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Sophomore Photographer at Liberal High School Takes Advantage of NCAA Opportunity

Tyler Slattery, Adviser

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I met Kaden Classen last year as a freshmen and  I could always tell he was advanced in certain areas, especially photography.  

Classen, now a sophomore, had the opportunity to take pictures at a women’s Wichita State Shockers basketball game on January 30, 2016.

Classen approached me about a month ago and asked if there was anyone that I knew at Wichita State University that could get him a press pass for a collegiate game.  I didn’t know anyone who could get him a press pass but being an alumni from Wichita State, I knew they would be help out in some way.

I e-mailed the public relations contact for men’s basketball, Bryan Holmgren, and unfortunately they had a limited amount of press passes for each game.  With their recent success, on the basketball court, it is difficult to gain access to press passes unless you are with a major news outlet.  

He did however provide an alternative so Classen could gain experience at a collegiate arena.  He forwarded me the e-mail for the media relations representative for women’s basketball, Larry Rankin, and he was able to get him a press pass for a game.

I was very excited to be able to help facilitate this opportunity for Mr. Classen.  He certainly took advantage of this opportunity and took a plethora of phenomenal pictures!  Below is an interview regarding his first time photographing an NCAA event.

Can you describe to me your feelings leading up to the game and walking in to Koch Arena?

It’s a lot of pressure because first impressions are important and if you mess it up you might not be invited back.

What did you think of Koch Arena?

It’s a really nice stadium! Not as big as I thought it would be.  It felt like a high school stadium so I was kind of familiar with the set up.

I’ve never been into the press room before.  Could you describe it for me?

It’s just a white square room. It’s got a sink, refrigerator, with all sorts of different pops, and water.  There’s outlets for computers with desks.  They have stacks of papers for game notes, and programs.  

What was the procedure leading up to tip-off?  Did you get to meet with players?  

I walked into the stadium and got my media pass, went to the media room and familiarized myself with the stadium.  They said just to talk to other photographers and they will tell you the rules.  There wasn’t really a media announcement or meet the player type scenario.  Next to the media room was the conference room.  A lot of the players were in there before the game.

What was it like during the game? 

There were four photographers. You’ve got the goal in the center and cheerleaders on the side.  We are on the other side of the cheerleaders during the first half, when they’re on offense.  They were coming towards us.  On that side you basically have 1-2 feet of room to move around because it’s a line of photographers.    If you are in a bad spot, too bad, should have chosen a different spot.  At half time you take pictures on the opposite side of the court.  I don’t know why but there was a lot more space and you even could go on the sidelines.  I had a really good spot during the second half. 

You almost got hit by a basketball?

One of the Wichita State players was coming up court and threw the ball and I realized that it’s not going to hit the goal.  At that point I realized that I had to go right and the photographer next to me had to go left.

Did you get to attend any post-game conferences?

I was allowed to but I had to get going.  Following the game, reporters were interviewing the Shockers coach.

Were you one of the youngest photographers there?

By far.  One of them was 25/26.  Another one was in his mid-30’s (he had the nice camera).  The main one that I talked to had been covering the Shockers for twenty years, he had done three games that day! So yes, I was definitely the youngest.

What’s your next move? What are some of your goals?
Short term:  Besides high school sports, shoot as many Saints games (Seward County Community College), or West/South games. Long term:  I would like to go back to Wichita State, if they let me, or to another college.  If the Saints make it to a JUCO tournament, I would definitely like to go!


image2 WSU Womens 1.30.2016-1498Kaden Classen
WSU Womens 1.30.2016-1285Kaden Classen
WSU Womens 1.30.2016-1231Kaden Classen
WSU Womens 1.30.2016-1179Kaden Classen
WSU Womens 1.30.2016-0978Kaden Classen
WSU Womens 1.30.2016-0973Kaden Classen

-photo credit: Kaden Classen

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1 Comment

One Response to “Sophomore Photographer at Liberal High School Takes Advantage of NCAA Opportunity”

  1. Ms. Malick on February 5th, 2016 9:18 am

    Wow! Great pictures Kaden. You have a great eye. 🙂


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Sophomore Photographer at Liberal High School Takes Advantage of NCAA Opportunity