Recent OHS graduates Bear Woodrich and Justin Tacheny made their radio broadcast debuts during KRFO coverage of the state wrestling tournament at Xcel Center.

The concept came together quickly and just in the nick of time. They hatched the idea only days before the state tournament with a text to me. In the message, they stated, "As two recent Owatonna wrestling alumni, we believe that we have a great understanding of, not only the sport, but also the athletes competing and would love to help out with the broadcast. We know that a lot of times, parents of the wrestlers are the ones on the air, but many of their sons may be participating in the tournament, making it hard for them to concentrate on commentating AND supporting their children at the same time."

KRFO announcer Tim Thorn, who fits the description of a parent who also wants to cheer on his wrestler, was set to cover the individual tournament, but lost his voice. An illness for an announcer for our sister station in Faribault ended up calling me away to cover a playoff basketball game Saturday. That left our broadcast schedule with a void in it for the state championship round. And in step the budding broadcasters.

Tacheny and Woodrich's career almost ended Friday before it started, as an Xcel Energy Center usher asked the two to leave the media section because they didn't have credentials. I told her they were working with the radio and she sternly told me to get them media passes. A quick chat with the friendly MSHSL media steward and the guys were cleared to stay.

I spoke with them briefly about being on the air and how to work in the sponsor credits, but most friends who are passionate about a sport do this kind of conversation on their own anyway. I just gave Justin and Bear some headphones and access to the KRFO AM 1390 airwaves and worldwide audience listening online. Considering we use an app on the iPhone to connect with the radio station, they probably know more about the technology than I do.

Their knowledge of the sport cannot be questioned, and their ability to convey the action over the air was outstanding. Their enthusiasm was contagious and they did a nice job filling the time between matches. When multiple local wrestlers were competing at the same time, they did a professional job of following along with all the matches.

Both have an interest in sports-related fields for their careers. Tacheny is attending the University of Minnesota, where he is studying sports management and assists with game-day operations at TCF Bank Stadium. Woodrich attends Gustavus Adolphus, majoring in mass communications. I will be sure to get their names in for media credentials next year by the deadline and keep the seats reserved for them at Xcel Energy Center.

Owatonna radio
Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media

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