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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 2 years ago

Welcome to ObserverPreps.com!

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Your new source for varsity sports coverage in western Orange County!
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

As an editor at a newspaper, you will inevitably run into problems.

It comes with the job.

Sometimes, though, we are lucky enough to run into “good problems” — and I like good problems.

One such good problem is the dilemma we have as a team each week when we sit down to discuss what will go in the sports page for a particular edition of the West Orange Times & Observer or the Windermere Observer.

The trick is balancing the wealth of high-school sports news and stories that are produced by the eight exceptional schools we cover for these two newspapers, along with the other stories that we can tell that fall under the umbrella of sports. 

See, although prep sports are a cornerstone of what a sports page in a community paper should be, there are still a wide array of great stories to be told that fall outside of that particular category. Let’s face it — whether it’s world champion water skiers or our area’s vibrant golf scene — there’s a lot of cool sports stuff going on in West and Southwest Orange.

Luckily, we’ve identified a solution: Thank you, Internet.

Some of our regular readers who also engage with us on the inter-webs via social media already may be familiar with the Observer Preps name as our sports-specific Twitter and Instagram handles (@ObserverPreps) and the name for our sports-specific Facebook page. 

Now, though, if you type Observer Preps into your browser — losing the space between the two words and adding a “.com” at the end — you’ll be jettisoned to our newest platform.

Welcome to ObserverPreps.com! Our goal: Provide the best, most complete coverage of varsity sports in western Orange County.

We say western Orange County because, when we decided to take on this project, we also recognized an opportunity.

There are schools located within the western half of Orange County, but outside of our print coverage areas, which the schools we already cover play quite frequently — district and conference rivals such as Apopka High, Wekiva High, Evans High  and Freedom High. The opportunity then, is to add these awesome schools to our ObserverPreps.com coverage area.

The print editions of our newspapers will still be specific to your hometown team, meaning you will not see coverage of our added schools in your weekly paper. However, if you’d like a more comprehensive coverage of the western half of the Metro Conference, we will provide that for you right here.

Additionally, we added The First Academy. Although it is based in Orlando, TFA has a large student base here in West Orange. Furthermore, the Royals are rivals with another of our schools we already cover, Windermere Prep.

We have added five schools — and only five schools — for a reason. While we recognized an opportunity for growth, what we hope will make ObserverPreps.com stand out from the competition is the unique attention our 13 schools will get. Only covering 13 schools means we can hone in on a level of coverage that will spotlight teams, coaches and athletes who otherwise would not receive the recognition they deserve.

Our new platform will feature regular updates of recaps, news, photo galleries from games, scores, recruiting updates, updates on alumni from the area in the college or professional ranks and more. 

Because of this incredible new outlet for our prep-sports coverage, we are also hopeful that the print product you pick up each week will be even better — with a comprehensive look at all things sports in West and Southwest Orange County.

We are excited to have enthusiastic partners who have jumped on board via sponsorships and we hope you will enjoy ObserverPreps.com.

As with anything we do, we want to hear from you — the reader — on what we can do to best serve the community, so feel free to send any questions, comments or story ideas you might have [email protected].

Steven Ryzewski is the Senior Sports Editor for ObserverPreps.com, as well as all three of Observer Media Group's print publications in Orange County. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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