A look inside the announcer booth at the WIAA State Track and Fi - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

A look inside the announcer booth at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Along with a number athletes and spectators, a number of volunteers travel to Roger Harring Stadium at UW-La Crosse to work behind the scenes at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships.

One group of dedicated announcers are often heard but not seen.

Every year on the first weekend of June, you can find Randall Pickering in the same place: the announcer box at Roger Harring Stadium as the lead announcer.

"I was a sophomore in high school, and my coach who was a WIAA official brought me up as a student worker, got me involved," Pickering said. "That was 48 years ago."

When he is not on the microphone, he works with a small group of announcers doing everything from checking the line-ups to the hurdle spacing.

"We act as sort of the communication headquarters and the eyes for everybody," said Dave Clements, announcer for the WIAA State Track and Field Championships.

"Our job is to keep this meet moving as quickly, as efficiently as it can," Pickering said.

A lot of the day is spent naming off athletes. How do they know the correct pronunciation?

"Forty-eight years of experience and a little bit of luck," Pickering said.

Although that might be true, he says it is possible through help from people on the ground.

"Dennis is down at the clerk. He looks ahead for us, and he can actually see, you know, 'Oh they're not going to have a clue with this one,'" Pickering said. "So, he'll actually call up, and he'll get us pronunciation."

Despite the challenges, there is one reason why Pickering and the other announcers keep coming back year after year.

"Everything we do, from start to end, it's all about the kids," said Pickering. "It's all about making this a championship experience for them."

"I love to see high school kids doing what they love and competing and having fun," Clements said. "You know they're good quality young people. It's excitement to be part of it."

Those young people might one day be the next generation of announcers. Pickering says it is part of his job to train the next generation. He says nobody likes to think about the day when they have to step down from their job; however, until the day comes for him to pass the baton, he continues to announce WIAA State Track and Field Championships in coming years.

MORE: 2018 WIAA State Track coverage

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