GLVCSN Extra Credit program equals extra experience for college students

By Shane Hulsey

“This is way bigger than the Mabee Center.”

That was Gray Paholke’s reaction when he arrived at the Vadalabene Center, which holds nearly twice as many people as his college’s home gym.

“It was kind of a ‘holy crap’ moment,” he said.

Paholke, a freshman at William Jewell College, was one of 12 students from eight member schools of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) to take part in the GLVC Sports Network Extra Credit program. On March 7 and 8, these 12 students took over two game broadcasts during the GLVC Basketball Championship Tournament at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

The students had full control of the broadcasts, providing play-by-play, color and sideline commentary, using production software to control cameras, graphics and ads, providing updates on social media, and more.

Paholke provided color commentary for both games. He said the experience shattered his expectations.

“I thought we would all have pretty limited roles since there were so many students,” he said. “But it was the exact opposite. The freedom they gave to the broadcasting team was amazing.”

The Extra Credit students were not completely on their own, however.

Mentors like McKendree University senior Grant Riggs and University of Indianapolis senior Mallory Moreno helped students through the process. Riggs served as a mentor for University of Southern Indiana senior Betzaira Suarez Ramos on the production, and Moreno did the same for Maryville University senior Emmy Naes, who reported from the sidelines for the two Extra Credit broadcasts.

Lewis University senior Adam King, who broadcasts Flyers games on GLVCSN and WLRA, the school’s radio station, joined Paholke on the broadcast for both games. King had never participated in Extra Credit before, but he recognized the opportunity he had and jumped at it.

“Up until then, all I was doing was Lewis sponsored events,” he said. “I hadn’t gotten my foot in the door with anything else.”

Better late than never, though.

“I think the GLVC is a great place to start,” he said. “Having a college network on a resume is always useful.”

Quincy University freshman Jayme Bertish ran the GLVCSN and GLVC Sports social media accounts during both games. Bertish provided pre-, in- and post-game updates, reporting score updates after every period, taking pictures and video, and noting key plays and statistics. He also got footage of the Extra Credit crew before, during and after the broadcast.

Jayme Bertish (front left) manages the GLVC social media accounts during the University of Southern Indiana vs Bellarmine University women’s basketball game March 8 at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Illinois (photo courtesy @GLVCsports on Twitter).

Bertish, who aspires to be a social media manager, said he had some butterflies at first.

“Doing it as a freshman was a bit scary because I didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous I may mess up,” he said.

Those butterflies are gone now.

“I feel it was important I started now, though, because I have one under my belt and have more confidence,” he said. “It was a great experience and I look forward to doing it for the years to come.”

Paholke said the added pressure of these being postseason games made the experience that much more valuable.

“I think throwing us into the fire helped us understand what it takes to perform in a high stakes situation,” he said.

Maybe the Vadalabene Center won’t feel so big next time.

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