When it comes to broadcast sports coverage at the high school level, Frederick High School’s Golden Eagles Broadcast Network (GEBN) has established high standards.
Last week, GEBN took home the “First-Place in Play-by-Play Sports Program” award from the Colorado Student Media Association. The Golden Eagles’ coverage of the boys’ basketball matchup between Frederick and Harrison in the Sweet 16 of the CHSAA playoffs in February claimed the gold.
Jake Marsing, GEBN advisor and social studies teacher at FHS, said the award is essentially winning the state championship in broadcasting. That’s especially impressive, considering this is the first year the network has existed as it’s currently constructed.
“It’s really been a testament to our students who work hard every day. We have amazing student leaders,” Marsing said. “The thing that’s really allowed us to take off has been the leadership and the work ethic of students, who put in an enormous amount of work every day to make us better.”
There’s been an exponential amount of improvement from the beginning of the year to where they are now. It wasn’t too long ago they were streaming on an iPad with little-to-no idea what they were doing. But a lot of the credit goes to underclassmen who stepped up, Marsing said.
Two of those underclassmen are Carly Evans and Zoe Wittler, the broadcasting team that won the award for the Golden Eagles. Evans is a freshman and Wittler is sophomore, but they’re both naturals on the microphone.
While Evans handles the play-by-play, Wittler, a standout basketball player in her own right for the school, adds experienced color commentary.
“Definitely jumping into the color helps having played basketball before,” Wittler said. “You’re able to bring all of your knowledge and perspective of the game from a player’s standpoint to the color commentary… You’re able to say ‘this is how the players might feel in this situation.’”
Wittler admits it can be difficult to call the games without wanting to lace up her own shoes, but she’ll often walk off the court directly after playing her own games to call the boys’ games on air.
“To be honest, I think it just kind of came up, you know what I mean?” Evans said. “It was kind of in the back of my head. I always knew that I wanted to do something that involved being on-air. But I didn’t think it would go this far. I’m really honored to be a part of this program and it’s just a really cool opportunity, especially to win this award.”
Evans always provides some color commentary during the football season, and she was nominated by FHS to be the Colorado Broadcaster of the Year.
Students have the opportunity to serve different roles within the network, such as the associate producer, executive producer, play-by-play broadcaster, and more.
Khloe Gould, a sophomore, is the current executive producer who will move into the associate producer role next year.
The commitment to the program by the students who run it has resulted in success, Gould said. Before finding the winning recipe, they stuck through the harder months, and allowed themselves to make mistakes and learn from them, she added.
But there’s still room for success, according to sophomore Mason Shafranek. He sees the success that GEBN has experienced, but he’s not satisfied. When he moves into the executive producer role next year, he’ll be hungry to keep growing.
“Moving forward into next year, we have a lot of new stuff coming for the program. I think we can continue to up our quality and [get to the] tip-top. I think we keep pushing forward and make some big progress next year,” Shafranek said.
Now many of the underclassmen will take larger roles as upperclassmen, while still having years of time to contribute and continue to build the award-winning program.
The seniors are sad to leave, but have nothing but the utmost confidence in the underclassmen to hit the ground running and continue to enjoy success for years to come.
“I’m super confident in this group,” senior Carlie Trujillo-Strange said. “I know I’m leaving with a really good play-by-play broadcaster in Carly Evans [and Zoe Wittler] as well. Everyone has done so well in figuring it out, and I know we’re leaving this with a good team.”
Trujillo-Strange was the first member of the network to conduct on-court interviews on the game versus Harrison, a favorite memory she’ll carry with her into the future.
“The future of GEBN is extraordinarily bright,” Marsing said. “We have underclassmen leadership across the board. Three of our four producers for next year are going to be juniors; they aren’t even seniors next year. We’ve really benefited from a couple seniors especially who have been with us since last year when we were just trying to figure out what outlet plugs into where. But the future is super bright and we’re excited about the evolution of the program.”
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