Bryant Billing new sports editor

SIDNEY — Bryant Billing, 25, has joined the Sidney Daily News staff as sports editor.

The Springfield native has deep Shelby County roots. His great-great-grandfather, Jacob Billing, is buried in Pearl Cemetery near Anna. His great-grandfather, Albert Billing, is buried in Beechwood Cemetery in Lockington. His grandfather, Thurman Billing, grew up in Lockington before moving to Troy. The Billings first arrived from Baden, Germany, and settled in Shelby County in the 1850s, the sportswriter said.

He knows all that because when he’s not following local sports, genealogy is one of his hobbies.

He has, however, been following local sports since he was a sophomore in Kenton Ridge High School. That’s when Billing began covering games for The Springfield Paper. Before he graduated in 2010, he had become sports editor of the weekly publication. He tracked contests of high schools in Clark and Champaign counties and also wrote about Ohio State University football games.

“OSU games were fun, but they were grueling, long days,” Billing said. “I’m glad I got to go to all those games. I went to the OSU-Michigan game the last time Michigan won. I’m bad luck for OSU.”

By the time he left The Springfield Paper in December 2011, he was in college at Wright State University. But going to college didn’t end his sportswriting. With Casey Matteson, he founded Top Billing Sports, a website that published news and broadcast “radio” reports of high school sports in the Springfield and Dayton areas. The site was active until 2016, when Billing became a sports stringer — a part-time writer — for the Dayton Daily News and Springfield News Sun.

Along the way, he has garnered a first-place Ohio Prep Sportswriter Association award for a game article and second-place awards for news and feature writing.

And the whole time he was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications, a degree he received in April 2017, he held down a campus job in the Wright State shipping and receiving department.

He began his tenure at the Sidney Daily News, Aug. 14.

“We’re excited to welcome Bryant to the Sidney Daily News family,” said Editor Melanie Speicher. “We know he has big shoes to fill in replacing Ken Barhorst, but we have confidence in his ability to continue Ken’s dedication to the the local sports teams and athletes. Bryant will bring his own sports knowledge to enhance our strong sports coverage for our readers.”

Billing said his favorite sport to write about is basketball.

“I love hoops,” he noted. “I like how close you are to the game and I like the constant action of basketball. One of the things I’m most excited about is how big basketball is here. I’ve covered (Shelby County) teams in tournaments (when the teams were) playing Springfield-area teams.”

He finds volleyball the most difficult chronicle.

“It’s the same repetitive action throughout the game. It’s hard to give a play-by-play,” he said. “It’s also hard to (photograph).”

Billing thinks his biggest challenge at the Sidney Daily News will be getting to know all the schools and teams here.

“I built up 10 years of institutional knowledge in the Springfield area. I’m starting from scratch here, trying to figure out who coaches what,” he said.

But he looks forward to covering Shelby County League basketball and Sidney High School sports, “with the rebirth they’re having in football and basketball. They have three players with Division I offers in football,” he noted.

Although he played youth league soccer and basketball when he was growing up, Billing doesn’t participate in sports as a player now. When he’s not covering a game, a match or a race, he does nature photography and listens to music. He likes what he refers to as “older” music, by the Band, Jackson Browne, Jim Croce, James Taylor and Bob Dylan. He also enjoys his pet dog, a 14-year-old miniature Schnauzer, Sadie.

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By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.