The West Liberty University Television Production crew has been proud to bring play by play action to thousands of viewers during the Hilltoppers march to another NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship. The production crew, composed of about 25 students, worked diligently to bring quality television coverage for every home basketball game, as well as a few games on the road. Theresa Gretchen, Executive Producer/Executive Director of WLU-TV and leader of the production crew, is very proud of the work the students have put in throughout the season. “I am so proud of all of them. It’s always so hard to let them go. We spend so much time together and really are family. I’m so excited for the bright future that lies ahead for each of them,” stated Gretchen.
This year’s student crew includes five seniors, three who will be graduating in May. Danielle Zacherl, a senior broadcast communications major from Moundsville, is confident that her experiences with WLU-TV will help take her to higher levels in her career. “Being on the crew didn’t feel like school to me. It felt more like a professional job. That will be the number one benefit when I’m trying to get a job in the real world.” Zacherl was the primary graphics operator for nearly all sports events produced by WLU-TV, and also the producer and host of Inside West Liberty. “I can’t believe that I’ll be leaving, but I know that every single experience, from directing to camera to running graphics, will benefit me so much in the future,” said Zacherl. “I’m so thankful for every moment I had here.”
Kayla Stickley, a senior broadcasting major from Moorefield, WV, reflected on her experiences this past season. “Basketball has always been one of my favorite sports, and working with the crew on these games feels like a blessing. I got every opportunity at West Liberty.” Kayla served in many positions throughout the season, from operating the floor camera in basketball to sideline reporting and running instant replay.
Samantha Gretchen, a senior from McMechen, WV, is also very pleased with the opportunities she received at West Liberty. Gretchen, who served as a sideline reporter for both football and basketball will carry these experiences with her. “Interviewing people like Coach Crutchfield and the players was an opportunity that I don’t think I would have received anywhere else. Learning from these experiences will help me out in my future career as a reporter, and I know I’ll always be able to carry these lessons with me.”
Other seniors with the broadcasting crew include Jared Bailey, a broadcasting major from Parkersburg, WV, Zach Cochran, a digital media design major from Jane Lew, WV, and Clair Pockl, a digital media design student from Mount Olivet, WV.
Of course, graduations are always a bittersweet moment; something Theresa Gretchen has to face every year. “I always tell everyone that I couldn’t do one day of my job without the hard work and dedication of The WLU-TV student crew. All of [them] are among the hardest working students at WLU. I have a huge family thanks to my job and each of [them] always know where to find me. I’ll give [them] all the same advice I’ve given every crew member – a bit of advice that my Pappy passed down to me- ‘Never forget where you came from, always believe in yourself and find an opportunity in every obstacle.’ I love each of [them] and feel blessed that our paths crossed! Go get ‘em kids!”
- Story by Jared Thompson