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Apr 11
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Edward Sutelan

Sutelan1.pngEdward Sutelan is a man of many hats in the most literal sense of the phrase. He has exactly 110 (although this number may have increased in the time it took to write this article). As for metaphorical hats, the one he most recently acquired was that of the editor-in-chief of The Lantern. He is also a third-year journalism major and a member of Dunn Sports and Wellness Scholars (DSWS).

Sutelan appreciates fly-fishing, music from the 80's and 90's, and movies (both watching and occasionally reviewing). He has also been a fan of Ohio sports teams since long before he moved here for school. Nobody is quite sure how that happened, as he is from a small town in Virginia and nobody in his family had ever shown a particular affinity for Ohio sports, but it's a good thing it did, because his love for sports is part of what drew him to Ohio State. Sutelan wasn't just planning on watching the games, though. Though he had an initial interest in the business side of the sports industry, he was eventually drawn toward the journalism side instead. He already had some experience, having written for his high school newspaper and for a fantasy baseball site called RotoBaller. He also knew that if he wanted to write about strong college and professional teams, Columbus was not a bad place to be. (After all, where else could he run into Cardale Jones at a Big Sean concert?)

Another perk of attending Ohio State was the Scholars program. In his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, Sutelan had attended the same school (Norfolk Collegiate School) from kindergarten through 12th grade. He says it was "quite the transition" to go from a school where there were not 900 students total to one where there could be nearly 900 in one lecture. "My time spent at DSWS— living on the same floor with all these Scholars that I met with in our weekly meetings— gave me a chance to build a core group of friends that I am still close with today," he says. Sutelan admits he is not always very outgoing, so having this group from the very first weeks of freshman year was invaluable.  One of his favorite H&S memories was when he was a sophomore and DSWS spent an entire afternoon canoeing down the Olentangy River. He reminisces, "I found it a great chance not only to just relax and forget about classes for a day, but it was also a good chance for me to get to know some of the first-year scholars that I did not know as well."

Aside from DSWS, most of Sutelan's time is taken up by his involvement with The Lantern. During his first year, Sutelan was intrigued by the newspaper but knew he couldn't become a beat writer until he took the required practicum class. Not one to waste any time, he got The Lantern's attention early on by developing a database of Ohio State baseball statistics, something he had already done previously for his high school team. The database allowed people to view the career stats for each player, not just their stats for the current season. Sutelan hoped this initiative would help him stand out, and it did. By spring of his freshman year, Sutelan was invited to begin covering baseball games, an opportunity he was thrilled to take. "To this day, I will say that the team that year, which won the Big Ten tournament with Ronnie Dawson, Tanner Tully, Troy Montgomery and Jacob Bosiokovic — all of whom were drafted by MLB teams that summer — was an incredibly fun team to cover and a great first experience for me to start off with The Lantern," he says.

Baseball remains Sutelan's favorite sport to cover. He is a longtime reader of Baseball America and his ultimate goal is to write for them eventually. To work his way up to it, he is open to covering college, minor league, or major league baseball after graduation. This year, Sutelan expanded his repertoire by covering some of OSU's biggest football games. It was a completely different experience from being at the baseball games, but it's one he is glad he had. "Reporting on Ohio State football feels like covering a professional sports team," he says. "The content is always very demanding because there are so many outlets covering them."

Regardless of which sport he is covering, Sutelan says that the most rewarding and the most challenging things about sports journalism are one in the same: finding a unique story. "It's very easy to go to a press conference and listen to what is said, write a story from it and publish the content," he says. "However, what isn't easy is digging deeper into the background of a player, coach or other sports figure and finding out something that no one else but you has." The research is time-consuming, but he adds that it often feels like the stories write themselves when he's passionate about the topic. Sutelan doesn't have any specific writing rituals, but listening to classical music or film scores often helps him focus.

If Sutelan could create a new column for the Lantern about anything he wanted, he would use it to raise awareness about the incredibly talented but lesser-known sports teams at OSU that many students overlook. "Students especially are fortunate to be able to watch some of the country's best amateur athletes compete for free in all the non-revenue sports, and they often don't take advantage of the opportunity to do," he observes. As just a few examples, he notes the success of the men's and women's hockey teams, the synchronized swimming team, and the men's volleyball team— and that's not even mentioning the individual athletes who get their start here. "Ohio State simultaneously had one of the best collegiate basketball players in history in Kelsey Mitchell, an Olympic gold-medalist in Kyle Snyder, two of the best college tennis players with Francesca di Lorenzo and Mikael Torpegaard, as well as Nicolas Szerszen, one of the country's best volleyball players," says Sutelan.

As he prepares to take on the role of editor-in-chief, Sutelan shares one of his favorite memories from working with The Lantern so far. For some of the football and basketball games he covered, he and the other sports staff had to take long road trips. For example, they recently embarked on a 15 hour drive to Nebraska. This may sound like an agonizingly long time to be crammed in a car, but according to Sutelan, it's not so bad when the group gets along well and has an endless supply of conversation topics. One of his favorite road trip stories happened on the Nebraska journey when they were running low on gas in the small town of Clarence, Missouri. "We drove up and approached this old gas station that had a lot of cars that appeared like they were from the 1950s. As we neared the station with little sunlight left, we noticed what appeared to be people in each of the cars," describes Sutelan. "However, it came to our attention that there were not any people in the cars at all, but rather, each one was filled with mannequins." It was the middle of the night in a quiet and unfamiliar town, so the squad was quick to flee down the road in search of a less terrifying option for fulfilling their fuel needs, never slowing down to investigate the horror movie-esque scene they left behind.

Even for a group of journalists, sometimes it's better not to ask.

​By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Media Team Member