Montclair State Junior Jack Barteck Shares His Passion for Sports Journalism

Born and raised in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, Jack Barteck faced serious challenges early on in his life.  Battling a life-threatening kidney problem, Barteck underwent numerous surgical procedures.  Unable to remember the traumatic experiences it was up to his parents, David and Patrica Barteck, to explain what he had been through.

Sports became a common theme in the family with Barteck playing Little League baseball while his two older sisters, Camryn and Hailey, both playing softball and basketball.  Even with restrictions placed on avoiding contact sports as he got older, Barteck found success in basketball and baseball.  Frustrated by the fact his friends were out there playing football, Barteck coped the best he could by helping out the Wood-Ridge High School football team with filming their games.  During his junior and senior year, Barteck started a fan section which the school never had before.

“When I was younger, we would be running all over the field and something you never forget,” Jack Barteck described.  “Out of all the memories some of the best ones were on the field or court somewhere.  I got to live a healthy life and following my dreams is a miracle.  It really has shaped me the person I am today because I don’t take anything for granted.  I’m blessed to be here, healthy and have the mindset of appreciating everything.  I can’t say enough with the support system I have with my parents and two older sisters that helped me get through it and literally would not be able to do the things I do or be the person without the four of them.  I couldn’t play major contact sports and it was upsetting because I wanted to play football but instead of looking at the glass half-empty and saying ‘I can’t believe this happened to me’ and being upset you got to take what you’re given and make the most out of it.”

“When I was younger and starting out my high school career, all I know is I needed to do to win and get a ring,” said Jack Barteck.  “The year after I graduated the basketball team won a state sectional championship but the coaches and a bunch of players reached out to me and explained we would not be here without you and everything you did for the program.  My coaches, Mike Carcich (baseball), Jimmy Maher (basketball) and Ed Rendzio (basketball), all definitely had an impact on me.  Even though I did not get to win a state title I knew that I made an impact and I could never repay everything I got from high school sports.”

“Coach Carcich is really one of the best coaches in Bergen County.  I remember seeing him when I was in 6th and 7th grade, he came my Little League games and always said hello.  He really cared about us as individuals.  With basketball I had two coaches.  I started out with Coach Rendzio, who is a legend in Bergen County and won state championships.  I got to start as a sophomore, he watched me grow as a player and we had a deeper level when it came to a coach/player relationship.  Going into my junior year, he left to coach at Waldwick and I didn’t know coach Maher.  He came in and we clicked immediately and I was one of the leaders on the team so I was a mentor to the younger guys.”

Looking to further perfect his craft, Barteck got the opportunity to write about sports as well.  Connecting with Cory Doviak of North Jersey Sports during his freshman year with Doviak attending and cover a number of Wood-Ridge games.  After Barteck’s senior year basketball pictures were completed, Doviak asked Barteck about his plans after graduating from high school.

“My Dad and I were sports junkies, we would be going around the county checking out a bunch of different sports and games and see Cory everywhere,” Jack Barteck described.  “Every time I would see him, we would start up a little conversation, he told me ‘anything you need let me know and if you want to write for me I would be more than happy to have you.’  From there I couldn’t turn him down, I brought him an idea and I got to write my first article that was published about a month later.  He really is a great person, one as a mentor and two as a friend.  The opportunity he gave me is something I cherish and him willing to take that shot on me.”

“I wrote my first article about my best friend, Michael Giancaspro, who was the quarterback for Wood-Ridge football and grown up with and knew my whole life.  He took over at quarterback in his sophomore year and then in his senior year in the last game he tears his ACL.  I remember right after it happened and next day I was at his house bawling.  Now for him to have not only overcome it and to be back playing football was an incredible story.  I can relate to while playing baseball in my senior year playing the last scrimmage, opening day was three days away and I’m running out a ground ball and I get tripped up by the first baseman and separated my shoulder.  I can remember right after the injury sitting on the trainer’s table and thinking this is really the way it’s going to end.”

“Working with him on that story was so much fun, once I finished writing it, I went around to every English teacher I had my whole life, asked the principal and my family to read it.  I probably wrote five drafts before sending it to Cory (Doviak).  He told me he was so impressed with the final product and it ended up being one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.  He actually still has a printout of the article hanging in his house.  I still go back and read that piece and be happy with the way it turned out.”

Deciding to attend Montclair State University, Barteck immediately displayed the initiative to be involved in the radio station while still finishing up at Wood-Ridge High School.  Reaching out to the Sports Director of the Red Hawks radio station WMSC 90.3 FM.  On the first day of school, Barteck received an e-mail from the sports director who scheduled a meeting immediately.

“When I met with the sports director, he said we have a football game on Saturday and need people to work in studio,” said Jack Barteck.  “I said I was available, got in there and within two weeks I was doing color commentary for a football game for homecoming.  From there everything snowballed that I ended up doing color commentary for a bunch of basketball games.  By the start of my sophomore year last year, I was going into the assistant sports director role of the radio station.”

In addition to his broadcasting duties, Barteck hosts his own radio show “Hot Take Sports”.  The multi-tasking does not stop there as Barteck is majoring in Television and Digital Media with a concentration in Sports Media.  This past January, Barteck got the opportunity to transition to the TV side being a part of the “Red Hawk Sports Network” that was streamed on YouTube.  Barteck ended up calling every single men’s and women’s basketball games both on the radio station or Red Hawks Sports Network once he returned from winter break through the beginning of March.

“When I was kid growing, I would be hearing sports talk radio with guys giving their opinion,” Jack Barteck remarked.  “You don’t think about everything that goes into it.  Now I look at it I’m in college running my own shows, all the research that goes into it.  The way I watch sports is totally different now because every time I watch something, I formulate an opinion on it.  I love it because I take in all this information internally and come up with the way I want to spin it on my show.  I get to connect with my friends and colleagues and go on the air as people call in.”

“I was very excited when I heard about this opportunity because of my ties to the sports portion of radio.  The station contacted me about starting this up, said it was going to be on a trial basis and we’re going to have work things out.  For me and five other kids on the frontier of this program, putting our ideas into it and a crazy feeling.  I got more out of it that I could have ever dreamed of.”

“Getting that full-scale experience, it helped bring me much closer to the teams.  Talking to the players, coaches (Justin Potts, men’s basketball, Karin Harvey women’s basketball, Rick Giancola football), made me feel more a part of it and also a learning experience.  The last place I went to was in Virginia where I called the women’s NCAA Tournament Game.”

Helping Barteck get to progress along on the radio and TV side have been Professor Kelly Whiteside and Dr. Keith Strudler.  Whether it was coordinating the trip to Virginia, planning it out, set up a crew and get a bus to go down there.  Meeting David Stern and New York Mets GM, Brodie Van Wagenen.

The key for Barteck to every game is the preparation.  When it comes to research, Barteck is very particular by jotting down all the players’ stats below their averages per game with points, rebounds, assistant, blocks and steals.  All the pertinent information on the school website and bios.  Gathering team notes, recent schedule and five-year results along with coaches.  Most significant for Barteck is attending the practices to view drills and speak with the coaches.

“You realize how much they have an impact until you have that extra information,” Jack Barteck described.  “The biggest part of broadcasting is being able to pull back the curtains and show the fans what they don’t know and what’s going on the court.  There was a situation with an injury this year with a player hurt and ended up still playing a great game and had I not called the coach beforehand, I would have no idea and thought it was a great game, but the fact they played through the injury and fought for their team and a game much needed to have that extra bit put into the broadcast for the fans use.  75 percent of the information you will never use during a broadcast, but having it all makes everything so much better.”

“It’s definitely not easy and it’s still something I’m working on but I’m making the best I can possibly with know when the games are scheduled.  Usually the basketball games are on Wednesday and Saturday.  Working with the person who is doing color commentary and sharing any information and having that communication is super important.  That is half the battle, having that consistency and enthusiasm with your partner.”

Backed by a dependable sports information department led by Michael Scala and his assistant, Pat Duffy, makes Barteck’s job much smoother by the time tip-off occurs.

“They have all the stack data, a paragraph, long bio and bunch of articles,” Jack Barteck explained.  “Archived by date, a well-oiled machine and anything we need we reach out to them and they help us out.  Without them there is no way that our broadcast goes.  We get the interviews and the team and players are great.”

“Earlier this year I got to sit down with the greatest active football coach in Rick Giancola, a legend, and he took a half-hour after the interview to talk with me.  It goes to show you how down to earth these coaches are and care about the students at the school.  To more of an extent I got to work with Head Coach, Karin Harvey, in the first season of the Red Hawk Sports.  She was incredible, any interview requests we asked for she was always there and information given to us enhanced our broadcasts so much better and tidbit we had to pull out for interviews whether pre-game or post-game.  Being able to work on projects with them and just to get to know them better and they take an interest in what I’m doing and who the people are at the radio station and Sports Network are doing.”

With an extended break due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Barteck managed to get back into the broadcast booth with help from Dr. Strudler, who had a connection with Eleven Sports.  An opportunity to broadcast games for the A7FL at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey and on the campus of Montclair State was something Barteck could not pass up.  Within a week Barteck spoke with producer, Lisa Bell, on the phone and a couple of days later doing his first professional play-by-play broadcast with LJ Smith.

“Dr. Strudler contacted me, it was short notice but he said I got this opportunity,” Jack Barteck said.  “They’re going to be adding games to Yogi Berra Stadium for the next four Sundays.  It was incredible to have Dr. Strudler think of me as the first option out of so many kids and made me feel good.  I’ve gone to college baseball games there but cool to be seen as a football field.”

“I didn’t have a set up as well as rosters and had to a lot of digging up on players but found a lot of good information.  I had an opportunity to talk to a couple of players before the game.  An alternative to the pros because a lot of these guys played college or high school football and still want to keep playing, but they still need to play the game and love the competitiveness.  It’s like playing backyard football, no helmets and pads and does make players make think twice about making a big hit.”

Despite some hiccups in Week 1 of the broadcast, Barteck described the effectiveness of working with color commentator, LJ Smith.  A former A7FL player, involved heavily in the success of the league and familiarity of the players.  “He was great, knew a lot of the guys playing and so easy to work with,” Jack Barteck said.  “From the second we met each other, we had chemistry and translated over to the broadcast.  Even the people who hired us said it’s like we were doing it for years.  Every player has a nickname and since he has commentated on so many games he has given out a lot of the nicknames.”

“This past week the production was so much better, we added extra time to the set-up, put it all together and think it came out really well.  We have two producers that we work with, basically right behind us during the game and replay official in the booth and three camera operators.”
After calling the A7FL Championship Game on August 16th, Barteck will prepare for his junior year at Montclair State as well as first full semester as the Sports Director of WMSC 90.3.  “First of all, it’s awesome to have a school that really cares about us and create these opportunities for us,” said Jack Barteck.  “Having this new technology really helps boost up our broadcast and make it more legit every day.”

“I feel that I sound like a broken record that every person is helpful and not selfish.  It starts all the way from top to bottom and athletic director, Rob Chesney, has done a great job.  It creates an environment that makes my job and work so much easier.”