Cheney Free Press -


By Paul Delaney
Staff Reporter 

Looking back at some lesser known events from 2012

Crunch Time


The story usually starts with the small talk in the barber chair and the stylist asking, among other things, “So you have any big plans for the weekend?”

The deadpan response is generally, “Well I have to work,” to which the hair cutter offers the, “Aw, that’s to bad.” But the punch line goes something like: “Yeah, I’ve got to ‘work’ photographing a football or basketball game and then write about what I saw.”

That doesn’t sound like work, the stylist says between snips of the scissors. And I laughlingly agree with the usual, “It’s a dirty job…” line.

Normally this week’s edition of the Cheney Free Press begins a two-part look at the year in review in both news and sports. But this year we’ll try a slightly different approach in the Jan. 3, 2013 edition with each reporter selecting, what they think were their personal top-3 stories.

While this makes life a great deal easier and less time consuming by not having to page through 53 issues of the Free Press looking for news – remember it was Leap Year? – it will mean maybe overlooking some potentially memorable little moments.

Sure, the big things on the beat will get their due next week.

Another deep run by Eastern into the FCS playoffs got my No. 1 vote. Sure it’s still a bit painful to have to revisit the Eagles IncREDible comeback effort versus Sam Houston this soon. But as disappointing as the 45-42 loss was and how a mere four points shorted us all of a return trip to Frisco, this game and the rally from 35-0 will go down as nothing short of amazing.

We take a look back at Bo Levi Mitchell winning the Payton Award and new Eastern men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford taking the first step of hopefully bringing his program back to prominence.

For Medical Lake, long the doormats in so many sports as the little fish in the big pool of Great Northern League 2A sports, this past year really gave those so dedicated boosters something to cheer about.

And we’ll highlight in more length and detail the efforts of the Cardinals’ cross country runners earning a third-place in the state championships – as coach Gene Blankenship.predicted they would.

There was the first playoff appearance in a decade for Medical Lake’s football team or the swan song – again – of legendary Cardinals’ tennis coach Leroy Lemaster.

So much for a preview of “coming attractions.” How about some of the moments that fell to the cutting room floor as is said about parts of a movie that editors slice from the final cut.

Friday, Jan. 13 certainly proved lucky for the Medical Lake boys’ basketball team in a 49-40 Spirit Game win at Cheney.

Eastern’s 2010 national champion football team proved to be the story – and gift – that just kept giving as the Eagles’ 20-19 win over Delaware was voted “Sports Story of the Year” at Seattle’s 77th Annual Sports Star of the Year awards.

The Lilac Invitational Golf Tournament returned to the Fairways in a memorable way with WSU golfer Hank Frame needing two holes of sudden death to win.

Medical Lake baseball coach Kerry Kelly rounded up his sons, Aston, Nathan, Kasey and Alex, as well as brother Kory to be on the same team during the annual Fourth of July Wood Bat Classic baseball tournament.

Time and space are the bane of newspaper publishers, editors and reporters and they say it’s time to end this small talk.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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