This Maryland high school player profiles series is presented by the U.S. Army.
By Alexandra Radovic, CountySportsZone.com
As Quince Orchard football players head to the end zone with a tight grip on the ball, 15-year-old Adam Gotkin waits on the sidelines for them with an even tighter grip on his microphone.
Gotkin is no ordinary Quince Orchard High School student. Last September, he launched QuinceOrchardSportsNet, the only public school radio station in the state with a consistent all-sports broadcast.
“My whole life I’ve been completely in love with sports,” said Gotkin, who played for the school’s lacrosse team this season.
He said he came up with the idea after attending a play-by-play camp in Baltimore from 2015-2017, when he met a student from Connecticut who was streaming sports games at his own high school.
After hearing about what this student was doing, Gotkin took to his computer and wrote a lengthy email to his school principal proposing a similar idea.
“The response was, ‘We’ll definitely look into it, but it’s a lot,’” Gotkin said.
Eventually, Quince Orchard athletic director Jeff Rabberman agreed to take on the project.
“I thought it was a great idea,” Rabberman said. “Not only will it increase interest in our athletics program, but it will help give experience to the students in our school that might be interested in sports broadcasting.”
Gotkin said the school settled on doing radio instead of TV because of the cost.
“Radio is fun, but it takes a lot of skill and talent because you’re painting a picture,” Gotkin said.
“You have to do everything yourself,” he added.
Gotkin said his experience in radio has given him some unforgettable opportunities, including interviewing NBC Sports reporter Chad Ricardo and talking on the sidelines with writers from The Washington Post.
But he said it’s the personal connections he values the most. Gotkin recalled one of the Quince Orchard football players reaching out to him after a game to thank him.
“His grandpa in California was able to listen in and hear his grandson’s name on the radio,” Gotkin said.
Although he is the network’s main play-by-play reporter, Gotkin said he has a rotation of five or so students who have done games with him. They do spotting or color commentary.
“There’s someone in every single grade who has done it,” he said. “It’s boys and girls, which is really good. … It’s really grown as a club.”
Sixteen-year-old Ben Strober has done color commentary for a couple of games with Gotkin.
“It’s a very detailed description, live play-by-play of the game so people can stay updated and know the live score as it’s going on,” he said.
“[Adam] has such great knowledge about sports. … He knows all the stats, he does his research and he worked very hard to get QOSportsNet to what it is now.”
Gotkin said the network had nearly 5,000 listeners this year.
“A year ago now, it was just a little dream that I wasn’t so confident could happen,” he said.
Gotkin said QOSportsNet is a way to continue covering sports after The Town Courier, the school’s newspaper he wrote for, shut down a few months ago.Nonetheless, Gotkin said he wants to incorporate writing into QOSportsNet in the near future.
“I want to open up writing and podcasting and eventually get enough money and viewers to transition it into a TV sports network,” he said.
Rabberman said this could be possible with the installation of self-automated “pixellot” cameras in the school’s gyms and stadiums. Although Gotkin also enjoys covering boys’ basketball and girls’ soccer at Quince Orchard, he said his dream is to cover the Super Bowl.
“Adam’s dad and I are incredibly proud of his accomplishment,” Gotkin’s mother, Lisa, said. “He had a dream, did a lot of research, diligently followed up with school administrators, and most importantly never gave up. … We can’t wait to see where his passion for sports broadcasting takes him in the future.”