I get one more week

March 16, 2009

by Aaron Schultz

I’ve been working at the Herald Journal for over eight years now – some days it seems like it has been much longer.

Looking back at my eight years at HJ, I have a hard time remembering back to those first years I was employed by Chris Schultz and Dale Kovar.

I do remember that the current Herald Journal was once two papers – the Howard Lake-Waverly-Montrose Herald and the Winsted-Lester Prairie-New Germany Journal.

In those days, I was also a salesman, and there were no such things as the printing and sign departments.

That first year I was at HJ was also Katie Pettit’s fifth grade year at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.

At that time, I had no idea who Katie Pettit was or what kind of athlete she was going to become, that I would write about in the Hearld Journal.

To tell you the truth, I had no intentions of still being the sports editor here for this long.

But I love my job, and am happy to still be covering the local sports teams and athletes.

Well, Pettit first burst onto the scene during her eighth grade year of basketball at HLWW, and she has been a treasure chest of material for me ever since.

For the past five years, Pettit has broken nearly every girls’ basketball record the Lakers threw at her, while also becoming the all-time leading scorer in HLWW basketball history – boys and girls.

Fortunately for Pettit and the Lakers, her basketball career has been extended by one more week.

The Lakers topped long-time nemesis Eden Valley-Watkins in the Section 5AA, Sub-section 20 finals Tuesday.

HLWW then beat Watertown-Mayer Friday in the Section 5AA finals, to advance on to the state tournament for the second consecutive year.

What a year, and career, it has been for Pettit and her Laker teammates.

Pettit and the Lakers advanced to the Class 2A state tournament last year, as they beat the Eagles in the same sub-section game they beat them in this year, then topped Holy Family to punch the Lakers’ first-ever ticket to the girls’ state tournament.

This year hasn’t ended yet for the Lakers, as they enter the state tournament with an impressive 27-3 overall record.

Two of those three losses came against Eden Valley-Watkins. The other loss was only against the state’s top-ranked team in Class 2A – Jordan.

Yep, it was another successful year, but it is by no means over just yet.

Still, no matter what happens at state, I will only get to cover Pettit playing basketball at HLWW one more week.

As for me, I’m going to miss covering Pettit in the years to come.

Sure, I’ll do the occasional story on her, as she will no doubt be successful in college ball at Bemidji State, but it just won’t be the same.

Oh yeah, there will be plenty of other exciting young women to cover on the Laker basketball team in years to come, one of them is already on varsity as freshmen – Heather Lehner.

But something tells me it just won’t be the same as there will always be a special place in my memories for Pettit and all of her accomplishments.

I’ve been very lucky to be able to follow Pettit during her varsity career, and am lucky enough to get one more week.