiders went 8-12 from the free throw line in overtime to help seal their victory. Blake Volz was 6-8 individually in that OT period.
     The JV squad had three players in double figures, led by Nick Schwarte with 21 points. Other scorers included: Dalton Smith 12, Volz 10, Ryan Miller six, Simon Westmeyer three, and Clinton Patrick two.
     South Ripley’s boys host the 3A Brownstown Central Braves in Versailles on Saturday, Dec. 14. The Braves are currently 1-1 on their season.
Above, examples of special congratulatory pages created for tournament winners.
My normal style included featuring one to three events on each page, complete with a story, stats, and action photos. Then, I'd fill in the rest of my space with "briefs" on activity occurring at events I wasn't able to attend. I planned ahead each week/month/season to ensure I was attending the most significant events, and often tried to select events where two or even all three of my schools were competing against each other, or at least competing against a conference opponent.
American football
Writing sample from Aug. 2019
Late rally lifts Indians over Lions 40-20
     With around four and a half minutes to go in the third quarter of Milan’s home opener versus the Rushville Lions on Friday, Aug. 23, it appeared that the game was slipping away from the black and gold.
     After going to halftime trailing 13-7, the Lions began the second half moving the ball on offense and stopping Milan’s efforts to do the same with their defense. A touchdown pass at 4:18 in the third quarter lifted Rushville to a 20-7 advantage over the home team.
     However, the Indians didn’t die. “One play can change the game,” senior quarterback Parker Lewis said after the final bell.
     That one play came just after Lewis kicked a stellar punt that pushed Rushville within their own five yard line. Indians Head Coach Ryan Langferman said he and his staff debated whether to punt or go for the fourth down conversion, and in retrospect, were pleased with their decision. “Let your players make plays,” he said of placing trust in his team to keep fighting.
     On the ensuing offensive drive for Rushville, senior captain Dakota Sams pummeled a Lions runner, forcing a fumble that was picked up by senior linebacker Aaron Harrison for a touchdown that absolutely turned the tides of the game.
     “We came together as a team and stayed positive,” Harrison said of the comeback, which saw Milan racking up 33 points in the final 13 minutes of the game.
     Following Harrison’s touchdown recovery, QB Lewis connected with wide receiver Carsyn Ascherman for a touchdown catch at the 11:39 mark of the fourth quarter. Lewis and Ascherman teamed up again for a score with 6:38 remaining. Then Peyton Wert and Cole Steele each busted into the endzone for scores, bringing the final tally to 40-20. Of course, all of these offensive successes were made possible thanks to the Indians’ unrelenting defensive effort.
     Linebacker Harrison said that he looked forward to battling Rushville again, referencing last year’s loss where the Indians grabbed a late lead only to see it stripped away in the final moments of the game.
     Head Coach Langferman believes the turnaround win is a step forward for his team and the Milan football program. Still, being the first game of the year, he saw room for improvement. Chief among those issues included minimizing turnovers and running the ball more effectively.
     The Indians hope to carry their momentum into this Friday’s game against Batesville, slated to be held at Batesville with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Last year’s game saw Batesville winning 51-13 on Milan turf. The Bulldogs won their first game of the year against Jennings County last week by a score of 45-28. The forecast is currently calling for a high around 80 degrees with partly cloudy skies.
     1: Indians running back Peyton Cavins (22) evades a tackle while getting a block from his teammate in the first quarter of the game. Cavins ran the ball 13 times for 61 yards, an average of 4.7 yards per carry.
     2: Milan’s Carsyn Ascherman  rises above a Lions defender to haul in this pass from QB Parker Lewis for a touchdown in the first quarter. Ascherman caught four passes on the game for 91 yards, which equals 22.8 yards per catch. Ascherman scored three touchdowns for the Indians - this one in the first and two more in the fourth quarter.
     3: As Rushville’s QB dropped back to look for a pass, Milan’s Brycon Burgan (19) knocked the ball loose and teammate Zach Hauser recovered the fumble with just 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Prior to this highlight play, Rushville was attempting to save time on the clock for a chance at a final score on the half.
Writing sample from Aug. 2019
Clark’s three goals lift Milan over South Ripley
    Milan Indians junior Josh Clark boasted a hat-trick performance to help his team to victory over county rival South Ripley on Thursday, August 22.
     Clark’s first strike came near the 28:00 minute mark of the first half. As Ethan Schwipps traveled down the side of the field, he passed the ball to the middle, where Clark tapped in for the score.
     Ten minutes into the second half, Evan Miller passed the ball toward the goal, where Clark used his head to put the ball into the back of the net.
     To finish the hat-trick, Clark put in a close range penalty kick near the 16:30 mark of the second half. That kick was made possible due to the Raiders being called for a hand ball violation in the goal zone.
     The win was Milan’s first of the year after starting 0-2. They’ll look to add more wins in games this week against Seton Catholic and Southwestern (Hanover).
     Despite the three goals, Raiders senior goalkeeper Cory Ralston had 24 saves. Head Coach Nathan Hensley also noted that Luke Cranfill made an excellent save off the goal line during the game.
     As a team, South Ripley attempted eight shots, four on the goal. The loss means SR starts the year 0-1. They’ll look for their first win this week in games against Southwestern (Hanover), Shawe Memorial, and Scottsburg. 
     1: Milan’s Josh Clark and South Ripley’s Ben Miller vie for control of the ball. Clark scored all three of his team’s goals en route to victory. Miller was a key ball handler for his Raiders, but could not get the ball past Milan’s defense for a score.
     2: A look at the setup for Milan’s first goal: Ethan Schwipps (28) dribbled down the side of the field and passed into the middle where Josh Clark, seen approaching from the far left of the photo, tapped the ball into the goal.
Cross country
Writing sample from Oct. 2018
Megan Cole to run in IHSAA State Finals cross country meet
First-ever Lady Raiders runner advances to state’s biggest race
    South Ripley senior star runner Megan Cole qualified for the IHSAA State Finals cross country meet to be held next Saturday, October 27, in Terre Haute, thanks to her 18:51 semi-state finish. That time, just three seconds off of a personal best, landed her in 18th place overall in the girls division at Shelbyville’s Blue River cross country course on Saturday, October 20.
     Large crowds attended that semifinals race, one of four held in the state. The top six teams and top ten runners after team finishers were to advance to the season culminating state finals.
     Cole has now run the semi-state race all four years of her high school career, but this marks her first advancement to the finals.
     Cole said she knew what to expect going into the race as she had competed at that level before. “The field ran out fast, I knew I had to try to hang on and go with the front pack today,” she said of the start. Her first mile pace was around 5:39, compared to her race average of about 6:04. Speed wise, that pace means she ran about 9.95mph average over the course of the 3.1 miles.
     “Everyone pushed the course,” she continued, referencing the fast conditions. She didn’t worry about the wind, saying, “The conditions are the same for everyone.”
     The South Ripley Lady Raiders were also thrilled to have senior Elyse Hunger running in the semi-state race. Hunger had a strong day, finishing in 21:33, also just seconds away from a personal best. Her time placed her in 132nd place overall, which speaks to the level of competition at the race.
     Hunger said of her first semi-state experience, “It was great, the competition was insane.” Hunger said she could feel that her first mile of the race was faster than usual due to that level of talent all running together.
     South Ripley head coach Jim Cole was proud of both of his runners. “Overall, it was a successful day.” Speaking of his strategy on the day, he commented, “We came here on Wednesday to train. As we were running each part of the course, we talked about where we needed to be and what we needed to do. The plan was to get out hard.”
     Coach Cole said that in these types of races, generally, an athlete’s position around the one-mile mark will be about the same as the position in which they will finish, thus stressing the importance of a fast start.
     In the boys division, Jac-Cen-Del sophomore Damon Hughes ran a personal best time of 16:56 to place 71st in the race.
     Dealing with that same high-level competition, Hughes said he felt like it was challenging to get out of the pack at the beginning. He said it was around the two-kilometer mark that he felt he was able to find some breathing room.
     Overall, though, he said, “I ran my own race today, and stayed at my own pace. I’m happy with my time.”
     Hughes said it was important to him that he was able to see progress through the season, shaving off a minute from his time at the last race compared to the first. “You want to run your best race at the end [of the season], not the beginning.”
     The IHSAA State Finals meet is set to be held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Sports Center in Terre Haute. The girls will take off at 1:00 p.m. followed by the boys at 1:45. Admission is $10 per person.
Additional sports I covered included: Baseball, softball, volleyball, track and field, swim, wrestling, tennis, golf, bowling, air rifle shooting, archery, and horsemanship.

Photographs were captured with a DSLR and lenses specific to the needs of each sport. I selected my gear and physical placement in hopes of capturing "the shot" for each respective event. I felt action photos, as well as those conveying the emotional highs and lows of competition, told the best stories. Photos were processed in Lightroom and then prepared for CMYK print in Photoshop.

Stories were written with several components in mind. I tried to give a sense of the atmosphere and energy of an event. I regularly sought the perspectives of coaches and key athletes. Finally, I worked with coaches and team managers to procure stats to bring it all together. Pages were created with InDesign. Occasionally, I used Illustrator to customize graphics.
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