Staples High School has traditionally one of the strongest athletic departments in the state, with hosts of local and state titles to go along with producing Division I athletes on a consistent basis.

The success generates media coverage from local and afar. Several groups within the school - Inkings, the TV and radio departments - have always been valuable to the Staples sports scene, and the trio continues to deliver at high level.

The radio station, WWPT Wrecker Radio, hopes to earn another John Drury Award this fall. The Drury’s are a collection of national high school radio awards with several subcategories. The station has placed in the top three in the last several seasons, and culminates a year’s worth of hard work.

“They’ve done amazingly great,” Staples advisor Mike Zito of his sports group. “They prepare well, they do the research and they’re very technically savvy. They’ve been able to figure out a number of things, like how to set up for an away broadcast.”

The group helps deliver TV and radio broadcasts to their listeners. WWPT first went on the air more than 40 years ago, and remains one of the strongest high school radio stations in the country. The TV station went live in 2009, and recently created social media accounts only enhance their coverage.

Juniors Cooper Boardman, Zach Edelman and Jacob Bonn are valuable contributors to the station. They've all shared a passion for sports from a young age like the athletes they cover, which drives them to perform at a high level despite the traditional demands of high school.

Senior Adam Kaplan is the editor in chief of Inklings, with which he’s done sports stories with in the past. About 90 students participate with the award-winning newspaper and like WWPT Kaplan enjoys the extra work that comes with following a passion.

“I love it, it doesn't feel like a job,” said Kaplan, who hopes to pursue communications of some sort in college. “My best friends are there; sometimes it’s hard to keeping everyone on track but it’s so rewarding.”

In addition to broadcasting Staples events home and away, the station began delving into non-local events. One of the first such undertakings took place at Mohegan sun for the boys and girls Class LL basketball finals.

“I think it was December or January, we were sitting in the radio room and just thought that it would be a fun thing to do,” Boardman said. “Obviously it’s tough to get a spot in there.”

They were placed at a media table right on the baseline and enjoyed the experience of covering such a high-profile event along with the professional media.

“When we got there these people looked at us from another planet,” Edelman said. “We got one of the best tables along the baseline. Broadcasting the games was a dream come true; that’s the highest you can get at the high school level.”

Though Staples wasn’t present on championship weekend, the strength of the Wreckers programs allows the group to hone their skills. Having a unique relationship with the athletes they cover doesn’t hurt, too.

“Growing up I played as many sports as I could just so I could know the rules,” Bonn said. “Once getting to Staples it was about applying your knowledge of sports to WWPT. You’ve known Ben Casparius, who’s one of the star players, since he was six-years-old; you can tell background stories like that.”

As part of a social studies project that required a history report of a Connecticut-based company, Boardman reached out to every ESPN anchor, hoping to get a response. Jonathan Coachman was the lone one to do so, and Boardman ventured up to Bristol to interview him in a radio studio at the Worldwide Leader. He also got a tour of the facility.

"It was pretty incredible just to be able to talk to him," Boardman said. "He gave me plenty of advice, and to get to sit in the SportsCenter chair was just unbelievable."

Edelman and Bonn followed that up and we able to track down several of ESPN’s personalities, including Neil Everett and Adam Schefter. All the interviews served as both a learning experience and a tool to enhance their Drury credentials. NBA player Chris Copeland was also interviewed during the period.

Zito is also a teacher at Staples and has overseen the radio and TV program at the school for more than 10 years. He is proud of the effort his current crew is putting forth.

“High school sports are important to the fabric of Staples,” Zito said. “They’re hard-working and ESPN is right in our back yard; they have goals coming in and they’re good enough to pull it off.”

Boardman spent a part of this summer at the Walter Cronkite Camp at Arizona State University. There he experienced a two-week training program -- dubbed the "Sports Broadcast Boot Camp"-- and even did play-by-play for an Arizona Diamondbacks home game.

“It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” Boardman said. “There were kids from all across the country; it was really cool. The dream for me is to be an MLB play-by-play announcer; to get to be able to do that at such a young age was incredible.”

The Staples media department has produced several successful sports talents in the past, including graduate and Syracuse graduate Eric Gallanty, who is now a play-by-play announcer for a minor league baseball team in New York and recently won the Jim Nantz award for the best college broadcaster in the country. Following someone that came up through the program can serve as an important lesson.

"We see what Eric is doing and we see that it's possible for us if we keep working hard," Boardman said.

Regardless of college plans, all agreed that the station in one way or another is preparing them for life’s lessons down the road.

“What we’re doing here will always help us,” Kaplan said. “Even if knowing if someone’s batting average doesn’t transcend, knowing how to communicate with people transcends to all walks of life.”