The Viking Ship


photo by lauren amstadt

Jaskulke films Griffin Empey for his athlete of the week video, while Christensen asks him questions off to the side.

If you are a Stoughton High School student on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen posts by the @stoughton.athletics account, also known as The Viking Ship. From Team Takeovers, to Athlete of the Week, to college commitment announcements, senior Cambelle Christensen reports on it all.
The @stoughton.athletics account was created at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year by 2020 Stoughton Graduate Adam Hobson. Since then it has changed owners annually, but the mission of the account has stayed the same.
“It’s about representing all teams and giving everyone a platform to cheer people on, especially when some sports are less popular. It’s giving teams an outlet to post photos on and recognize good athletes,” Christensen says.
Not only do Stoughton Athletics have their own featured Instagram page, but there is also a Twitter (@TheVikingShip1) and Snapchat account (@shs.athletics). Although Christensen says she hasn’t done much with the Snapchat yet, and she often leaves the posting on Twitter to Celly Section leaders Adam Slager and Catelyn Jaskulke, leaving the Instagram account to be her main focus.
“On Instagram, I’m pretty much active every day. […] I post a lot on our story, reposting what other teams have posted so that if you don’t follow girls basketball, for example, you can come and see everything on my page,” Christensen says. “I also post on the stories trying to get content and set a good vibe for sporting events.”
Aside from the Instagram stories, a major part of the account is the Athlete of the Week segment. These less-than-two-minute videos feature an athlete, typically a senior, who, according to Christensen, is “setting a high standard, whether it’s being a good teammate, performing super well, or being above and beyond.”
For the weekly videos, Christensen films the chosen athlete on her phone or an iPad in the hallway between the strength room and the main gym. She asks between five to seven questions, allowing her interviewees flexibility and comfort in their answers.
“I really encourage them to talk as clearly as they can and as loud as they can. I try to make it more like a conversation rather than an interview so it’s not super nerve-wracking.” Christensen says.
A student athlete who has gone through this interview process first hand is tennis and hockey player Hayden Schreier. His Athlete of the Week video covers topics such as why he started playing, how he thinks the season is going, and what makes good team chemistry. Schreier mentions what an honor it was to be chosen for Athlete of the Week.
“Being able to talk about myself and my athletics was a great privilege. It was also a rewarding feeling because my hard work was starting to pay off,” Schreier says.
When given the @stoughton.athletics account this summer, Christensen decided to make it a priority of the Instagram account to focus mainly on the talented senior athletes, due to the fact that COVID-19 made Athlete of the Week come to a halt in 2021.
“My grade really didn’t see an Athlete of the Week, and I value a lot of my friends and classmates who are good athletes,” Christensen says. “Right now I’m working on getting through some of the seniors in hopes that next year whoever runs it can either decide to do their senior class or any other athlete that stands out.”
Christensen was able to notice the lack of exposure for the athletes in her class because she is very involved in athletics herself. She is currently the captain of the soccer team and weight trains for about four days a week. In November she even signed to play D2 women’s soccer at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Once graduated, the Instagram account will be passed on, but until then Christensen will continue to go to as many events as possible to take pictures, reach out to team managers for any exciting news, and spend hours editing Athlete of the Week videos and picture collages.
Christensen also plans on bringing back weekly team trivia and having more teams “hack” into the account for Team Takeovers. No matter what ends up being in store for the @stoughton.athletics account, Christensen knows she will enjoy creating and posting it.
“If anyone has anything they want to be featured on [the account], I will post it in a heartbeat,” Christensen says. “Whether it’s just a picture of you or just a single accomplishment, everyone wants to see that. It’s important to you so it’s important to us.”