Abigail “Abbey” Schlueter has learned how to block out cheering spectators and thumping music at McKendree University hockey games and zero in on the important sounds, such as referee whistles and puck drops.
That helps her focus on the job: Making sure equipment is working properly and video from a cameraman is being live-streamed on the Bearcats’ website (www.mckbearcats.com) so fans can watch at home.
Abbey also replays goals, packages highlights, maintains the online scoreboard, writes stories, takes photos, tweets at #bearcatsunleashed and helps play-by-play announcers figure out how to pronounce players’ names.
“She’s become our Jack of all trades,” said supervisor Scott Cummings, McKendree sports information director.
Abbey, 20, of Mascoutah, is a senior majoring in arts and organizational communication and a sports information intern. She covers home games in hockey, soccer, baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, swimming, diving, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.
That requires showing up two hours early to set up equipment, multitasking during games and staying afterward to tie up loose ends.
“I don’t think it’s stressful because I enjoy it,” Abbey said. “If you didn’t enjoy it, it might be stressful, and if you didn’t know anything about sports, it would definitely be stressful. You wouldn’t know the specific words you can put in a hockey story but not in a swimming story.”
That’s no problem for Abbey, who received the Loyal Apache Award at Holy Childhood School in Mascoutah for playing soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball; running track, shot putting and throwing discus. She continued with sports at Mascoutah High School.
I don’t think it’s stressful because I enjoy it. If you didn’t enjoy it, it might be stressful, and if you didn’t know anything about sports, it would definitely be stressful.
Abbey Schueter on live-streaming to the Bearcats website
“From age 5 on, I sat through hundreds of games,” said her mother, Kelly Schlueter, 41, a special education teacher in Sparta. “There was always a lawn chair in my car.”
After graduating from Mascoutah in 2014, Abbey enrolled at Lewis University in Romeoville, following in the footsteps of her soccer coach and mentor, Nick Carr. She considered a career in athletic training and later nursing.
“Then she got a job with the sports information department (at Lewis),” her mother recalls. “She said, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I love it.’”
Abbey transferred to McKendree so she could live at home. She divides her time between the Lebanon campus and the university’s new Metro Rec Plex in O’Fallon.
On a recent Friday night, Abbey sat at a folding table in an elevated section off the ice rink, her usual perch for hockey coverage. She works closely with Scott’s graduate assistant, Dan Nettleton, 25, of Shiloh.
“She’s a hard worker,” he said. “She’s always got her nose to the grindstone.”
From age 5 on, I sat through hundreds of games. There was always a lawn chair in my car.
Kelly Schlueter on watching her daughter play sports
Abbey also doesn’t seem to panic when equipment malfunctions or something else goes wrong. She calls such incidents “the fun times” because they test a person’s skill and fortitude.
Her minor in sports psychology has provided some interesting experiences at McKendree. One class required students to “adopt” a team and help players come up with strategies to improve cohesiveness.
“I adopted the McKendree men’s and women’s hockey program,” Abbey said. “The women’s team ... This is their first year. The men’s team has been here since 2005, and they are divided half and half — freshmen and upper classmen.”
As if the internship and classes don’t keep Abbey busy enough, she also helps coach the Mascoutah Middle School co-ed soccer team, interns with the St. Louis Football Club and the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, works as a receptionist at McKendree’s Student Success Center and runs with the Road Warriors.
She expects to graduate in the spring, a year early, and hopes to get a job in athletic communication, collegiate or professional.
Abbey’s favorite U.S. sports teams are the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, the St. Louis Football Club and the Portland Timbers. She’s an even bigger fan of the Bayern Munich soccer team.
“They’re part of the Bundesliga (Federal League in Germany),” she said. “They’re from the area that my family is from originally. I took four years of German in high school. I’ve been to Germany twice, and I love Munich.”
- Sport: Soccer
- Team: Bayern Munich in Germany
- Movies: All the “Harry Potter” films
- TV shows: “Supernatural,” “Once Upon a Time,” “The Office” and “South Park”
- Music: Alternative rock
- Artist: Taylor Swift
- Band: Panic at the Disco, A Day to Remember and Green Day
- Hobby: Watching Netflix
- Books: “The Program” by Suzanne Young
- Restaurant: Giovanni’s on the Hill in St. Louis
- Food: Farfalline del Presidente Reagan at Giovanni’s