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Koutelas at bridge

New Waverly Newspapers Sports Editor Reed Koutelas poses near the Bremer Avenue bridge. The Kansas City native started with the newspaper on Monday, replacing former sports editor Riley Cole.

As I embarked on my morning walk to my first day of work Monday at my brand new job in my brand new city in a brand new state, I paused on Bremer Avenue, stared at the sunlight glimmering off the Cedar River and took a deep breath.

I needed a moment.

A mere three weeks ago, I was just a college graduate, searching for a job in an industry in which I’ve always craved to break into but isn’t exactly blooming with opportunities.

Three weeks ago, my path going forward was undefined and uncertain.

Three weeks ago, I didn’t even know Waverly, Iowa, existed.

Fast forward to now: I’ve just made the journey to northern Iowa, begun my first job as a sports journalist and settled into my new home (not without some drama — the original apartment I was supposed to move into flooded less than a week ago).

So, it’s been quite a transition, to say the least.

But now that I’m here, all I can say is that I’m incredibly excited to be Waverly Newspapers’ newest sports editor. Well, and that I’m already appreciating the cooler weather up here.

My name is Reed Koutelas. I grew up in Kansas City, and graduated from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree in May, and, yes, I’m a fan of the Chiefs, Royals and — most importantly — Patrick Mahomes.

Outside of sports, my list of hobbies includes drinking coffee, reading books, enjoying the outdoors, going to the movies and drinking more coffee.

But perhaps the most important thing you need to know about me is that I have a passion for reporting.

It was cultivated early and often growing up, when I frequently went to bed thinking about former Chiefs running back Priest Holmes’ touchdowns and woke up reading about 100-loss seasons from the Royals.

I knew I wanted to be a sports journalist a long time ago. My first true journalism experience came in high school, when I became the sports editor of our school paper, the Prep News, and wrote a monthly sports column titled, “Reed Between the Lines” (I loved the name, but my editor here thinks it’s cringe-worthy).

So it’s fitting that my first position in the real world is as a sports editor.

I’m 22 years old (two weeks from 23, terrifyingly) but I have some experience in this industry.

During my time at Mizzou, I covered prep football, basketball, soccer, volleyball among others, as well as Tiger men’s basketball for the Columbia Missourian, the city newspaper staffed by faculty and students of the MU journalism school.

My journalism experience isn’t limited to reporting: I served as an assistant sports editor for the Missourian my last semester and produced and hosted a podcast about Mizzou basketball.

My time in college brought me lots of bylines and even an Associated Press Sports Editor’s award for a breaking news story for a 2018 article about an injured basketball player.

Though I’m confident I have what it takes, it’s still daunting to be moving to a new city in a state I’m mostly unfamiliar with. (I hear Iowa has good pork tenderloins?) However, I know my passion will translate wherever I go.

That said, I’m not going to pretend I know everything. In fact, there’s a heck of a lot I don’t know, and that will always be the case.

So don’t hesitate to reach out to pitch me a story idea, correct one of my mistakes or just yell at me in general. I can be quite receptive.

For now, I’m going to be reaching out to coaches and players, trying my best to bring you the sports content you desire.

And try to enjoy the Cedar River.

How could I not?