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January 10, 2024

AHS Alumni Feature: Jamie Steyer Johnson

Jamie Steyer Johnson, an Ames High School graduate of the class of 2014 turned her love of sports into becoming a sports broadcaster. During her time at AHS, Jamie was actively involved in various activities, including theater, thespian society, National Honor Society (NHS), basketball, volleyball, contributing to “The Web,” and participating in speech. These activities led to her remarkable career.

In broadcasting, Jamie serves as an analyst, offering insights and entertaining the audience with fun facts and anecdotes about teams, players, and coaches. Her work has taken her across the country, covering exciting competitions such as Iowa State women’s basketball’s Big 12 Tournament championship run in March 2023 and Sweet 16 run in 2022.

Jamie also scorched nylon as a member of the girls basketball team, totaling 423 points, including 59 3-point baskets, 30-of-83 from downtown Ames her senior year. With her mom being a coach at Iowa State, the 6’1” Steyer had opportunities to both model her game and quite literally look up to two Cyclones at Iowa State, Anna Prins and Chelsea Poppens.

“I really enjoyed seeing someone with the height of Anna at 6’8” still able to shoot from the perimeter, something I relied on plenty thanks to my mom’s help on my shot,” Steyer shares. “Turns out being 6’1” with a parent that was the team shot doctor is pretty nice! Inside, Chelsea was so crafty, not the tallest player around but really solid fundamentally. I wouldn’t call myself particularly strong, so having an up-and-under or hook shot in the arsenal was a huge help!”

Reflecting on her time at Ames High, Jamie credits the foundation for her career to experiences during high school. Inspired by radio broadcasts of high school basketball games, she reached out to Dave Sprau, a local sports broadcaster, and started calling AHS games while attending Iowa State University. This early exposure laid the groundwork for her professional work, including calling games with Dave during her first year covering Iowa State women’s basketball.

During the current 2023-2024 season, Jamie has met a phenomenal freshman class with five players that actively contribute: Audi Crooks, Addy Brown, Kelsey Joens, Arianna Jackson, and Jaylynn Bristow. Additionally, Steyer has also got to call the names of transfer players Isnelle Natabou (Iowa Western CC/Sacramento State) and Hannah Belanger (Truman State).

“This year has been unlike any other for myriad reasons, not the least of which being the amount of new players and especially the youth. As I get older, I figured that I’d feel less of a kinship with the student-athletes; I’m nearly a decade older than these freshmen, so I assumed a generational divide of some sort would come into play,” Steyer said. “In reality, they’ve been so engaging and friendly with me, the rest of the media, and really everyone they encounter. My mom has always said that coaching and being around young people has kept her young, and now I really understand the sentiment! So much of what people seem to enjoy about my content and analysis is the combination of history I have with the program and access I have to the team, so to be able build solid relationships with this new group as quickly and easily as I have is rewarding both personally and professionally. The potential for this year’s team as well as the future of this group is immense, which is profoundly exciting, but there’s a lot of growth that will happen along the way so I’m trying to stay in the moment and appreciate each milestone as they come!”

In addition to her passion for sports, Jamie discovered a love for performing during high school. Achieving multiple all-state runs in speech for radio news boosted her confidence and set her on a path toward her career. Acting on stage honed her creativity and expressiveness, integral qualities in her current role as a sports broadcaster.

Jamie fondly remembers her time at AHS, highlighting the support of teachers like Mrs. Seibert and Mr. Reichert.

“Mrs. Seibert was and remains my hero, she was always there for ANYTHING I needed,” Steyer said. “Mr. Reichert is a truly inspirational person and I strive to be as good of an influence on the world as he is. I could list most of the teachers I had because they were all awesome, honestly.”

Finally, for current AHS students, Jamie shares this bit of advice:

“Put yourself out there! I’ve gotten several incredible opportunities based on having the guts to send out a request to connect with someone. I’m no purveyor of platitudes, but I’ve gotta say there’s a lot of truth to the classic quote ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.’”