Originally Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2009, 8:38 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 11, 2009, 10:32 pm

Augie star Calderone returns to Q-C as sports anchor

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By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com

Most trips of Amy Calderone's trips back home don't hold trepidation, excitement and plenty of anticipation.

But this is no blow-through-town vacation for the Sherrard High School (1997) and Augustana College (2001) graduate and former standout athlete.

Calderone is coming back home to join the WQAD-TV 8 sports team. She will be the Monday-Friday anchor, teaming with holdover Matt Randazzo in a partnership that enters its third convergence. She fills the void left by Mick Moninghoff, who late this past summer returned to the East Coast after two-plus years as the station's sports director.

She will begin duties on Wednesday, starting her two-year contract with the ABC affiliate.

"In this business, you don't get a lot of opportunities to spend a couple of years with your immediate family, so that was a huge draw," Calderone said. "I miss the Quad-Cities and the people there."

She is not just a warm body for the vacant seat, either. Calderone won a regional Emmy Award for her work with Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area, an hour-long show that airs once a week on KBCW-TV in the San Jose, Calif., area. She was part of a reporting team that won the Emmy for a story on Gilroy High School football coach Robert Mendez, who has no arms and no legs.

She said she wants to implement that same group approach to her new job with old friend Randazzo.

"I want it to be a team effort," she said of stepping into the new position.

That has Randazzo excited.

"She has knowledge of the area and is a hometown kid who has seen that the best sportscasters here know the area, know the schools and know the coaches," Randazzo said. "She knows how important sports is to the area."

This is actually the third time the pair have worked together. They were first at the Milan Hy-Vee and then learned some of the TV business when they interned at Channel 6 at the same time, helping Dan Pearson with the Emmy-winning Highlight Zone.

"Amy is phenomenal; I can't wait to work with her," said Randazzo, noting they have known each other for about 15 years.

Calderone can't wait either. The former volleyball and track & field standout said that after four years of exclusively covering prep sports she is ready to mix in some college and pro coverage.

"Growing up there and knowing how important local sports are, I think you have to be out there, be out in the community," Calderone said. "You have to be visible and out in the community in order to be respected. I don't want to be the person who sits in the newsroom and isn't out there representing."

And doing it in her old haunts.

"This job hasn't come open in a while, and it's a great opportunity, especially being a female, to take a job like this," she said. "I'm very thankful and grateful for that.

"It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But I'm absolutely looking forward to it. It seems like there's a good group of people there from the top down, and I can't wait to get started."


The Amy Calderone file

In school: Graduated from Sherrard High School (1997), Augustana College (2001) and Northern Illinois University (2003) with her master's degree in journalism.

On the tube: Was weekend sports anchor for Rockford station WIFR before going to San Jose, Calif., station KBCW to host the hour-long Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area show the last four years.

Highlights: The three-time All-CCIW volleyball player is second on the school's all-time digs (1,530) list; fourth in kills (1,276) and ninth in aces (101). Had a storied track career at Augie in which she set a school record (142-feet, 1-inch) in the javelin and graduated third on the school's all-time heptathlon list with 4,321 points, her winning score at the CCIW Championships her senior season. She overcame severe knee and wrist injuries during her four years at Augie.