Good morning, St. Cloud area.

Today we are announcing a set of new high school sports recognition efforts from Times Media.

What better time to make the announcements than the day before practice starts for fall prep sports?

First, we are expanding the number of our All-Area teams and players of the year. For the first time, we will have All-Area teams in wrestling, swimming, track and field, tennis, gymnastics, dance team and Nordic skiing.

Area coaches and activity directors will be talking with us in the coming weeks to determine how each team will be selected. When those processes are completed, we will tell readers what to expect.

The Athlete of the Week feature will resume each Thursday starting Aug. 27. Sports writer Andy Rennecke, one of our staff experts on Central Minnesota high school sports, will coordinate the effort. He will be assisted by others on our sports staff.

Finally, we are planning to hold a Central Minnesota Prep Sports Awards event in June.

This major event will include a top-tier speaker. We will be inviting players from the All-Area teams, athletes of the week and winners of several new awards and their families to this red-carpet event.

We will present some new awards, including Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year and several inspirational awards.

Readers will be invited to join us in selecting some fun awards with online voting during the prep seasons. Examples could be: best uniforms, best mascot, best fan experience.

Stay tuned for more details on the prep sports awards event in the coming weeks.

Starting next Sunday, we will publish online and in print our high school football previews. We will run three teams in each day’s Sports section. The first high school football games are Aug. 22.

But wait, there’s more!

Look for a new Central Minnesota prep sports app to debut in the next week or so. It will be your guide to Central Minnesota high school sports. The free app for iPhones and Androids will have stories, photos and videos. Also, it will have scores, schedules, standings and statistics.

It will give you the entire prep sports scene in the palm of your hand.

Stay tuned for more details in the next week.

I’m ending with a short commercial: I don’t want you to miss any of this great prep sports coverage. Not a subscriber? Go to or call customer service at 1-877-424-4921 to subscribe.

This is the opinion of St. Cloud Times Executive Editor John Bodette, Follow him on Google Plus under jlbodette; on Twitter @jlbodette and on Facebook, John Bodette — St. Cloud Times.