Sports

Voice of the Valley: Baltputnis makes his mark on local sports, set for 17th State Track Meet

The German born, Valley bred man is an announcing legend across the State.

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) - Andris Baltputnis has been a fixture in high school sports for 26 years.

Valley fans may not recognize the name, but his voice is unmistakable. From football and basketball games, to track and swim meets, Baltputnis has called them all...making him a true "voice of the Valley."

Every sporting event has a start, a finish, and a soundtrack. High above the action, you can find Baltputnis, in his element.

"It's like riding a bicycle, at first you're very awkward when you get on it, but then once you get the feel for it, you ride," says Baltputnis, a local sports announcer.

"That's the way this is, you get a feel for it."

Andris started announcing events back in 1992. Over the next two decades, he's called over 1,000 sporting events, and not just here in the Valley.

Down in Columbus, this marks his 17th straight year announcing the Ohio State Track Meet.

"I would say facilitator probably. You have to be able to do just about everything," said Baltputnis.

"You have to be a historian, you have to be aware of who the top athletes are, you don't want to short anybody recognition."

Andris's voice is recognized across the State and even the Country. He's done the Big Ten Track Meet seven times and the NCAA Championships twice.

"I'll be doing a basketball game somewhere and a fan will come out of the stands down to the announcers table and they say, hey your voice. Aren't you the guy that does the state track meet? And it's a different sport, but they recognize me. That happens quite a bit."

For Andris, preparation starts well before the event. He follows a detailed system that includes hours and even days of homework.

"I hate mispronouncing anyone's. Because I know how important names are to people."

Andris is now 71 years old, he retired 5 years ago. But for now, you'll still find him right here in the Valley announcing, right where he's supposed to be.

"I would want to be remembered, someone who was not on any kind of ego trip that did it because he loved the kids and just wanted to continue to be around them."

 


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