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A Farewell to The Albany Student Press

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All good things must come to an end. My time as sports editor of the Albany Student Press is here.

I’ve thought a lot about this moment and how I would feel when it finally came. I’m filled with so many emotions and nostalgia. If nothing else, I’m just so damn thankful.

I really can’t help but laugh at least a little at how my journey here at UAlbany has gone.

When I walked on to this campus in the fall of 2015, I was just a freshman college student with a passion for sports.

But, I had never been given a true outlet to express that. UAlbany gave me that gift. I realized that a career in sports media was possible and the university’s journalism major was my ticket in.

Some kids know exactly what they want to do from the second they enter high school.

They plan their age 15-18 lives around getting into the perfect college with an award-winning journalism school, the broadcasting epicenter that will help them reach their ultimate goals.

That certainly was not me. UAlbany was the school that was three and a half hours away from home, far enough away from my parents to have my own privacy but close enough that if there was an apocalyptic end to society, they could come pick me up from Indian Quad and take me back to Long Island.

I came into college thinking I was going to do one thing. I’m leaving with the expectation of something completely different. Journalism was absolutely the last thing on my mind. I had never written a newspaper article before. I didn’t know what AP style was. I had no idea UAlbany even had a radio station, student newspaper or television station.

The fact I would become sports director, sports editor and Vice President of those three organizations respectively is actually mind-blowing to me.

The Albany Student Press along with WCDB and Albany Student Television have given me so many opportunities and opened up doors I never thought were imaginable.

I covered the UAlbany men’s lacrosse team on their magical run to the program’s first ever final four appearance, broadcasting the National Semifinal from Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots.

I’ve interviewed athletes like Mariano Rivera, Walt Frazier, David Cone and broadcasting legends like Gary Cohen and Verne Lundquist, among many others.

Internships and student media have taken me to places like the NBA Draft, Heisman Trophy Inductions, Justify’s Triple Crown victory at the Belmont Stakes, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field and many others.

I get goosebumps thinking about it all.

On top of that I became a leader and mentor, working with other young journalists who aspire to be in the same field as myself. It’s a role I’ve embraced and really enjoyed. Exactly like those who came before me did when I started out.

This profession is all about reps. My advice to anyone thinking about pursuing it: go out and actually do it. That’s the only way to actually get better at it.

There were some of the fun times listed above but also plenty of hurdles.

I carried cameras tripods and lights to the Cobb Room and ATV’s old studio in the lecture center sub basement. Stood in the snow recording b-roll for ATV’s “UA Overtime” sports show. Lugged radio equipment across campus to Casey Stadium on a fall Saturday, turning it on and praying it would actually connect back to the studio. Sometimes it did, others not so much.

If you saw a stressed out short kid running around campus in a collared shirt and sort of reddish orange beard, it was probably me. Those are the moments that show what you’re really made of. I call it character building or something like that.

A huge thank you to professors like Ian Pickus, David Guistina, Elaine Salisbury, Thomas Palmer, James Odato Thomas Bass, and Holly McKenna to name a few.

The editors who came before me like Troy Farkas, John Longton and Stefan Lembo-Stolba, who taught me the ropes and showed me the way things should be done.

All the names above were some of my biggest role models, mentors and supporters.

They patted me on the back when I earned it, but also gave me the honest feedback I needed to hear. Pushed me to be better. Tough love too. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

My experience here wouldn’t have been the same without the UAlbany sports and information department, for my money and many others the hardest working people on campus. Long hours, nights and weekends. All the above.

I’ll never forget the one and only Dave Vatz, UAlbany’s assistant athletic director and sports information director, who helped with all of my sports media needs my first three years on campus. He had his khaki pants, black sunglasses and an unforgettable power walk. No one on this campus worked harder than he did.

I’ll forever be grateful for all the athletes and coaches I covered over my four years. Afonso Pinheiro, Nico Solabarrieta and Moosah Khanat of the UAlbany men’s soccer team as well as Connor Fields and Scott Marr of men’s lacrosse to name a few.

They made me feel special, like I was a lot more important and put together than I actually was. Not just a nervous freshman with a iPhone voice memo app and a blue pen in hand.

I’m not 100% sure what comes next. I feel like that’s the fun part. I’m a Great Dane for life. So excited for the next chapter. I’ll never forget where I came from.

Rob

ASP Sports Editor 2017-18, 2018-19

UAlbany ‘19

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Rob "Lep" Lepelstat is the sports editor of the Albany Student Press. Along with the ASP, Lep works as Vice President of ATV and sports director for WCDB. He's also had internships at CBS/ Westwood One Sports, ABC Television in NYC, ESPN Radio Albany, etc.

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