Hunter Thornburg



For this beat, I chose to write profiles about three coaches at West High School. This topic was important to me because I’ve had a positive connection with every coach I’ve interacted with, and I believe that they play an important role when it comes to the development of character and values in student-athletes.

While reporting on this beat, I actually did feel like an outsider while conducting my interviews at West High. I am not much older than the students there, and I feel like I look almost the same as I did in high school. However, the students and staff at the school somehow managed to identify me as someone who didn’t belong there. I got a lot of looks despite thinking that I was blending in. I had used a specific analogy when telling Professor Mangun about my experience in the school that I personally think is spot on.

Imagine if you took your dog to the same dog park every day. Your dog spends the whole time interacting with other dogs, running free without a worry in the world, and then goes home. But one day, someone brings a wolf to the dog park. Your dog doesn’t watch Planet Earth. Your dog has never seen a wolf before. But somehow your dog knows that there’s a wolf there. As a result, your dog starts acting really nervous around the wolf. That’s what it was like being a college student interviewing students and staff at West High School.

I would say that it was difficult to remain objective while writing these stories to an extent. Discovering the various styles of these coaches made me want to compare them to my personal experiences. However, the most difficult part of remaining objective was containing how impressed I was with these coaches. For example, when I interviewed the head football coach, I was amazed when I found out that West High’s football coaching staff conducts home visits to make sure the students’ needs are met.

My biggest success with covering the beat was getting in contact with West High’s Athletic Director, Rachel Townsend. She was massively helpful throughout the entire semester. She made sure that all my questions were answered and played a crucial role in connecting me with coaches and student athletes for each of my stories. I can’t imagine how the whole interview and writing process could have been smoother.


I was born in North Ogden, Utah, on Jan. 17, 2000. My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved a couple of times before I graduated high school. At age 9, my family moved to Italy. We lived there for three years before moving to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. In 2018, I graduated from Mountain Home High School, but I was completely unsure what I wanted to do with my future. Part of me thought about enlisting into the Air Force, but another part of me felt that wasn’t what I truly wanted.

I began my attendance at the University of Utah in Fall 2018, but started out majoring in political science with a minor in Air Force ROTC. After one semester, I decided I wasn’t really wanting to join the military at all. So, I sat down and thought about what I was truly interested in. My mom used to always say that she could see me being a sportscaster. I always thought that it was just a little too far out of reach, so I never bothered to give it a shot. But I have since changed my major to communication with an emphasis in journalism, and I am pursuing a career in the sports journalism field, a field I’ve always dreamed of getting into.

Following my college graduation in May 2022, I am hoping to become a sideline analyst for college football. Wearing flashy suits on TV, traveling weekly to the biggest games, seeing the beautiful stadiums, etc.  That’s the goal. I am excited to see what the future brings.

%d bloggers like this: