COLUMN: Jake's Takes: Tahlequah writes the stories themselves

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May 20—I will admit first hand I am out of my comfort zone just a touch.

Any form of writing is natural to me, but I admittedly thought my feature writing was one of the weakest aspects of my writing all around. Now my main focus is finding feature stories in the Tahlequah area to fill up the sports pages.

During my time at Illinois State's newspaper The Vidette, feature writing was not something I focused much of my time. Not because I did not want to but because I had to have different priorities then. During my time at my college paper, I was the head beat writer for football, men's basketball, and baseball and along with editing my staff's stories.

It is not that I did not have ideas for features, I did. Unfortunately most of the time I was assigning my feature story ideas to the rest of my writing staff.

This all changed when I took the job at the Daily Press.

While I have had many opportunities to cover games and news stories, a lot of my time recently has been creating feature stories on local athletes. This has not only allowed me to get to know local athletes better, but it also allows their unique stories to be told.

Whether it was St. Louis Cardinals Ryan Helsley, Hulbert's Lance Jeanes, Tahlequah's Trae Baker, or one of the other athletes I have done a story on recently, there have been many threads to weave since I got to Tahlequah.

I wanted to talk about one interview I had recently with Baker.

One of THS's best track and field athletes, Baker just earned runner-up in the 800 meters at the State Finals. While he was admittedly happy about how he finished, something he said later in the interview really stuck with me. Throughout the interview, it was becoming apparent that he was not happy with the results. He said just as much saying he had a 'chip' on his shoulder.

Baker is hungry after falling just short at state. But it serves as motivation. Baker will remember how it felt to get second in State and will use that as motivation during not only the track season but fall's upcoming cross country field.

Going into an interview I never know what to expect. Sure I always have plenty of questions going in, but no interview turns out the same.

Really though my job has been easy lately and that is all because of local athletes, coaches, and parents directing stories my way. I struggled with writing features on college athletes at times, because it felt like they give a lot of cookie-cutter answers.

That is simply not the case here in Tahlequah. The athletes here are more than willing to tell their stories and help out in anyway possible. Everyone has a unique story to tell.

One of my personal favorite stories that I have had the chance to write was about former Hulbert pitching coach Lance Jeanes.

After helping Hulbert get to Regionals for the first time in over 20 years, Jeanes has to step away to help his family out with health concerns.

This was one of my favorite stories not only because of the selflessness that Jeanes is showing by stepping away, but also because of the great insight he gave into Hulbert's season. One thing he said in particular stood out.

He told me a tale of a mound visit when he was messing with one of his pitchers to get him to loosen up. As a former pitcher I thought it was interesting to see the differnt approach Jeanes took rather than just being stern with the kids like many coaches.

There are still plenty of stories out there that need to be told and I want to help tell them. I want to know what stories you think need to be told.

If you have a local athlete, coach, or alumni that you think deserves the spotlight do not hesitate to reach out. Send any and all story ideas you have to or

Follow live sports coverage @JakeSermershein on Twitter