Austin Lagesse '17 & Abigail Schlueter '17


Photo of Austin Lagesse '17

 
Austin Lagesse '17 

  • Sport Management major from Bourbonnais, Illinois

  • President of the McKendree Sports Management Society

  • Student broadcaster for McKendree, covering 12 sports and 15 different teams

  • Broadcast three championship tournaments for the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), including a historic victory for McKendree

          • Interned with USA Softball


Photo of Abigail Schlueter '17

   Abigail Schlueter '17 

  • Organizational Communications major and Sports Psychology minor from Mascoutah, Illinois

  • Member of Bearcat Rotaract

  • Student worker for McKendree Sports Information Department and Student Success Center

  • Student broadcaster for the 2015 and 2016 Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Basketball Tournament

  • Interned with Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA)

 
by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney '10


Broadcasting championship games for an NCAA Division II athletic conference may seem like an exciting career that requires years of experience to achieve. For two McKendree seniors with a passion for sports, however, it became a reality even before they earned their college degree.

Sport management major Austin Lagesse ’17 and organizational communications major Abigail Schlueter ’17 have discovered that the sky’s the limit when it comes to one-of-a-kind opportunities at McKendree. Each got their start in sports broadcasting for the university before taking on the chance of a lifetime as students working for the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).


Austin first took an interest in broadcast communication while still in high school. Once he came to McKendree, it wasn’t long before his voice became a familiar sound as a sports announcer for Bearcat games. “When I first came for a campus visit, I had the chance to meet the university’s Sports Information Director Scott Cummings, and we talked about my interests,” said Austin. “Since then, I have been able to broadcast and cover 12 sports and 15 different teams. I learned how to connect with listeners on my broadcast and make it feel as if the viewer at home is watching the game from the stands.”

 

Quotation Graphic"I learned how to connect with listeners on my broadcast and make it feel as if the viewer at home is watching the game from the stands."


Abigail’s love for sports started all the way back in childhood when she played not only soccer, softball, and volleyball, but also basketball, gymnastics, and ballet. As a McKendree student looking for on-campus employment, she stumbled onto a job in the university’s Sports Information Office and realized how much she missed athletics. “My job soon became less work and more fun,” she said. “I learned how to stat softball, volleyball, and basketball and found that there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes at sporting events.”

Austin and Abigail’s experience assisting the McKendree Athletics Department helped them take their next step as student broadcasters for the GLVC, an NCAA Division II conference spanning five states. For Austin, his broadcasts of Bearcat games attracted the attention of GLVC leaders, who invited him to work as an announcer for the championship conference tournaments in men’s soccer (2015 and 2016), softball (2016 and 2017), and women’s soccer (2016).

 

Photo of Abigail Schlueter '17 and Austin Lagesse '17 Sitting in Bleachers

One of Austin’s most memorable experiences at the GLVC was calling the final game in the women’s soccer championship tournament that gave McKendree its first-ever GLVC championship title win in any sport. “I think it was big for fans who were listening back home to hear a familiar voice call such a big moment in McKendree athletics history,” Austin said. “We’re lucky to be part of a great conference with leaders who care about the development of students’ skills. My experience with the GLVC taught me how a conference office works and the amount of time and effort that goes into putting together a conference tournament.”


Abigail attended the 2015 GLVC basketball tournament and was later selected as one of 12 students from seven different universities to run the GLVC Sports Network during the 2016 basketball tournament. Her creation of a sights and sounds video for the women’s championship game in 2015 showed conference leaders the scope of her talent. In 2016, she was given even greater responsibility, creating a highlights video for four games during the tournament and running a production truck for two additional games.

 

Quotation Graphic"My job soon became less work and more fun. I learned how to stat softball, volleyball, and basketball and found that there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes at sporting events."


Both Austin and Abigail also landed some impressive internships they know will set them apart for a future in sports broadcasting. Abigail picked up technical experience and developed her professional sports writing skills as an intern for the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). Similarly, Austin helped organize the World Cup of Softball and served as a media liaison for the athletes of USA Softball.

Each credit the personal connections they formed at McKendree with the unique opportunities they’ve had to grow professionally. “It’s the at-home feeling I get when I walk into an office,” Abigail said. “I love the people I have been fortunate enough to work for and with, and I feel prepared to start working or pursue additional schooling.”

Austin agrees. “My favorite part of being a McKendree student is the relationships I’ve built with the people I work with,” he said. “The opportunities I have been given to grow as an individual here cannot be replaced.”

Learn more about McKendree University, Sport Management, Sports Psychology and Communication Programs.    


 


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