May 12, 2011
In its second full season, UT’s paintball team competed in the National Collegiate Paintball Association’s national tournament in April, placing 35th out of 53 teams in its division.
In the last year, three of UT’s sports clubs have made it to national
championship tournaments. Roller hockey, paintball and cricket teams are making
a name for themselves and the rest of UT’s sports club program, which is growing
In the fall, the sports club program will have 10 different
athletic choices including ice hockey, netball, fishing, synchronized swimming,
field hockey, equestrian competition and the Harry Potter-influenced game of
“It’s set up to be a leadership experience for the students,”
said Director of Campus Recreation Charles Yezak, explaining that the
University’s program operates under the National Intramural-Recreational Sports
Association. While intramurals are facilitated by UT staff, sports clubs are
“They are responsible for the success and potential
failure of the program as they are involved in every aspect of it,” said Yezak.
“If they are an introvert, they need to become extroverted to advertise their
sport to get others interested. They do the fundraising, motivate their
teammates to come to practice and decide who gets to travel when they
The Cricket Club placed third in American College Cricket’s
Southeast Championship and advanced to the 2011 Spring Break Championship March
15-20 against teams like the University of Florida and Auburn
Roller hockey, one of the first sports clubs started at UT
five years ago, had an undefeated season in 2009-2010, advancing to the Division
II nationals where they finished in the final four. Because of their
performance, they were moved into Division I where they played this past season,
advancing to the elite eight against schools like the University of Central
Florida, Ohio State, University of Connecticut and the University of
In its second full season, UT’s paintball team competed in the
National Collegiate Paintball Association’s national tournament in April,
placing 35th out of 53 teams in its division.
Brock Mangus ’11, most
recent past-president of UT’s eight-member paintball team, considers himself an
ambassador for the game. Whether from the paintball magazines he reads on
airplanes that incite conversation or the minor welts – or “badges of courage” –
that leave their mark on his skin, Mangus takes any chance to explain the game
to those who ask him.
“It’s more of a sport than a war game,” said
Mangus, who graduated in May with a degree in electronic media art and
technology and works for Clear Channel Communications in its video department.
In matches on a marked field, five players are pitted against another
five who use inflatable bunkers to dodge the paintballs. The goal is to hit
every member of the opposite team as fast as possible, which usually takes two
to three minutes. With paintball guns that shoot 12 paint pellets a second,
Mangus said there are hundreds of paintballs in the air at once.
spectators can be as loud as they want too, which makes it a lot of fun,” Mangus
Sports clubs’ success can be attributed to the talent of athletes
who want to have a more diverse academic career. Yezak, who’d like to grow the
sports club program to 20 clubs by 2015, said when playing varsity sports,
athletes must devote a majority of their extracurricular time to their sport.
With sports clubs, students are able to participate in internships, part-time
jobs and other extracurricular activities because sports clubs tend to have more
“It gives students a place to continue their passion
without having to dedicate their lives to it,” Yezak said. “It’s less pressure
for them, but still very competitive. They play for the pure love of the
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer