October Club Sport of the Month: Ice Hockey

University Recreation is proud to recognize Men’s Club Ice Hockey as Club Sport of the Month. The club first formed in the 1970’s as the NC State Ice Hockey Organization and has since been very successful. Last year, the team earned the bronze medal in the ACCHL championship, medalling for the third year in a row! According to the Technician, the team has a substantial fanbase that helped them raise over $6,000 for a new locker room in the Raleigh IcePlex, where they practice and host games. The new locker room is an incredible gift for the Ice Hockey Club because they don’t have anywhere to put their equipment, so many just leave their pads and sticks in their cars. The teammates have spent many nights and weekends build much of the locker room themselves.

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I was able to interview NC State’s Men’s Club Ice Hockey Team president, Garrett Sunda, to learn more about the team.

University Recreation: When does your season start, and how long does your season last? 

Garrett Sunda: We start practicing at the end of august, our games begin mid September and we play until the ACC tournament in mid February.  

UR: Does your team have any recent achievements that you are especially proud of?
GS: Last year we claimed our third consecutive ACC Regular Season title, which gave us a total of 7, more than any other team in the ACC.

UR: What is a tradition your team has?
GS:  After each practice, a player on the team “gives thanks” which is a short talk about what that person is thankful for such as an upcoming game or thankful for a previous win. It’s a fun tradition that can be both serious and humorous and brings everyone together at the end of each practice.

UR: What is your favorite thing about playing and being a part of a Club Sports team at N.C. State?
GS: Being a student run team gives us flexibility such as who we want to play against and when we want to practice.  It also allows us to focus on our academics while still enjoying the sport we all love.

UR: How often do you practice? What is your typical practice like?
GS: We practice on the ice three times a week, 6:30 a.m. Monday9:15 p.m. Tuesday10:45 p.m. Thursday.  We also have team workouts at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.  The typical on-ice practice involves skill improvement drills, team based drills and some form of conditioning.  It’s a lot of practice each week but that’s what allows us to continue our success.

UR: What is it like to travel around and compete against different schools?
GS: It’s great to be able to see different universities and play different opponents.  Some of the road trips can definitely be tough though. Last night we didn’t get home from Clemson until 5:00 a.m. after a 9:15 p.m. game.

UR: What is your best memory about the Ice Hockey Club team?
GS: In the last home game of my Sophomore year we were up against George Washington.  We were ranked first and GW was second, and the winner would clinch the Regular Season ACC Title.  After going down a few goals early, we started to lose hope.  We kept at it though and ended up being able to tie up the game late in the third period.  We went on to win the game in a shootout and the crowd went crazy.  Definitely a game I will never forget.

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UR: What if someone is interested in the Ice Hockey Club? How can they find out more information? Are there tryouts?
GS:  If someone is interested in joining our team we suggest they fill out a recruit form on our website or email us at icehockey-club@ncsu.edu. Each year there are tryouts in the fall.

UR: What sets Ice Hockey apart from other sports?
GS: As an organization we’ve been growing a lot over the last few years and we now have the support of a rapidly expanding fan base.  It’s awesome to have students and other members of the community support us at our games.  At our UNC rivalry game last year we had over 600 fans! In general, Ice Hockey is different than other sports because it combines a wide range of athletic abilities.  Each player has to be fast and agile but also strong enough to maintain possession of the puck in each battle.  Ice hockey also isn’t a sport that can be quickly picked up. Being able to skate takes years to learn and perfect.  Most of our players have been playing since they were very young.

Stephen Russell Hockey Poster

Club Ice Hockey invites you to join them this weekend, October 9 through the 11, for their  Annual Stephen Russell Memorial Tournament. The tournament in is a memoriam in honor of a beloved teammate who passed in 2009. The tournament was previously called the Canes Cup, which was sponsored by the Hurricanes. In 2009, the team retired Stephen’s jersey and the Hurricanes renamed the tournament in his honor. Stephen’s family and the team work together with the generous donations from the fans to sponsor this tournament. The tournament was relatively small until last year. This year marks the second year the tournament is the official season opener with the entire league and other region schools participating. The goal of the tournament is to promote sportsmanship, teamwork, the student athletes, and academic excellence. The schedule is jam-packed, so come join the excitement!

Home games are at the Raleigh IcePlex and tickets are available at a reduced price for students.

Think and just do it,

Sarah

Outdoor Adventures: Hike and Cave Trip

University Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures Program hosts various activities that are available to any NC State student. The program includes the bike rental system WolfWheels, the Indoor Climbing Wall and educational clinics in Carmichael Complex, outdoor rental equipment, and a variety of outdoor trips. On February 14, Outdoor Adventures led a group of NC State students out of Raleigh and onto a trip in the mountains. This trip lasted the whole weekend as students hiked, camped, and explored caves at Rocky Knob Park and Worely’s Cave. Trip leader, Paul, explained the trip to me.

On Saturday, the group started their trip with a three-hour hike in Rocky Knob Park. The park has a network of trails that wind through the mountains just is of Boone, NC. Rocky Knob Park is a new park that was completed in 2010 by volunteers in the Boone area for hiking and mountain biking. “It was sunny when we arrived, but over the course of the hike snow began to fall, making the hike quite beautiful,” Paul described. An article from FITDAY explained many benefits that come from exercising outside. Hiking and other outdoor activities are good for your physical health. Hiking burns calories and is easier on the joints than running on hard surfaces.

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After the hike, they drove an hour and a half to Worley’s Cave in Tennessee where the group camped out for the night. On Sunday, Paul and his friends woke up early to go caving. Past the entrance, caves are pitch black. In order to go caving and explore the cave, the Outdoor Adventures group had to squeeze themselves in small side tunnels and stomp through underground streams. According to the Worley’s Cave website, the popular spelunking site has more than 4,000 feet of tunnels.

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What many people do not know is that outdoor activities are beneficial to mental health as well. Outdoor activities with a group of friends feels more like a social outing than exercise. The FITDAY article illustrated that spending time in nature can isolate you from the world of stress and technology, thus increasing your attention span, relieving stress, and making you feel happier. Paul detailed for us what being on such a trip felt like. He and his group were immersed in nature for two days and taking in its beauty, like at the top of Rocky Knob Park. He showed us first hand that his time spent in nature was peaceful and comforting.

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Outdoor Adventures combines all of the qualities previously listed to create an experience unlike anything else NC State has to offer. Nine trips are scheduled for this semester across North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee that featured hiking, kayaking, camping, and much more. If you are looking to experience something like Paul did, the trip schedule can be found here.

Think and just do it,
Sarah

Student Employee Highlight: Facilities

University Recreation employs over 700 students a year over a wide range of positions and departments. I interviewed Isaac Smith, a Facility Supervisor, and asked him to give some insight into his experience working here.

University Recreation: What does your position entail?

Isaac Smith: As a Facility Supervisor, my duty first and foremost is to ensure that I am setting the example for my Facility Assistants, as well as to create a positive atmosphere that my fellow peers and users can enjoy on a daily basis. Along with my fellow supervisors, I manage the facilities and see that they are being run up to the standards of the professional staff. We provide knowledge and insight to anyone curious about our facilities and services we may offer. We also make sure that our users are cooperating and following guidelines, as well as participating in a safe manner.

UR: Why did you choose to work at University Recreation?

IS: I chose to work at University recreation because I spend majority of my free time working out in Carmichael and I figured it would be a perfect fit for me since I was always in the building. I also plan on owning and operating my own gym or training facility in the future and I saw University Recreation as the perfect opportunity for me to gain firsthand experience on the inner workings of a facility similar to what I would like to accomplish one day.

UR: What does being a part of facilities mean to you?

IS: Being a part of facilities means a lot to me. Some people may view it just as working at the gym, but it actually goes a lot farther than that. You may feel at times that you are just another employee and no one takes notice of you, but once you are out of your element and people approach you with “Hey! Aren’t you the guy that works at the gym?” you realize that working here and being immersed in an area that your peers visit periodically, actually pushes you to walk around with the type of demeanor that others can admire and gravitate towards because they do in fact notice you and all that you do.

UR: What is your favorite thing about working for University Recreation?

IS: My favorite thing about working for University Recreation would have to be that I get to go to the gym, which is my home away from home, and I am able to call it work. Although I may not be working out, just being in Carmichael puts me in a good mood. Another thing that I love about URec is the people I work with. A lot of times in different establishments, you’ll hear about work related drama and all kinds of nonsense, but it’s nothing like here. Everyone gets along well with one another no matter the situation. We know how to have a great time in a professional manner and we also know how to do this while maintaining an excellent work ethic and accomplishing our tasks.

UR: What is the most valuable skill or lesson you have learned working for University Recreation in your current position?

IS: I would say the most valuable skill I have learned from working for University Recreation is definitely customer service. Working here, you interact with many people on a daily basis and you quickly learn how to adapt in order to meet the many demands of these users. I honestly look forward to coming in to work to help users with anything they may have questions about, whether it be about the facility, or something pertaining to exercising. I get a kick out of seeing the look of satisfaction on someone’s face after I have done my best to assist them.

UR: What has this position helped you learn about the professional world?

IS: This position has helped me learn that in order to succeed in the professional world, excellent communication skills are required. I say this because mostly everything we do in the facility is accomplished by communicating efficiently. Excluding supervisors, there are approximately eleven staff members on duty during peak hours and we all cannot be in the same place at once. Therefore, our radios are our best friends and it is important that we communicate as thoroughly as possible on them in order to get our messages across to one another.

UR: What would be your recommendation for students considering a facilities position or other positions with University Recreation?

IS: My recommendation would be to go ahead and apply because you will not regret it. Schedules are very flexible, everyone is willing to go out of their way to help you to the best of their ability, and you basically become a part of one giant family. In addition to all this, you gain great employment experience, especially customer service which is a very transferable skill. No matter where you work in the future, you will have to interact with customers and if you can master that skill now at the tender ages of 18-21, then you will be well prepared for life.

An article from USA Today explains that having an on campus job can be beneficial in more ways than just earning an income. On campus jobs can enrich your campus experience by introducing to other students at the work place. These jobs also can help you gain experience as an employee and lengthen your resume. The most exceptional thing about working on campus as opposed to off is that your employer understands that you are a student first, therefore, you can have shorts shifts and a more flexible schedule, just as Isaac stated. University Recreation is the biggest campus employer, and working here will give you friendships and skills for a lifetime.

Think and just do it,

Sarah

February Club Sport of the Month: Men’s Ultimate

This month, NC State University is recognizing our Men’s Ultimate Club Team. Ultimate Frisbee first started at NC State in the late 1980’s. Since then, our club team has had a reputation of being tough to beat. They have competed in Nationals several times and are currently part of one of the toughest regional divisions in the country. This sport is relatively new compared to other sports such as soccer and basketball. The players give their all in the game and leave the field muddied and bruised because of how physically demanding it can be. To learn more about our Ultimate Frisbee Club Team, read my interview of three-year veteran Clayton Carey below.

University Recreation: When does your season start, and how long does it last?

Clayton Carey: The fall season is really our preparation for the spring season. The spring season is when we have our sanctioned tournaments. At the end of our spring season, we have the series, which includes sectionals, regionals, and nationals.

UR: How often do you practice? What is your typical practice like?

CC: We practice three times a week for three hours, at minimum. A typical practice starts with a warm up, then our three coaches put us through specific drills, depending on what kind of offensive or defensive strategies we are tying to work out.

UR: What upcoming competitions are you preparing for?

CC: Next weekend we have the Queen City Tune Up tournament in Charlotte. Some of the best teams of the region will be there, including Top Ten teams North Carolina and Wilmington.

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UR: What is it like to travel around and compete against different schools?

CC: It’s a lot of fun! In this regional area, there are a lot of really competitive schools, so all of our tournaments are difficult. It’s great to travel around and play challenging teams.

UR: Does your team have any recent achievements that you are especially proud of?

CC: It’s still pretty early this season, but last season we started our season by beating Pittsburgh, who were the defending national champions at that time.

UR: What is your best memory about the Ultimate Club?

CC: I think my best memories are from when we have won tournaments. My worst may be from late January 2015, when we played some really challenging opponents who are nationally ranked and we could’ve beaten them. We were really close until the end and we just couldn’t hang on.

UR: What is a tradition your team has?

CC: At the first tournament in the fall, the new rookies have to prepare a freestyle and perform a rap battle. That’s always a fun tradition.

UR: What is your favorite thing about being a part of a club sports team?

CC: My favorite part about being on our club team has been the close brotherhood that we have. We hang our a lot outside of practice. They’re really a good group of guys who I enjoy being friends with.

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UR: What if someone is interested joining the Ultimate Frisbee Club? How can they find out more information?

CC: They can contact us through our email, social media, or our website. We have Facebook and our Twitter is @wolfpackultim8. On wolfpackultimate.com, you can send us your info if you want to join. Our website also has more information about the team and our sport and a link to the women’s team.

UR: Are there tryouts?

CC: Our tryouts are in the fall. We have a developmental team that is open for anyone who just wants to come out and play, in addition to our A Team, which is more competitive.

UR: What sets Ultimate Frisbee apart from other sports?

CC: Even though it is a non-contact sport, some of the plays have to make do involve contact. A lot of the time when we are trying to generate a turnover, you have to sacrifice your body with what we call laying out. It’s different from other sports in that it is score capped and not time capped. The cap is fifteen, so some of these games can last really long. Also, every time that we go and compete, it’s a tournament, so we are playing 8 to 10 games all day Saturday and Sunday. That adds up to about 10 to 15 hours of playing.

An honor code that all the players must abide by sets Ultimate Frisbee apart from other sports; this is called “Spirit of the Game”. This concept is spelled out in the Official Rules of Ultimate and puts an emphasis on sportsmanship and mutual respect. Ultimate does not need referees because this concept is such an integral part of the sport. According to USA Ultimate, this new sport started as recently as 1968 at a high school in New Jersey. Today, it has pro leagues and played across the world by millions. This young game has similar characteristics to soccer, such as endurance and athletic skills, and to football, such as end zones and passing skills. Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting game to watch and easy to pick for anyone with any athletic ability.

We are wishing the Men’s Ultimate team the best of luck as they compete this spring!

Think and just do it,

Sarah