Camera Calls Petrovic to Screen

By Dakota Grossman

Even as a first grader, Alexia Petrovic of the University of Utah women’s tennis team knew she wanted to be on camera.

News was her initial passion, but when Petrovic discovered her love for sports, she wanted to get into sports broadcasting. It was not until her young adult years when her dreams started to become reality. Petrovic began commentating in high school at basketball games, and she loved the experience.

During her freshman year as a Ute, she felt she was still discovering what opportunities were available in the industry. Petrovic’s restless and competitive attitude pushed her to apply for a summer internship in her hometown of Chicago with the Big Ten Network.

“It made me work really hard and prove that I could hang with people that had more experience than me,” Petrovic said. “I really enjoyed my time there, and I learned a lot.”

That internship gave Petrovic the confidence that kick-started her journey of sports commentating. Her first internship with Utah Athletics was with the Red Rocks where she did sideline reporting as well as pre- and post-meet interviews. Along the way, she had the opportunity to do video work and live streams alongside the Utah director of Broadcast and Video Services, Skip Whitman, and special projects coordinator and Red Rocks broadcaster Mike Lageschulte. The positions were highly competitive, but it was Petrovic’s work ethic and tenacity for achievement that earned her a place among the professionals.

One of Petrovic’s more prominent experiences with broadcasting was when she interned for ESPN 700 radio. She did color commentary for some Utah women’s basketball games — the sport she is most passionate about when it comes to commentating. Petrovic has also worked with women’s soccer.

“I’ve become a lot more clear and clean with the way I talk,” Petrovic said. “When I first started, I used to just ramble because I wanted to get all my thoughts in.”

She humorously emphasized she was not always comfortable on the camera or radio. Petrovic recalls many embarrassing moments where she mispronounced names, got tongue-tied or overly nervous. She mentioned, however, that it’s “like a sport. The more you do it, the better you get at it.”

One of the biggest challenges she faces is not broadcasting as often as she would like. Sometimes she misses opportunities due to other teams’ travel schedules as well as her own. Petrovic finds it difficult to maintain a sense of comfort if she is not consistently practicing. As a busy student-athlete, being an intern has taught her the value of time. Maintaining an organized planner has helped her balance her responsibilities and keep her goals in check.

Petrovic brings her determination to her own sport, too. Mat Iandolo, head coach for the women’s tennis team, said Petrovic has a big heart and a fearless attitude, which he noticed right away when he was recruiting her. He understands the importance of his athletes’ educations and extracurricular activities.

“While I want them to succeed as much as they can on the court, I also know there’s a far bigger picture going on,” Iandolo said. “I have to make sure they leave here feeling like they reached their potential as tennis players, but I also have to help them prepare for whatever field they want to pursue later in life.”

Petrovic plans to achieve that dream she had in first grade as she pursues a career in sideline reporting and sports commentating after she graduates.

“You have to be a go-getter,” Petrovic said. “I always knew that if I was sitting back and not looking for these opportunities, then somebody else was.”

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