About crschanz

Lover of sports, coffee and beards.

Repeat finalist

Two days later and I’m still struggling to find the right words.

During the  2017 Hoosier State Press Newsroom Seminar & Better Newspaper Contest Awards Luncheon on Saturday in Indianapolis, I repeated as having the best sports action photo in Division 3 (dailies with circulation less than 6,000).

The photo, which is below, was selected as the photo of the year finalist for its division.

(I also won first place in sports commentary for my weekly column, “Line Drives.” It was my first HSPA award for column writing.)

In 2016, I was awarded first place by the Hoosier State Press Association for three photos. One of those — best feature photo — was selected as a photo of the year finalist.

I was also runner up for spot news photo.

Those honors came as a surprise to me considering I think of myself a writer first, a photographer second.

Not the other way around.

In 2011 I graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelors degree in journalism with a concentration on news writing. I also minored in sports management, knowing very well I wanted to be a sports writer.

I was required to take a photography class as part of my major, and had dabbled in the hobby post graduation. It was never really a passion of mine, because I didn’t think I’d use the skill at a professional level. But when I began my career at The Commercial Review in July 2013, I was required to take pictures to accompany my stories.

And recent events have forced me to reconsider my evaluation of myself, and my feeling toward photography.

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Column: Line Drives — Record career almost didn’t happen

[This is my column in the Nov. 3 issue of The Commercial Review.]

He wasn’t going to play football as a freshman.

A three-sport athlete, he much prefers a baseball diamond to the gridiron.

More than four years later, Cole Stigleman is thankful he chose to play football.

“I’m so glad I didn’t (step away),” said Stigleman, a Jay County High School senior. “Football is an awesome sport.”

But after leaving West Jay Middle School after eighth grade, he thought about calling it quits.

“It is just crazy that I thought of even stopping playing,” he said.

This isn’t just about him making a life-changing decision to play. This is about how he became the most prolific runner in school history.

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The best gift ever

In 2003, my grandfather, John Edward Frawley, passed away. It was the first time I had ever experienced a death in the family.

After his death at 76, the only thing I wanted was the flag that was draped on his casket as he was a member of the United States Army. My mother and her four siblings agreed to give me the flag.

I’ve had it since then, but it was tucked away in a vacuum bag to protect it. For more than a decade I had been casually looking at getting a case for it with a plaque commemorating his time in the service at the tail end of World War II.

For various reasons, just never got it done.
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Column: Line Drives — Heroes helped hurting half

[This is my column in the Sept. 28 issue of The Commercial Review.]

At some point in our lives, we’ve all come across a hero.

We may have seen them on TV, throwing a football, blasting a baseball or making a championship-clinching hoop.

Perhaps they were wearing a different type of uniform.

A firefighter rescuing us — or friends, or family — from a blaze. Maybe it’s a police officer or a paramedic pulling us or a loved one out of an automobile accident.

It could even be a medical professional who helped with rehabilitation, or a doctor who discovers an affliction before it worsens, or a surgeon who saves a life.

There are even fictional heroes. Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman.

But heroes don’t always wear masks or capes.

More often than not, they don’t even have a uniform. They’re just everyday citizens coming to aide someone in need.

I gained two heroes Saturday.

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Column: Line Drives — Defense is no place for a newbie

[This is my column in the Aug. 31 issue of The Commercial Review.]

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The thought popped into my head again.

“Do I have what it takes to play [insert sport here]?”

I had to find out.

In February, I found myself on the mat — both literally and figuratively — wrestling Gaven Hare, then a Jay County High School junior who a week earlier participated in the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals.

Long story short, I got whooped.

But I had to know.

Do I have what it takes to play, say, soccer? How about volleyball? Can I swim 500 yards?

Over the course of this school year, I hope to answer those questions, and more.

I was a two-sport athlete growing up. I played football in the fall and baseball in the summer.

But I didn’t delve much into the other sports.

Until now.

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Column: Line Drives — Four years hold special memories

[This is my column in the June 30 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Four years.

Saturday marks four years as sports editor of The Commercial Review.

I didn’t expect to be here this long.

No, that’s not to say I don’t want to still be here — I do — nor am I on my way out the door.

If you don’t mind, I think I’m going to stay for a while longer.

I just never thought I’d hit four years.

I thought I’d put in a year or two and move on. It’s the epitome of small-town, community journalism — get a foot in the door, gain experience, go elsewhere.

But I don’t want to.

And I’m glad I haven’t.

It’d be hard for me to imagine not being around to see the culmination of the high school athletic careers of four local athletes.

Four years ago I came to Portland not knowing what I was getting myself into.

Four years later, the class of 2017 is the first group of student-athletes I’ve gotten to cover all the way through high school.

There are four in particular whose careers have stuck out the most.

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Column: Line Drives — Question examines what to do next

[This is my column in the June 22 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Where do I go from here?

In August, I set a goal of running a half marathon.

I trained for nine months. Some days and weeks were better than others, but I did the best I could to prepare myself both mentally and physically for 13.1 miles.

I accomplished the feat May 6.

But what now?

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