Intramurals are back at Eastfield

By KEVIN CUSHINGBERRY JR.

About 75 student athletes competed for the four Eastfield sports teams this school year.

The women’s soccer team clinched a playoff spot for the first time. The women’s volleyball team advanced to the national Elite Eight. The men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four, and the baseball team is off to a 27-7 start.

With all this success, others are bound to want to join in on the fun. Thanks to intramurals, they can.

The Athletics Department has offered intramural sports in the past, but recent offerings have only been camps, one-day activities or a few games during a particular month.

Don Mathis was director of intramural sports when the school opened in 1970. Mathis kept that position for 15 years and said he enjoyed every single minute.

“Back then we had a one-hour activity period,” Mathis said. “Every student had to be part of an activity. When they did away with that, it really hurt us.”

With the college’s 2013-14 theme of engagement and the development of the Office of Student Engagement and Retention, administrators decided that this year might be a good time to try to grow the Intramurals Sports program.

“My personal goal for the recruitment of students participating in intramural sports this year is at least 100 students,” said Courtney Carter Harbour, executive dean of the Office of Student Engagement and Retention. “We had 20 students sign up on the first recruitment day in the Pit on March 19 to play one of the Intramural Sports.”

Eastfield faculty and staff members who have played one or more of the sports will serve as advisers.  The number of advisers varies from three to six. Employees can also form their own teams.

A mandatory orientation will be held at 2 p.m. today in the gym for students who signed up for soccer. Basketball and tennis orientations will be announced at a later date.

Journalism major Jonatan Benitez, who played four years of college soccer, two at Richland and two at UT-Tyler, said he looks forward to starting intramurals.

“One of my friends told me they were doing soccer intramurals,” Benitez said. “I got really excited. I think Eastfield should have a soccer team for males. Richland has a really good men’s soccer program.”

Games will begin on April 7. Teams will play a five-week schedule of at least nine games. Championship games will be held on May 6.  All game times are 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Soccer games will be held Mondays and Wednesdays, while basketball will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tennis singles and doubles matches will be played on Fridays.

“It is important to be involved in the overall growth and development of the program because intramural sports not only engages our students outside of the classroom, but also teaches our students good sportsmanship, teamwork, interpersonal communication, and healthy habits with physical fitness,” Carter Harbour said. “I think intramural sports will facilitate an increased sense of community, collaboration and camaraderie among the students, faculty and staff.”

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