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Student-produced documentary about Carolina field hockey team’s undefeated season to debut Aug. 19

Students in the UNC School of Media and Journalism team up to tell the compelling journey of head coach Karen Shelton’s seventh NCAA title.

A UNC field hockey team lifts the national championship trophy.
The 2018 field hockey team celebrates its national championship.

When senior Adrian Walker came to Carolina he knew he wanted to work in sports television, especially at a major network like ESPN.

But the journalism major from Burlington, North Carolina, didn’t know what to expect in Chapel Hill.

“When I applied to Carolina, I had no idea what was in store for me,” Walker said.

He quickly became involved in Sports Xtra, an award-winning sports show produced by the UNC School of Media and Journalism, where he learned how to use a camera, edit video footage and tell compelling stories. He also learned how to weave all of the stories that other students created into a complete episode as the show’s executive producer.

“With Each Other, For Each Other”

That experience prepared Walker for his first big project — a 35-minute documentary called “With Each Other, For Each Other” that tells the story of the Tar Heel field hockey team’s undefeated championship season last year. The documentary will premiere Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Karen Shelton Stadium.

It started with a trip to Louisville to document the NCAA’s Field Hockey Final Four for the following week’s episode of Sports Xtra. Walker captured the games, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

But he realized he had too much additional footage that he wanted to share.

“What about a documentary?” asked Charlie Tuggle, who teaches Sports Xtra and funded the project, including Walker’s trip to Louisville, out of his John H. Stembler Jr. Distinguished Professorship.

Walker teamed up with other students in and recent graduates of the School of Media and Journalism to produce the documentary based on his championship footage. They also conducted interviews with head coach Karen Shelton and four players. The students were divided into editing and motion graphics teams. Walker worked on the editing team.

“It was a lot of fun working with people who have the same ambition and the same dedication that I do,” Walker said.

A taste of big-league production

Tuggle, the senior associate dean for undergraduate studies at the School of Media and Journalism, said working on this project sets Walker and the other students apart when applying for jobs in sports media.

“Students across the country have produced highlights and maybe even talk shows, like Sports Xtra,” Tuggle said, “but how many of them have produced documentaries? I think it gives them a leg up.”

For Walker, the experience confirmed his career goals.

“The documentary made me realize how much I enjoy working with a team of people who enjoy sports and want to tell a compelling story,” Walker said.