Harless takes over Sidney Daily News’ sports department

Sidney wasn’t much more to Ryan Harless than a town on Interstate 75 exit signs at about the midpoint of the journey between his hometown of Hillsboro and Bowling Green, where he went to college.

Now, it’s home.

Harless started as the Sidney Daily News’ assistant editor and sports writer in late June. His first byline appeared last week, and he’s kept busy the last few weeks covering Legion and ACME baseball and touring Shelby County.

“I had never been to Sidney outside of I’m sure stopping at Love’s on the way to BG for a pit stop,” Harless, who graduated from Bowling Green in the spring, said. “It’s all very new.

“… I’m enjoying it a good bit. Everybody that I’ve talked to outside of the office, in terms of the AD’s that I‘ve messaged, and even the people at the games, have been super nice, super helpful.”

Harless may be new to the area but isn’t new journalism. He graduated with a major in Sports Management and a minor in Journalism and worked as a freelancer for the Fremont News-Messenger as part of a class in the spring semester.

He covered many basketball games for the News-Messenger, including Castalia Margaretta, which advanced to a Division III regional final.

“It was kind of a different animal to go up there and see teams …with a cohesiveness,” Harless said. “They seem to take sports more seriously than outside of, ‘I’m friends with an AD, so my kid plays,’ and stuff like that.

“It seemed to be an environment where they cared more about growing people within their organizations and foster a good environment for the students.”

Harless has already become familiar with the success and expectation level area schools have; the signs on roads at major entrance points to area villages with long lists of state championships is something he wasn’t used to seeing growing up around Hillsboro.

“The level of competition, I’m really excited to see,” Harless said. “I know there’s not like a giant crop of individual athletes that go on to play pro, but there’s a lot of students and athletes that go and play higher levels, which is something that is completely foreign to me.

“So it’ll be really cool just to see really good, competitive teams and competitive games, and to be expecting postseason runs is something I’m excited about.”

Harless likes many sports, but he loves baseball. He is a Cincinnati Reds fan.

“I think I started playing it when I was three years old, T-ball,” Harless said. “I can remember coming home from school when I was in like middle school and really into baseball cards at the time.

“And every single day, I would just come home, and I would go to my baseball cards, and I would literally just read the backs of them over and over again and study them. So for whatever reason, baseball got a hold on me.”

Aside from sports, Harless grew up as an outdoormen. He is a drummer and enjoys music; attended many live shows while in college. He also enjoys golfing in his free time.

Harless replaces Bryant Billing as the head of the paper’s sports department. Billing took over as the paper’s editor in April.

“I’m delighted to have Ryan on staff,” Billing said. “He’s already a strong reporter and writer, and I think he will thrive covering area athletics. I look forward to reading the stories he will tell about area teams and players.”

Harless has come to the SDN at a time of transition for high school sports. The OHSAA’s expansion of tournament divisions for all team sports is expected to create more opportunities for deep tournament runs for all area schools.

“I’ll still be on the sidelines some helping Ryan out,” Billing said. “It’s a good time to have two sports writers on staff. There have always been days with tournament games going on at the same time at different locations, and I think that will be commonplace now, when we’ll have teams competing in three or four different divisions, depending on the season and sport.”

Harless can be reached at [email protected] or at 937-538-4651.