The end of an era, a changing of the guard

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By Avery Wenck, Sports Editor

There are often times in your life that you will be pushed down or kicked while you’re down. It is a part of life that we all must go through, because how you react to these situations is what defines you and ultimately makes you a stronger person. I thought this was extremely relevant to this lovely three-page space, which I have controlled for the past year.

When I got brought onto staff here at The Gateway, I was completely alone. I wasn’t a journalism student, although broadcasting and journalism seemingly go together nowadays.

I had also never worked on a newspaper before, despite having the opportunity in high school. I didn’t know anyone very well on staff and I knew coming into it, there would be an awkward period where I would need to integrate myself into the team.

At the same time, I had also been brought onto the staff for MavRadio. Like any other underclassmen in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or what major suited me. I thought I wanted to be an engineer, until I realized I was just chasing money, which is not the type of person I am.

I had to get back to the basics. Remember when your teachers used to ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? My answer was always the same: I want to work for ESPN.

I reached out to Jodeane Brownlee last spring about getting involved with the radio station and she was extremely inviting. I started producing all of the basketball and baseball games, which unbeknownst to me, was something no one else wanted to do.

This transitioned into me being offered the sports director job, which was a no-brainer to accept. I was thrilled at the opportunity and couldn’t wait to get started with the station and with my new broadcasting major which brought me joy like never before.

With both positions, I knew it was going to take a lot of work to integrate myself. I had no knowledge of journalism or putting a newspaper together. In both jobs, I was given no direction or assistance, just thrown into the fire—exactly how I’d want it.

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Obviously, like with everything in life, there were highs and lows. I learned until I felt I was putting together a good product for the people who read it. For those people, especially the athletics department, I’d like to thank you.

The comments I read about a story or piece that someone enjoyed are what kept me motivated to keep going. The athletics department was extremely helpful while I juggled both positions, and were supportive of my needs the whole way.

I’d also like to thank the Publications Board and The Gateway staff. Prior to this year, I never had the experience of an office setting like I’ll presumably see in the near future after I graduate.

Despite the occasional rocky times, I consider each and every one of you a friend of mine and believe I can come to you if I’m ever in need. Know that you can do the same with me.

The content we put out this year was second to none, and the massiveness that was the Boston coverage was handled gracefully.  I don’t think we get the credit we deserve for the work we do, but you definitely proved any doubters of this paper wrong this year.

To the students of this fine university, pat yourselves on the back. You are without question the finest set of fans in this state. People have always looked down upon UNO as Lincoln and Creighton’s little brother, but you are doing a damn good job of changing that attitude.

Never before have I seen the student body so close. The atmosphere around campus lately is so positive and for that, I thank you.

You came in droves to support our athletes this year, whether it be soccer, volleyball or hockey. The athletes and the athletics department as a whole notice your support, and you’re turning heads. Keep it up.

To the broadcasting students I’ve met over the course of my first year in the program, I thank you for your unending helpfulness. I’ve always been eager to learn as much as possible, and despite joining the program late, you have all been so incredible toward me.

Despite stepping back under difficult circumstances, you’ve always shown faith in me to succeed. I regret absolutely none of the deci-sions I’ve made over the past year. I believe you have to fight for what you want.

When other people won’t fight for you, it’s up to you to go and get what you want. I always do what I feel is right, and I’ll believe that for the rest of my life.

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Finally, and most importantly, thanks to all of the Maverick athletes. I was worried at first about getting into this business as I wasn’t sure how you’d perceive me. Let me just say that you have been nothing but incredible from my first game this past fall to the final presser in the spring.

I still do believe you are the best athletes in Nebraska and nothing will deter me from that belief. From a regular season co-championship by the soccer team, to the hockey team’s Frozen Four appearance, to the basketball team’s win over Marquette, you’ve all shown why you’re elite student athletes.

I wish I had the space to individually congratulate each team for their accomplishments over the past year and a half, but I cannot. Just know that the national media has noticed you and the hard work you’ve put in. Our programs are on the climb, so let’s keep it going!

Unfortunately, all things must come to an end eventually. It’s time for new faces to take over and try their hand at these positions. As college students, it is important that we get as much real life experience as possible while we are still here.

Whether that be internships with local or national companies, or opportunities on campus, you have to take advantage of them to learn and bulk up your resume. It would be extremely selfish of me to hog these opportunities for myself even after I’ve gained a year of experience on both ends.

Due to that, I’d like to congratulate Sam Murphy and Noah Sullinger, who will take over for me next year at MavRadio as Sports Directors for the fall and spring semesters, respectively. I’d also like to congratulate Nithya Rajagopalan for being appointed the next editor-in-chief of The Gateway.  You will do a fantastic job leading this paper into the future and I’m looking forward to what will come next.

To the next sports editor, all I will say is this: enjoy yourself. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. The experience gained and connections made through this job will serve you for the rest of your life. Seize the moment!

This won’t be the last of me, though. I will still be the voice of Maverick athletics until the day I graduate. Although I will have a reduced role, you will still be able to catch me on the call for soccer and hockey games next year.

I will also have my radio show, which is a great way to get through your day if you enjoy sports as much as I do! I will be implementing a lot of video next year, so be on the lookout for that as I will allow you to see and get to know your UNO athletes like never before!

One of Avery Wenck’s first times calling play-by-play was during the game against WMU. Photos by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway
One of Avery Wenck’s first times calling play-by-play was during the game against WMU. Photos by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway

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