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Turning a new page for the preps

Today marks a symbolic passing of the baton.

My friend and co-worker Mike Vlahovich, whose mug has adorned the left side of our combined Washington/North Idaho Prep Page the past two years, is retiring at the end of the month.

He’s been roaming football and baseball fields and collecting calluses on his bottom sitting in the bleachers in Spokane-area gyms the past five decades. He joined The Spokesman-Review in 1992.

His retirement trims our prep staff from two to one full timer. In this age of budget concerns, I become the lead high school writer for Washington and North Idaho.

Sports editor Joe Palmquist has come up with a plan that we believe will allow us to still cover Eastern Washington and North Idaho preps effectively. My primary responsibilities will be overseeing our coverage with specific hands-on work with football, boys and girls basketball and baseball. We will cover the other sports by committee – Steve Bergum (golf, spring soccer), Jim Meehan (spring softball), Dave Trimmer (cross country, track), Chris Derrick (volleyball, tennis) and Justin Chartrey (wrestling, fall soccer).

We’re embarking on a new prep world. And we – make that I – need your help. We can’t be everywhere in this day of dwindling resources. But it will always be our aim to give our readers the utmost quality in features and game stories daily.

To that end, I need you to be my extra eyes and ears (even with two sets of eyes I can’t be everywhere!). If you have a story idea or come across something that would make an interesting note, please call (Spokane area, 509-927-2180; Coeur d’Alene area, 208-765-7127) or send me an e-mail ( gregl@spokesman.com).

The good news for us is Mike will continue to work for us as a correspondent, beginning his sixth decade of covering prep sports in January. When you get a chance, congratulate Mike and thank him for his years of service. He will be sorely missed here. He’s a walking encyclopedia of prep knowledge.

He’s covered countless state championship teams and individuals. In my mind, Mike is a champion in his own class.

All-State football picks

There were no 5A area players picked to All-Idaho first teams sponsored by The Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise. But one 4A and six 3A athletes were first-team picks. Five are from Timberlake.

They are: In 4A, Sandpoint defensive back Sean Hogan and in 3A, running back John Morris, defensive lineman Mike Conrath (also a second team pick at offensive line), linebacker Matt Kriz, defensive back Derek Puckett and punter Derek Tymesen of Timberlake and defensive back Tyler Groth of Kellogg.

The second-team picks were: Cade Mendoza, Zach Keiser and Tyler Smotherman of Coeur d’Alene in 5A; Daniel Charvoz, Mike Hubbard, Adam Crossingham and Luther Morgan of Sandpoint in 4A; Joe Bren of Kellogg, Mike Riley of Priest River and Taylor Tompke of Bonners Ferry in 3A; and Jake Hall of Kootenai in 1A.

A good man

Lee Shellman, 71, longtime Coeur d’Alene High booster, died last week. A memorial service will be held this afternoon at 3 at Lake City Community Church.

A physical therapist, Shellman assisted countless CdA athletes over the years. He will be missed.