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Sports >  Outdoors

Outdoor Writing Contest 2022 winners announced

Dec. 25, 2022 Updated Mon., Dec. 26, 2022 at 11:32 a.m.

A story by Callie S. Toney, a junior at North Central High School, has been judged the best of 34 entries in The Spokesman-Review’s 2022 Outdoor Writing Contest for high school students.

In “The Warm Glow of the Campfire” Toney beautifully describes the camaraderie found around the flickering flames on a camping trip.

“Who doesn’t love a campfire? This story by Toney weaves the warmth and mind-wandering of sitting around the fire into the familiar,” writes John Stucke, an assistant managing editor at The Spokesman-Review and a judge of the 2022 contest. “Outdoor experiences are transactions with nature, and the author’s measured use of description and acknowledgment of worries, both big and small, against the calm and humor of a campfire offer something to look forward in the depth of winter.”

Samarah Heggestad, a senior at Mead High School, took second place with a poem called “Homesick.”

Spokane-based poet and contest judge Kathryn Smith wrote, “In a relatively short space, this poem manages to convey both the deep comfort and connection the poet feels with the natural world, and the complicated relationship with a mother who just doesn’t get it.”

Third place went to Tommy Elliott, a junior at North Central High School, for a story titled “The Alaskan Frontier.” The piece recounts Elliott’s Alaskan adventures hiking and kayaking in the north, while also reflecting on closer-to-home beauty.

“Using vivid language, inspiring anecdotes and a natural rhythm, the writer’s recollection of a memorable trip also offers up a meaningful lesson for his readers,” writes S-R editor Alayna Shulman, another judge of this year’s contest.

Fourth place went to Emily R. Sanchez for a poem titled “To Transcend.”

“This broad-reaching poem takes the reader on a journey through the beauty and dangers of the natural world – a journey that feels both personal and universal,” Smith wrote.

Runner-up was awarded to Marlee Schoeffler, a junior at North Central for “No, We Did Not Pee On It,” a humorous account of a jellyfish sting.

The four finalists will be entered in the Outdoor Writers Association of America Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards contest, open to outdoor writing published in 2021 by junior high or high school students.

National winners, who can earn up to $200, will be announced next spring.

In 36 years, 47 finalists from The S-R contest have won national awards. The contest is limited to entrants from the newspaper’s circulation area. Details of the 2023 S-R contest will be announced in September.

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