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From the Sidelines: Athlete of the year nearing its finale

This weekend&8217;s edition of The Times will feature the final pair of nominees for the first Athlete of the Year award. Once A.L. Johnson High School&8217;s finest are featured, the process of selecting a winner will begin.

The Athlete of the Year feature has produced a great method of highlighting some of the best prep stars in Marengo County. The program has extolled the achievements and character of 14 deserving nominees. The selection process will be conducted with the same thoughtful, concerned approach with which the nominees have been presented. Unfortunately, only one star can be named Athlete of the Year for 2008.

The Saturday, May 24 edition will reveal the winner and provide a recap of each of the candidates for the award. It is the intention of The Times to make this honor a staple, naming a recipient each May prior to the close of the spring semester.

Once the award is presented, the sports section will begin a new feature, one that will take a firsthand look at some of the more unique aspects of sports in the region.

While the feature has yet to be named, it will put the writer in the same arena as the athlete in an effort to provide a rare, first person perspective to readers.

The feature will run through the summer month and strive to highlight everything from high school athletes to recreational activities.

From sports such as baseball, basketball and tennis to experiences like fishing or water skiing, this section will take on various challenges, presenting the nuances of them in an open and light-hearted manner.

As part of this feature, the lines of communication are once again opened for suggestions as to what sports-related tasks should be attempted. Any suggestions should be e-mailed to sports@demopolistimes.com. While we can&8217;t guarantee the usage of the suggestion or the safety of the sports writer, we can promise to seriously consider it.

Jeremy D. Smith is sports editor of The Times.