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By Travis Politakis

The Division I NCAA women’s Final Four is coming to Amalie Arena on April 5.  A few of UT’s sports management students have been given the opportunity to work the event.

This event gives students the opportunity to showcase what they have learned and give them a taste of working a large NCAA event.

This event is going to allow me the opportunity to work a great event that I’ve watched every year for a while now,” said Daniel Polka, freshman sports management major. “Moving forward, when I am looking for my internship and a future job I can be able to show employers that I worked at such a prestigious event like the Final Four.”

Polka first heard about the opportunity through monthly meetings the major holds and showed interest in working the event immediately. Polka will be working as a boom operator for the event.

“The Final Four is a great opportunity for me to network with people in the industry,” said Christian Wisnewski, freshman sports management major. “I have had the opportunity to work events in SEMS such as USF football games, but this is by far the biggest one.”

The Final Four also gives students the experience to see the best women’s basketball teams in the country. Teams like UCONN, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Notre Dame always dominate the tournament and have had some of the best women’s basketball players in the world, such as WNBA superstar Maya Moore from the University of Connecticut.

A number of UT students will even have the opportunity to see their hometown teams at play.

“I am looking forward to the potential that my Maryland Terrapins could be in the Final Four and I could get to see them,” said Alex Kirsch, sophomore sports management major. “Also, I have never been to any NCAA Tournament game and can’t wait to experience the energy from the fans and physically getting to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

Kirsch will be working the event as a credentials assistant, helping as an extra layer of security.

Students will also be taking part in the Final Four festivities happening outside of the arena. Freshman sports management major Jarrod Gaalswijk will be working as a volunteer for the “tourney town” section which will be near the Tampa convention center.

“Tourney town is basically a big event that takes place the weekend of the Final Four at the Tampa convention center,” said Gaalswijk. “It’s essentially an expo that is meant to get the city involved in the games. It will be filled with different vendors, as well as activities and events for people of all ages.”

Gaalswijk first heard about the event through a registration website and signed up to be a part of it. The freshman, currently a sports management major, is looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about the sports industry and apply what he has learned in his sports management classes. Gaalswjk is excited for Tampa to showcase what is has to offer. .

“Tampa does a great job at hosting athletic events and getting the city to embrace the culture,” said Gaalskwijk. “This reputation has allowed us to have events like the CFB playoffs a few years ago, and the SuperBowl in the next few. The tourney town should be full of colorful, exciting festivities and I can’t wait to see what they have in store.”

Travis Politakis can be reached at travis.politakis@theminaretonline.com

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