Intramurals going strong and growing

During his two years serving as a graduate assistant at Saurwein Health & Wellness Center, Austin Bentz has seen a ton of growth in student participation in intramurals.

“It provides a great opportunity for athletes and non-athletes to get out and take part in recreational activities, meet new people and build friendships and leadership skills,” said Austin, who oversees intramural programming at the Berg.

First and foremost, we want to make sure we keep students physically active and healthy.

Great opportunities to promote health and wellness, high participation and wide variety of programming brought a measure of distinction to campus when bestcolleges.com included Heidelberg in the top 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. with the best intramural programs. Heidelberg landed at No. 7 on the Best Colleges for Intramural Sports list. Bestcolleges.com used criteria such as efficient team/activity organization, appropriate facilities and number and frequency of programs offered in building its top 50 list.

Growth in the intramural program could be attributed to a conscious effort to schedule games and competitions around students’ busy schedules and the practice schedules of student-athletes, who can’t participate when they’re in season. Most of the games and competitions are held in the evenings and most are on campus. With the exception of the larger team leagues, the majority are held on campus.

On average, about 475 students participate in intramurals in any given semester, which is more than 40 percent of the entire student body. Many students participated in more than one sport or activity, Austin said.

Heidelberg provides both team and individual intramural activities. Among the most popular are flag football, kickball, whiffle ball and 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball. Students also are drawn to such creative competitions such as bubble soccer, a Madden X-box tournament and corn hole.

Faculty and staff are invited to participate as well. There’s never any charge to take part in intramural activities.

In his role overseeing intramurals, Austin has benefited from the same skills he hopes other students gain by their participation. “This position has turned me into a more organized person. The transition from undergrad into this professional-type position, I’ve really tried to be a good leader.”

Published in Student Life, Athletics

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