Competing with teams all around the nation, Penn State’s Campus Recreation Club Sports program shows its commitment to the program and dedication to various sports each semester – certainly the case, once again, this fall.
In the last few months, over 60 club teams have competed at local, regional and national levels. Some of these club teams including -- quidditch, field hockey and cross country -- have enjoyed immense success and left marks on the championship events across the country.
The unique sport of quidditch has shown great progress this season, making their club president, Stephanie Harding, proud to be recognized for their team’s work. “We have made so much improvement from our home tournament to the regional tournament,” Harding said. “Our season started 1-3, but we have improved to a record of 7-5. Our play has become a lot more fluid, which is one of the keys to success in the game of quidditch.”
The Club Sports program thrives on commitment and the quidditch team sets an example of this by practicing three nights a week to develop skills and strategy before the big game. The tournaments allow students to feel involved and passionate about something, giving them the chance to challenge themselves and fellow teammates. At the Regional Tournament, held in Howard County, Maryland, the club won four matches and secured a bid to the National Competition held in April.
Club Field Hockey is another team with an impressive season this fall, going 7-2-1 in the regular season before competing at Nationals in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The club, which competes in the National Field Hockey League, has won seven national titles in its history, most recently in 2016.
President of the team, Emily Taylor, is gratified by her team’s achievement but even happier with the group of people they have become. “It’s hard to join a team with players from all different backgrounds,” Taylor shared. “But I have enjoyed watching my teammates connect on the field and grow into a really strong unit. The level of play has increased and it’s because of the bonds they have made with each other.”
The Club Cross Country team has had to plan their daily runs around construction projects occurring around State College but didn’t let that deter them, accumulating wins at The National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA) championship in Lexington, Kentucky this fall. Their president, Raymond Friend, loves the competitive nature of the sport but values the connections he has made with people on his team and other athletes at these events who share the same passion. Fried shares, “Getting to compete at all levels of competition while also having so many different types of runners, both competitive and noncompetitive, is what makes our club great.”
In addition to championship game recognition, the Club Sports teams are constantly giving back to their Penn State and their local community, logging 5,368 hours of service – or 223 days – of community service this semester, as well as attending 20 professional development seminars.
Nick Brigati, senior assistant director of Campus Recreation for Competitive Sports, believes student accomplishments go beyond the wins. “Our student competitors are training for more than just competitions.” Brigati said. “Each day we are providing professional development opportunities that will impact our students for the rest of their lives. Our community service numbers are just a reflection of what our students intend to accomplish while they’re here at Penn State and in the greater State College community.”
Club Sports teams recruit yearly and offer a diverse array of opportunity in and out of the game. To learn more about how to get involved, check out the Club Sports page on the Campus Recreation website.