More live-streamed high school sports means hands-on experience for student broadcasters

On a final Friday, the Tuscarora football team ended their regular season with a senior night game against Heritage. There were two Tuscarora students on the call: Junior Ronan Heykoop and sophomore Shant Pamboukian. Together, the couple provided two hours of energy and analysis.

The story continues under the advertisement

“There will be another handover to [Tuscarora junior running back] Bryce Duke, and he’s got a hole. “Heykoop starts a call in the middle of the third quarter. “He turns around and puts two defenders on ice skates! Bryce Duke! Thirty! Twenty! Ten! Tail lights on the freeway, Bryce Duke is gone! “

“I’ve never seen a man who made high school football look as easy as he did,” Pamboukian replied.

The pandemic emergence of live streaming college sports has allowed some ambitious journalists like Heykoop and Pamboukian to gain hands-on experience.

Tuscarora is offering an elective broadcast journalism class in its sophomore year, and this year’s wobbly sports landscape is the perfect opportunity for Heykoop and Pamboukian to attract more listeners. Their games are broadcast on the National Federation of State High School Associations Network, a subscription service used by many programs in Northern Virginia.

The story continues under the advertisement

Students spent the winter calling home games for the boys ‘and girls’ basketball programs and resumed the spring with college soccer. Heykoop, a junior, plays play-by-play and Pamboukian, a sophomore, offers color commentary.

“I didn’t expect it to be this great,” said Pamboukian of the experience. “I thought I was going to take the class, get my credits, and go.”

In South Lakes, Senior Noah Shubert saw the first live streams of the basketball season and was broken by the silence. Shubert, who had journalistic writing experience for Sports Illustrated for Kids and the South Lakes Boosters, reached out to Leah Conte, director of activities, to help make play-by-play.

The story continues under the advertisement

“Good to go?” You can hear him ask right at the beginning of his first show before he starts an intro. “Greet everyone this Wednesday night to girls’ basketball at Wendell Byrd High School. … My name is Noah Shubert for South Lakes Basketball. “

By the end of the basketball season, Shubert had played more than 10 games. Most of them were in the stands with headsets on and notes in front of them. At first he feared that in the largely empty gym his voice was carrying too much for the players and coaches to hear his every word. But over time he felt more comfortable with the microphone.

“I had to learn to just be myself,” he said. “I had to get out of the zone where I was just worried about the game and let my personality flow into the show. I didn’t want it to be a robot report on what was happening. “

At Tuscarora, Heykoop is the steady hand when he entered the season with a year of experience. He did color annotations with then-Senior Aidan Butler last year and did play-by-play this season. As a freshman, he had accidentally signed up for Introduction to Journalism – he wanted to register for Introduction to the business. But in recent years he has devoted himself to practice.

The story continues under the advertisement

“It has become a bigger engagement than an AP [Advanced Placement] Great, ”said Heykoop.

During the pandemic, he set up a small podcast studio in his garage so he, Pamboukian, and other classmates could produce shows on topics of their choice.

When the sport resumed in the winter, he and Pamboukian devoted long hours to producing a program. They collected statistics, emailed opposing coaches, conducted pre-game interviews and took notes. They showed up an hour before each home basketball game and set up the technology required to join the NFHS network and provided a free audio-only option through the Mixlr online platform.

“The number of hours these boys invest is far higher than for any other class. That’s for sure, ”said Tuscarora journalism teacher Toni Kelley. “It really takes a lot of time and commitment.”

The story continues under the advertisement

The student broadcasters say that they now consume sport differently. You will take home game after game and pick up tips and tricks. When they play video games they name the game in their head. Anything to do with exercise is an opportunity to learn in order to get better.

“I didn’t start out thinking this was a career, but it’s been my main focus on my way to college ever since,” said Heykoop. “It’s going to be a lifestyle.”