The Communications Fellow and journalism major is the highest ranked first-year student in the award’s history and the first Elon student to be recognized since 2013.
Javik Blake, a rising sophomore journalism major and Communications Fellow, was recognized by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA) as the 10th ranked collegiate sports broadcaster in its Jim Nantz Award competition. Blake is the highest ranked first-year student in the history of the award, and the only freshman to place in this year’s top 20.
The Jim Nantz Award, started in 2009, is presented yearly to the top collegiate sports broadcaster in the country, followed by rankings of the top 20 and honorable mentions. Applicants must submit a 20-minute demo reel – see Blake’s reel below – showcasing their best work that incorporates a mix of play-by-play, interviewing and various other disciplines. This year’s judges included past winners Alex Faust (play-by-play, Los Angeles Kings), Katie Emmer (studio host, Philadelphia Flyers) and Eric Gallanty (play-by-play, Syracuse Mets).
“It’s an absolute honor just to have my name called much less be named as one of the top 10 college broadcasters in the country,” Blake said. “The experiences and opportunities this past year at Elon were amazing and I certainly wouldn’t be in this place without them. I can’t thank STAA enough for the honor.”
At Elon, Blake was heavily involved in sports and broadcasting initiatives during his first year on campus. As a member of Elon Sports Vision, he called more than 25 games across multiple sports, interviewed players and coaches for “Elon Phoenix Weekly,” and regularly participated on “One-on-One Sports.” Blake called games this past winter for Phoenix women’s basketball program on WSOE 89.3, which included traveling with the team to the Las Vegas Lady Rebel Roundup.
Throughout the year, Blake was also involved with the Baseball Analytics Club and competed in the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Diamond Dollars competition this spring at the annual SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix.
An avid baseball fan, he was a regular in the Latham Park press box, calling multiple games this season, including those on the IMG/Learfield College Network alongside Elon alumnus Taylor Durham ’96.
This summer Blake will serve as a broadcast/media relations assistant with the High Point Rockers of the Atlantic League, gaining hands-on experience both on and off air in professional baseball.
With the No. 10 ranking, Blake became the highest-ranked freshman ever, joining Sam Niedermann (Indiana, ‘17), Gabe Genovesi (Ohio, ‘17) and Cooper Boardman (Syracuse, ‘18) as the only freshmen in the award’s history to be ranked in the top 20. Other honorees in this year’s rankings include Evan Hughes (Virginia Tech), Brendan Hartlove (Maryland), Emmanuel Berbari (Fordham), Jonah Karp (Syracuse) and Jim Nantz Award winner Scotty Gange (Arizona State). Blake is the first Elon student to be recognized since alumnus Greg Brzozowski ’13 captured sixth in 2013.
Prior to Elon, Blake was a broadcast intern with the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League during the past two summers, where he interacted daily with some of the best collegiate baseball players in the country as a broadcaster, pregame show host and producer. He also was the founder and lead broadcaster of the Lancer Sports Network (LSN), the student-run sports network he founded at the age of 13, and called more than 135 games for the Norton High School Lancers. Blake’s accomplishments with LSN were highlighted by the Boston Globe in February 2018.
Founded by Jon Chelesnik in 2003, STAA is a talent agency focused on helping radio and TV broadcasters find jobs in sports broadcasting. The STAA All-America competition recognizes the most outstanding collegiate radio and TV sports broadcasters. The Jim Nantz Award is presented every spring to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sportscaster. The award is named in honor of the award-winning and well-known CBS sports broadcaster.