My name is Spencer Natzke, and I am starting my third year serving as a student assistant with Wisconsin Athletic Communications while earning my bachelors degree in Communications (Communication Science and Rhetoric) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I spent the Fall 2016 season working with the Wisconsin volleyball program and worked with the Wisconsin softball team in Spring 2017.
In my first season with Athletic Communications, I had the opportunity to work as the secondary media contact for the women’s hockey and lightweight women’s rowing programs. In addition to my sport assignments each season, I have served as game day staff for nearly all of our 23 sports.
In my role, I am responsible for writing releases, features, game previews and recaps, as well as interviewing coaches and players, taking game-action photos, assisting with team social media accounts and maintaining statistical information and team pages on UWBadgers.com. I also update weekly notes and media guides for the opposing team, the press and our fans.
During Spring 2017, I served as secondary contact for softball under Kelli Grashel, supporting in the coverage of one of the best seasons in program history. I was given the opportunity to serve as media contact while traveling with the team to the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic, March 3-5, and began learning StatCrew software during the season. In addition to the team earning a spot in the NCAA tournament, starting the season 20-2, recording three wins over ranked opponents and earning two Big Ten weekly pitching honors, I helped in covering the senior season of Chloe Miller, the program’s first-ever All-American. Miller became the program’s second NFCA National Player of the Week and second NPF draftee, as well as rewriting the Wisconsin batting record book.
This fall I served as the secondary contact under Diane Nordstrom during Wisconsin volleyball’s run to the NCAA Elite Eight. I covered the team’s program-record 13 wins over ranked opponents and the first-ever No. 1 national ranking in Wisconsin volleyball history. The team finished the season with five All-Big Ten honorees, 13 Big Ten weekly awards, five All-Region team members and three national Player of the Week nods.
In my first year, I assisted AJ Harrison in the media coverage of the record-breaking women’s hockey season in 2015-16, which saw the Badgers reach the NCAA Frozen Four after winning the WCHA regular season and tournament titles. In addition to a perfect home-ice record and three new NCAA records, I helped in the media coverage of junior Ann-Renée Desbiens as a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award and sophomore Annie Pankowski as the NCAA Elite 90 recipient. I was also given the opportunity to travel with the team on three occasions (a weekend series to St. Cloud, Minnesota; the WCHA Final Face-Off in Minneapolis; the NCAA Frozen Four in Durham, New Hampshire.)
I aided Paul Capobianco in the introduction of new lightweight women’s rowing head coach Dusty Mattison, as well as collaborating with her to ensure the program was put back on the national map. The team placed third at the 2016 IRA National Championships, while UW claimed the national championship in the lightweight four. The 2015-16 team included 14 Academic All-Big Ten team members, five IRA All-Academic team members, five CRCA Scholar Athletes, two Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, and a Pocock All-American.