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iReporter takes home big wins on and off the field

Sophomore+Ikey+Kohler+stands+on+the+field+during+LBJ%27s+last+football+game+of+the+year+against+Cedar+Park.+Kohler%27s+reporting+work+highlights+stand+out+student+athletes+and+in-game+plays.
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iReporter takes home big wins on and off the field

Sophomore Ikey Kohler stands on the field during LBJ's last football game of the year against Cedar Park. Kohler's reporting work highlights stand out student athletes and in-game plays.

Sophomore Ikey Kohler stands on the field during LBJ's last football game of the year against Cedar Park. Kohler's reporting work highlights stand out student athletes and in-game plays.

Sophomore Ikey Kohler stands on the field during LBJ's last football game of the year against Cedar Park. Kohler's reporting work highlights stand out student athletes and in-game plays.

Sophomore Ikey Kohler stands on the field during LBJ's last football game of the year against Cedar Park. Kohler's reporting work highlights stand out student athletes and in-game plays.

Max Domel, Staff Writer

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It is a Friday night in mid-October, and Ikey Kohler is standing on the sidelines of the football field, recording each play with his camera and calling into 1370 AM to give score updates.

Towards the end of 2018, FanstandATX (Fanstand), a local news outlet covering high school athletics in the Austin area, picked the winners of their annual District Stonebarger Awards. The District 12-5A MVP was none other than LASA sophomore Ikey Kohler.

For each Austin high school that Fanstand covers, they choose one student to be the school’s IReporter. The appointed student must be dedicated to filming their school’s athletic events and giving back score updates and footage for Fanstand to post on their website. Kohler began working with Fanstand as the LBJ IReporter at the beginning of his freshman year and has covered two LBJ football seasons and two basketball seasons.

 

Kohler films during a LBJ varsity basketball game. LBJ ended up winning the game 65-58 against the Lockhart Lions. photo courtesy of LBJ Athletics

 

Kohler first heard about the role the summer before his freshman year and chose to become LBJ’s Fanstand IReporter because of his passion for sports journalism. This has become a decision that Kohler has greatly treasured and expanded on throughout the past two years.

“I had always been interested in covering sports, and I figured that this was a good opportunity for me to start covering sports,” Kohler said. “That is when I made my Twitter account. Now, a year and a half later, I’ve grown my account to 372 followers and becoming an IReporter was probably the best thing I’ve done in high school.”

On the weekends following a game, Kohler goes through all of his footage and posts each highlight on his Twitter account. He tags local college coaches and sports stations in the tweets so the players get more exposure online and can be seen by scouts. He has even been followed back by some of them. Kohler also compiles mixtapes or individual highlight reels for many LBJ athletes at the end of their seasons.

LBJ senior and varsity boys basketball player Jordan Teal believes that Kohler has without a doubt earned the District Stonebarger award and has elevated the quality of his reporting through the process.

“I think he definitely deserves it,” Teal said. “He dedicates a lot of time and pleasure doing it and is a great reporter, maybe one of the best in Austin.”

In Kohler’s opinion, winning the award served as great validation for all of his work, but his impact on the lives of the players is more meaningful to him.

“It’s nice to win an award, but honestly winning the award isn’t what mainly motivates me to do what I do,” Kohler said. “What motivates me more is the fact that I could improve someone’s life by helping them get a spot on a college team and get a free education, which can change their life.”

According to Snupe Daniel, Fanstand’s founder and program director, what makes Ikey great is his selflessness and the ability to go above and beyond so that players at smaller schools like LBJ can get more recognition.

“He’s not really concerned with being on camera or getting self-praise,” Daniel said. “His motives are to help his fellow Jaguars, and that drives him to be one of the area’s best.”

Through his work, Kohler has found reward in building strong relationships with the LBJ athletes that he would not have made had he not started reporting.

“I’ve become friends with a lot of the players and have gotten to know them personally,” Kohler said. “It’s like we are brothers, and it’s been a great experience for me getting to know the LBJ community and becoming a part of it. I meet people from all walks of life that I wouldn’t have met before, and I get to improve their life by getting them exposure to college coaches.”

Along the way, Kohler has also gotten to meet famous people like University of Texas linebacker Gary Johnson, CBS sports producer Anthony Geronimo and Austin-American Statesman writer Thomas Jones. As he gets more years of experience in the field, Kohler said he could see himself doing various things related to sports in the future and profoundly hopes to work in the professional sports media field.

“Becoming a live sports radio broadcaster or play by play commentator would be something I would like to do, but I could also continue to make recruiting films or even becoming a recruiter,” Kohler said. “I’m open to doing all of those things in my future, really anything that involves being up close to sports in the sports journalism field.”

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iReporter takes home big wins on and off the field