It was a simple phone call that made this year and a half possible with The Bulletin.

Back in March of 2018, I received a phone call from Anne Jacobson offering me a job as sports writer for the Woodbury and Cottage Grove communities.

After thinking about it for a couple of days, I called her back and accepted the position. At the end of the conversation with her, I told her how excited I was about the opportunity and that I’d do my best every day to give this community what it deserves.

Once we hung up, I immediately started looking up records, teams, players, rankings, schedules, the list goes on and on. I’ll admit that for the last month of my senior semester in college, my attention and focus was on getting ready for the high school spring sports season in Woodbury and Cottage Grove.

It’s unbelievable to think it’s been almost two years since that phone conversation, and even though my time has come to an end with The Bulletin, I wanted to reflect on a year and a half of memories and moments that made my job enjoyable every day.

First off, I want to say thank you. There are way too many people to thank, but I’ll try and hit most of them.

I want to thank my editors at RiverTown Multimedia for believing in a college student to take over this position and giving me my first job out of college. I also want to thank my colleagues at the paper for some fun stories to read and some great laughs and memories throughout each season.

Next, I want to thank the athletic directors, coaches, student-athletes, parents and the overall communities of Woodbury and Cottage Grove. Everyone made me feel like part of the community and they helped me with so many questions and obstacles, but also provided great conversations at different sporting events.

The other day I started looking back at all the stories I wrote, photos I took, and videos I captured over the last year and a half, and it was fun to see the different events I covered.

The first events that come into my mind are the state tournaments, especially the teams that went to state for the first time in program history. The reactions that the players and coaches had when they reached the venue were priceless.

A specific memory came from the East Ridge girls’ hockey team when they went to the Xcel Energy Center last February for the state tournament. When the Raptors arrived, they ran out to the bench area and stood there in awe.

Then, they grabbed their phones and started taking photos, selfies and group pictures until head coach Kim McClintick had to get them in the locker room. Being there and witnessing those little moments is one of the best feelings as a sports journalist.

Along with the little moments, there are big moments in sports like reaching the state championship and winning the title. I was able to cover four such teams.

The Park softball team in 2018, the East Ridge boys’ soccer team in 2019 and a number of Thunderbolts adapted sports team all made to the state championship game, but the East Ridge baseball team in 2019 and the Thunderbolts adapted soccer team in 2019 each won the championship trophy.

I’ve witnessed tough defeats that show emotion and frustration, but I’ve also seen dog piles and tears of joy after winning a state title. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time with The Bulletin, it’s that each team at each school has so much passion to be the best.

Along with the game stories, I’ve had the privilege to tell many feature stories of remarkable athletes and citizens of the community. From overcoming injuries to achieving lifelong dreams, there have been many memorable stories to share and bring a community closer together through the ups and downs.

One of my professors told me in my first journalism class at Iowa State that there are two things you must have as a journalist.

First, you must love what you do. Over this last year and a half, I’ve always looked forward to driving over to the Woodbury and Cottage Grove and covering any sports I could on a nightly basis.

Second, you must always expect the unexpected. During my time with The Bulletin, there have been buzzer-beaters, season ending injuries and everything in between. One of the biggest reasons I became a journalist is because you never know what story you’ll be writing that night and that excites me each day I get into my car.

I look forward to bringing that passion and excitement into my next position as sports writer for the St. Cloud Times.

I will miss plenty of people in these two communities and I appreciate all of your support over my time at The Bulletin.

I will miss my colleagues at RiverTown Multimedia. I’ve made some great friendships with so many writers and editors over my time there and it was tough saying goodbye to everyone this past week.

I will also miss the conversations and brainstorming story ideas with Hannah Black at the Caribou Coffee in Woodbury.

Finally, I will miss the weekly podcasts with Alec Hamilton and Martin Schegel. We had some great moments within the podcast, at different tournaments and our weekly lunches or dinners. I know they, along with Kyle Stevens, will continue to do a great job keeping up with sports coverage around the Minnesota area.

I know this will not be a goodbye as I hope to come back and keep in touch with plenty of people in the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area. I wish every athletic director, coach and student-athlete the best of luck in future seasons.

There’s a quote that I’ve always enjoyed reading since my freshman year of college. It comes from John Grogan, who was a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He said, “In the English language, it all comes down to this: Twenty-six letters, when combined correctly, can create magic. Twenty-six letters form the foundation of a free, informed society."

I hope I’ve created some magic in the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area during my career and, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.