By Fiona Rosenthal
If you have been to a WHS basketball game this year, you might have seen a student in a suit and tie sitting courtside with a headset on. He might have been calling out “Access denied!” when a blocked shot occurred or dubbing senior Nick Mele “Chief Thief” after the WHS guard notched a steal. This is Varsity Vantage’s “Voice of the Blue Devils,” sophomore Michael Leniart, doing what he loves.
Leniart volunteers at Varsity Vantage, a company that specializes in film and photography of high school sports. He serves as a play-by-play announcer for WHS girls and boys basketball broadcasts. Leniart also will work on play-by-play for lacrosse and baseball games this spring and will do the same for football next fall. These games are broadcast on YouTube and then Channel 36 a few days later. For Leniart, however, this is not as simple as showing up to the game. “Preparing for the game is one of the easier parts,” he said, noting that he spends about an hour and a half reviewing statistics and rosters before the game, then goes home after the game to edit the broadcast before posting it on YouTube.
This work relates to Leniart’s future aspirations. “I plan on doing this in college wherever I go,” he said. “I’ve been interested in sports broadcasting for a while.” You could say the interest has been inherited, as Leniart’s father used to broadcast games for the Martinsville (VA) Phillies, a former Single-A minor-league baseball team. Leniart mentioned that he still has a lot to learn. “There might be some of the playoff games where I get a little too excited and do too much talking,” he said. “I’ve got to try to be more conversational because when you’re watching a game you don’t want to hear someone screaming the whole time.”
Every game, Leniart works with sophomore videographers Harrison Bailey and Chris Calamano and two sports analysts, sophomore Alex Kingsley and senior Mack Liederman.
To watch Leniart’s broadcasts, check out his YouTube Channel, “Michael Leniart,” or head over to Varsity Vantage’s Facebook page.