Arenz hired as sports editor

High school and college fans will be seeing a new face at area sporting events this fall.

With the departure of Matt Dahlseid, The Marshall Independent has hired me, Jeff Arenz, to be its new sports editor.

I want to thank Matt for his four years of contributions to this sports department and wish him well at his new job as a sports reporter and copy editor at The Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa. The sports section at Matt’s new newspaper is rated as one of the best in the Midwest every year.

I know a bit about the Quad City Area, which consists of the Mississippi River towns of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and, Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, because I am originally from the Land of Lincoln. The QCA is a little more than an hour west of Streator, my hometown in north central Illinois.

If you’re wondering why a person, like myself, would be interested in moving almost 10 hours away from home to be here in Marshall, it’s because of my intense passion for documenting the skills of athletes in the setting of a small town. Streator (13,710) and Marshall (13,680) have similar populations and climates. Although, I’m told winter is a little longer and colder up here.

Actually, I grew up on my father’s farm located about 5 miles northwest of Streator, where I learned that putting in a day of hard work pays off with big dividends. Other members of my family have worked as teachers and as carpenters. The combination of those sets of skills have molded me into what I have become today.

After working for several newspapers throughout my career, I have come to southwest Minnesota with 16 years of sports journalism experience. My sports sections have won statewide awards for their content on three occasions (2006, 2007 and 2011).

There is not a high school, college or recreational sport that I have not covered. If you are a fan of auto racing, baseball, basketball, bowling, boxing, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball or wrestling, I am your man.

I believe that an excellent sports section contains a wide variety of stories and information. I will also tell you that my definition of an excellent sports editor is a person who puts aside his or her feelings about a certain sport to bring you, the reader, that variety. I believe the best thing that I can do is bring you an accurate, balanced account without inserting myself or my opinions anywhere into the story.

I admit that I have never been a great athlete. When people ask me what sports I played during high school, I always tell them that, “I was the greatest benchwarmer we’ve ever had.” However, through watching sports from the sidelines, I learned how the games are played and why plays unfold like they do.

It wasn’t until I went to college that I finally realized my love for creative writing. When I discovered that I could utilize this skill to write about sports, I was hooked for life.

I think I have the greatest job in the world because I am paid money to watch sports for free. Throughout the years, many sports fans have told me that I have their dream job.

From what I have seen, The Marshall Independent has a well-constructed sports section. I intend to keep much of the same format that you currently see every day. There may be a few tweaks to the design, and I also have some fresh ideas that I would like to add.

When I am not living and breathing anything sports, I enjoy listening to CDs and playing classic rock music on my keyboard or my Fender Stratocaster guitar. Other interests include comedy, going out to dinner, concerts, movies, playing card games (Euchre and Poker), doing graphic design, listening to talk radio, reading (especially history and biographies), working with computers and surfing the Internet.

My family and friends will probably tell you that my best feature is my gift of gab. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with me if you see me at a sporting event. Since I am new around here, I don’t really know anyone and it would be nice to make a few new friends.

I am open to receiving input from outside sources. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or observations you would like to share about The Marshall Independent’s sports section, I am willing to listen to what you have to say. Feel free to reach me at the contact information below.

I can be reached from 3-11 p.m. Sunday through Friday by calling (507) 537-1551, Ext. 135, or by sending an email to