Intramural sports: Big difference, similar impact

Intramural sports: Big difference, similar impact


Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 23 – Intramural Basketball: Virginia Tech students compete in an CoRec intramural basketball game at War Memorial Hall. Photo: Johnny Kraft

by Johnny Kraft–

While intramural sports differ from official collegiate sports, they have a similar impact on the Virginia Tech community. Sports are an important aspect of the college experience at Virginia Tech, but many do not realize that also includes intramurals.

The intramural sports program at Virginia Tech serves over 8,500 students, faculty and staff every year, according to Intramural Sports Coordinator, Jeff Feldhaus. The program offers over 40 activities throughout the year including flag football, soccer and basketball as well as non-traditional sports such as inner tube water polo and battleship.

The biggest difference between intramural sports and varsity sports is that it is not about wins and losses. It is an inclusive, social experience emphasizing having fun, sportsmanship and making new friends by playing your favorite sports regardless of skill level.

“Intramural sports differ from varsity athletics in that our mission is to provide recreational opportunities for participants of all skill levels,” said Feldhaus. “We strive to get people engaged in exercise and sport-related activities that promote teamwork, leadership and build healthy lifestyles.”

Each year, teams and organizations join in the quest for the Hokie Grail, awarded annually to the All-University Intramural Champion based on a point system. It gives certain groups such as fraternities and sororities a chance to compete and earn points by participating in intramural activities over the course of the entire year, according to Feldhaus. In short, a group earns points by participating, displaying good sportsmanship, etc. and their points are tallied throughout the year so an overall champion can be determined similar to the Olympic medal count.

According to the Department of Recreational Sports, intramural sports enhances the quality of life for the university community by educating and encouraging participation in activities that promote healthy lifestyles, social interactions and leadership skills.

Intramural sports are a big reason why Virginia Tech has been named no. 1 fittest college, no. 1 best quality of life and no. 1 in their students love these colleges by The Princeton Review. According to Feldhaus, a survey from a few years ago, in which alumni were polled, showed that intramurals were one of their top three favorite things about going to school at Virginia Tech, behind only academics and athletic events.

In addition, the intramural and recreational sports programs at Virginia Tech take pride in serving the community in the spirit of Ut Prosim. Every year, student employees volunteer for a number of activities that serve the campus and local communities including Hokie Helpers and the Southwest Virginia Special Olympics Basketball Tournament.

These programs hope to continue to grow and serve the Virginia Tech community as an atmosphere that encourages individuals to develop life-long involvement in recreational activities and are dedicated to meeting the changing needs of a diverse community by offering quality structured and informal recreational opportunities.

“One of our goals for the intramural program is to increase the number of people we serve until we hit the 10,000-member mark,” said Feldhaus. “Additionally, many of our recreational sports programs will continue to pursue avenues for promoting health and wellness, not only on campus but in the local community.”

Hilltoppers sweep Bulldog Invitational

Hilltoppers sweep Bulldog Invitational

by Johnny Kraft–

The Western Kentucky baseball team made a statement this past weekend by sweeping the Bulldog Invitational in Athens, Ga.

The Hilltoppers (5-1) defeated the University of Cincinnati, South Alabama and the University of Georgia to sweep the weekend.


“I think its good for our confidence,” said head coach John Pawlowski. “We’ve got a lot of work that we have to do and a lot of positions yet to be filled, but the one ingredient that you can always hope for with any club is that they’re willing to compete and willing to battle.”

Western Kentucky opened the weekend with a 5-2 victory against the University of Cincinnati on Friday.

Redshirt junior first baseman Thomas Peter got things going early against the Bearcats, blasting a two-run homerun in the third inning giving the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead. The Toppers added two more in the inning on RBI hits by Kaleb Duckworth and Paul Murray.

Western Kentucky never looked back behind the steady work on the mound by senior left-hander Austin King, who earned his first win of the season by striking out six in 6 1/3 innings of work. Redshirt junior Kevin Elder would finish the job picking up his second save of the season.

Western Kentucky came back on Saturday to defeat South Alabama 11-10 in a back and forth affair that saw the Hilltoppers rally for four runs in the ninth to pull out the victory.

Down 8-7 headed into the final frame, the Hilltoppers got an RBI single by junior catcher Hunter Wood to tie the game. Freshman shortstop Steven DiPuglia knocked in Wood with a RBI single to take the lead. Murray capped off the inning with a two-RBI double giving the Toppers an 11-8 lead headed into the bottom half.

South Alabama scored two in the bottom of the ninth, before redshirt junior reliever Jackson Sowell struck out the final batter with the bases loaded to earn the save and hold on to the 11-10 win.

The defining moment of the weekend undoubtedly came in the final game of the weekend, where the Hilltoppers rallied past host Georgia 8-7 in dramatic fashion.

In another back and forth affair, Western Kentucky headed into the ninth inning trailing 7-6. Following a leadoff double by sophomore Steven Kraft, Thomas Peter delivered the biggest hit of the young season with a two-run blast deep into the Georgia night giving the Toppers an 8-7 win to claim the Bulldog Invitational.

Thomas Peter

“I was lucky to get a good pitch to hit,” Peter said following the game-winning home run. “It felt so good when I got back to the dugout with my teammates. We knew Kevin Elder was going to finish the job, and we were going to get the sweep.”

Elder finished off the Bulldogs in the bottom of the ninth striking out the side to earn his first win of the season to cap off the weekend sweep for the Hilltoppers.

“We talked about going on the road – a different environment and taking new guys on the road,” said Pawlowski. “We wanted to make sure that we competed. Regardless of the score, whether we’re up or down, it’s important for us to put a stamp on how hard we have to play in order to compete and win. They competed, and they played really hard.”

With the sweep, Pawlowski became the first head coach since Nick Denes (1958) to win five of his first six games with the program.

“That’s some fun baseball,” Peter said. “The past two days have been amazing. We just have to keep fighting.”

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