Lindsay Czarniak, the co-sports anchor at WRC (Channel 4), will leave the station next month for a job at ESPN, WRC said Wednesday.

Czarniak’s contract with the station, known as NBC4, expired this spring, leading to discussions with the sports cable network. At ESPN, Czarniak will be an anchor and host of programs originating from its Bristol, Conn., studios.

Czarniak, 33, was a protege of WRC’s longtime sports anchor, George Michael, who hired her as a sports reporter and weekend sports anchor in 2005, after she had been on the air for only four years. Michael, who died in 2009, called her “the best hire I’ve ever made.”

NBC4’s dominance in local news ratings have made her and another Michael protege, NBC4’s co-sports anchor Dan Hellie, the most visible local sportscasters in the area.

During six years on the air here, Czarniak has covered all the region’s professional teams and has been the star of a sports-interview segment called “Lunch With Lindsay.” She worked for the station’s parent network, NBC, during the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and reported on NASCAR for the TNT cable network.

WRC said Czarniak was covering a NASCAR race Wednesday and was unavailable for comment. In a statement, she said her time at WRC has “been the most fulfilling of my career — professionally and personally.”

Czarniak, whose father, Chet, was a longtime sports editor at USA Today, grew up in Centreville. She is engaged to WRC news anchor Craig Melvin.