Getting invited to the Media Classic means you are one of the top basketball players in and around the Tri-Cities.
If youre good enough to earn a repeat invite, chances are youre good enough to play college ball somewhere.
Three times or more, its likely that greatness has already found you.
Richland senior Nathan Streufert and Hanford senior Colette Gall have already left indelible marks on the history of high school basketball in Tri-Cities, but both are looking forward to their final Media Classic appearance today at Yakima Valley Community College.
The girls game will begin at 2 p.m., followed by the boys game at 4 p.m. Admission to the 21st annual event is $5, and children 5 and under are free.
Streufert will make his third appearance in the annual all-star game between players from the Tri-City Herald readership and the Yakima Herald readership, while Gall will join a short list of players who have been invited all four years.
Its really been an honor to play the last three years, said Streufert, the Mid-Columbia Conference MVP who led the Bombers to a 25-1 record and a berth in the Class 4A championship game. It feels good to be recognized as one of the top players in the Mid-Columbia. Im excited to play.
Gall became the top scorer in the history of the Falcons girls program this season, breaking Tori Bakers school record set in 1987. Shes looking forward to one final chance to play with Chiawana senior Delaney Hodgins, her best friend and longtime teammate with the AAU Sagebrush club team.
We grew up playing together, but this will be the last time, Gall said.
Streufert, too, will enjoy his last chance to play with Richland teammates Steven Beo, Jacob Devries and Payton Radliff.
It means a lot. The last time playing with them was a loss. Now we can avenge that in a meaningless game, Streufert said. This is a great opportunity to go out with them.
The Tri-City boys team hasnt had much luck taking out the Yakima side. In the events 20th year, Yakima leads the series 19-5, but Tri-City won back-to-back games in 2011-12. Streufert was a part of the last TC victory in Yakima two years ago and hopes to go out a winner.
He also doesnt mind that defense is mostly optional in the playground-style setting.
There are some guys that try and some that just let it go, Streufert said. I wish we could just forget about (defense) entirely.
Gall has never lost to Yakima in her three years on the Tri-City team, which leads the girls series 16-8 and has won the last six games.
We really do try to play together, and we really do want to beat Yakima, she said.
Columbia Basin College coaches Rolando Garcia and Cheryl Holden will lead the Tri-City teams, while Yakima Valley coaches Ray Funk (men) and Greg Oldham (women) will guide the Yakima teams.
A three-point shooting contest will be held at halftime of the girls game.
The Media Classic began back in 1994 as the brainchild of then-Yakima Herald sports editor Jim Scoggins and his Tri-City Herald counterpart Jim Riley.
Both Tri-Cities teams won their games that first year.
From 2000-03, the series was expanded with a small-school game and a big-school game. And for the last 10 years, it's back to one boys and one girls game.
Steven Beo, Richland; Terran Brown, River View; Jacob Devries, Richland; Daniel Getchell, Southridge; Wesley Henderson, Chiawana; Eric Klicker, Walla Walla; Victor Koval, Chiawana; Ross Lake, Walla Walla; Mitchel Mueller, Kennewick; Gabe Porter, Walla Walla; Payton Radliff, Richland; Chris Ryckman, Columbia-Burbank; Nathan Streufert, Richland; Kendall Watson, Hanford; Aaric Wren, Chiawana.
Austin Backes, Eisenhower; Gus Bonny, La Salle ; Justin Dunsmore, Zillah; Isaiah Gonzales, Grandview; Isaiah Harris, East Valley; Randy Isadore, Toppenish; Max Jones, Davis; Junior Ledgard, Ellensburg; Nikhil Lizotte, Davis; Nick Navarro, Davis sophomore; Isaiah Ruiz, Grandview; Jace Van De Brake, West Valley; Christian Vela, Wapato; Cameron Walker, Naches Valley; Brady Widner, Zillah.
Bailey Cartwright, Chiawana; Kennedy Corrigan, Richland; Madi Doepker, Walla Walla; Holly Ellison, Kamiakin; Colette Gall, Hanford; Braydey Hodgins, Chiawana; Delaney Hodgins, Chiawana; Kate Ferenz, Walla Walla; Mikayla Ferenz, Walla Walla; Julie Mosqueda, Columbia-Burbank; Sierra Perez, Pasco; Shyler Sullivan, Southridge; Sira Toure, Kamiakin; Hailey Turner, Richland; Kendra Winchester, Chiawana;
Vanessa Alvarez, Sunnyside; Deanna Avalos, La Salle; Tara Bremer, Toppenish; Marissa Caballero, Grandview; Lexi Carpenter, East Valley; Alexis Gratton, Davis; Ashley Gray, West Valley; Gese Gruber, Ellensburg; Cayla Jones, White Swan; Alyssa Nash, Mabton; Alexa Orcutt, Ellensburg; Alexis Perez, Davis; Jordan Rodriguez, Sunnyside; Zara Rodriguez, Eisenhower; Monica Villegas, Zillah.