November Club Sport of the Month: Men’s Soccer

Globally recognized as the world’s game, recently, soccer has grown substantially in the United States. Building off of the energy of tournaments like the World Cup and video games like EA Sports’ FIFA, soccer is becoming a major sport in a country that is enamored with football, basketball and baseball.

At NC State, soccer has maintained a great following through the legacy of our men’s varsity team, currently ranked top 25 in the nation. This team has produced players such as former US Men’s National Team member Pabli Mastroeni and current Carolina RailHawk Nazmi Albadawi.

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Our men’s club team has followed suit, building a program predicated on building great student-athletes and fantastic soccer players. Check out our interview with the team below.

UREC: How is the season going thus far?

So far we have had a very good season; we have yet to lose a conference game and we look like strong contenders for Regionals. As the season goes on we have only been getting better and that is something that is very promising.

UREC: What are you guys looking forward to the most this school year?

As the regular season comes to an end, we are really looking forward to Regionals. If we qualify, we will be going to Florida on Halloween weekend and hopefully we can have a strong showing there. We have not qualified for the past couple of years, so this is something that we are really looking forward too.

UREC: As the new members come in, what is the most important thing necessary to become a valuable team member?

The most important thing would be commitment. We have players from all over the place with many different playing styles so when a new player comes in it is important that he is going to all the practices in order to get better team chemistry. The more committed the player is the better adapted he can become to our playing style, and the bigger impact he can have for us on the field.

UREC: What is the strongest attribute of this team on the field?
Our strongest attribute would have to be our teamwork. We work very hard every practice to make that we are all on the same page when it comes to game time, and that shows. We are very strong when it comes to attacking and defending as a unit.

UREC: Typical practice looks like?
At the beginning of practice the first thing we do is get a warm up going, this usually consists of a couple laps around the field just to get our legs going. After this we incorporate some technical work with some fitness as well. Once we finish this we move on to some small sided games, some possession drills, or a scrimmage. We also try to make things more interesting by having the losing team do more fitness at the end of practice.

UREC: During travel, what are some of the best memories you can recall?
The best thing about traveling with the team is the time we get to spend together. The team meals we have are usually what everyone looks forward to and is always a good time. And of course whenever we stay at a hotel we seem to also find a way to get a little soccer game going, usually in the halls or in the parking lot.

UREC: What is a staple tradition your team has?
Our biggest tradition is going to the Clemson tournament. Every year Clemson has a tournament, and this is something that we always look forward too as a team. This is the time we get to spend the most time together as a team and it really helps us come together and get to know each other, especially the newest players that some might not know as well.

UREC: Being a student-athlete has benefited you in a multitude of ways, top benefit is?
Being a student-athlete can be something that is very demanding at times. With school being very stressful at times with exams and projects, the best thing for me about being a student-athlete is the relief that is gives me. I know that no matter how busy the week is, at least twice a week I am going to have a couple hours where I get to relax and do what I love. It helps me relax and get away from all the stress of school, and that is something that is very important I think for everyone; everyone needs to do something that gets you away from the stress and re-energizes you.
UREC: Lastly, what makes men’s club soccer at NC State special?
What makes club soccer soccer so special is the bond and friendships that it creates. There is something about being part of a team that is inexplicable. We have people come from so many different places and cultures that are brought together by this one sport that we love. Club soccer takes soccer and creates bonds that go way beyond that, it creates awesome friendships. Club soccer has given me friendships that will last a lifetime, and that is pretty special.

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.


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 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,


Club Sport of the Month: Equestrian Dressage

NC State University Recreation is excited to highlight NC State’s Equestrian Dressage club team as July’s Club Sport of the Month. This team won numerous titles during the 2014-15 school year and plan to build even more memories and acclaim this upcoming school year.


To look back on the successes of last year and the exciting future of NC State’s equestrian dressage, here’s our interview with team captain, Ashley Grandis.

University Recreation: How was last year’s club season?

Ashley: Wonderful! Last year, we won Overall Team Champion at our NC State IDA Homeshow. We competed at the St. Andrews University IDA Show, placing ahead of the host team and an additional Reserve Team Champion title. We won the Regional Team Reserve Champion for Region I during the 2014-15 year, an award we hadn’t won since 2008. In addition to our competitive success, we also earned the Community Service Award through Club Sports 2014-15 for our devotion to CORRAL (an organization that pairs rescued horses and at-risk girls for therapy) as our service project for the year.

University Recreation: What are you guys looking forward to the most?

Ashley: We are looking forward to gaining new members and growing our team at a new facility, SaddleTree Stables for the 2015-16 year. Greater scheduling flexibility, more affordable rates for our members, and a larger selection of horses to ride should lead us to even more success.

University Recreation: As the new members come in, what is the most important attribute necessary to becoming a valuable team member?

Ashley: The most important thing to becoming a valuable team member is dedication not only as a rider, but for all aspects of the club. For example, we have different events throughout the year such as bi-weekly meetings, clinics, fundraisers and community service events that are necessary components of being a member of the team. It is vital that members understand the importance of actively participate in these components in addition to the weekly riding lessons and various competitions.


University Recreation: When does the season start? How long is it?

Ashley: We start recruitment in August with RecFest during the first week of school. After that we host our interest meeting and tryouts a couple days after RecFest. After tryouts we solidify our team roster, and begin weekly lessons the first week of September. We typically have about 5-6 competitions throughout the year. We train and compete both Fall and Spring semesters, excluding Winter Break and Spring Break. Our season wraps up mid April, ending with Nationals if team members qualify.

University Recreation: What is your favorite thing about the team?

Ashley: This team consistently promotes professional, social, and personal growth. From a professional standpoint, the team provides a spectrum of leadership roles from being an active member all the way to taking on officer positions such as President. I finally was able to show on my resume the love I have for this sport throughout my life. Socially, the team creates life long friendships that make our time at NC State even better. I have found my “equestrian family” on through this team. The cherished memories I’ve shared with this group will always be with me.

University Recreation: Typical practice looks like?

Ashley: A typical practice consists of a weekly lesson with four riders per group. Riders are assigned horses by our coach, Jan Jacobson. Members will tack up his or her horse for the day and head to the riding arena for an hour lesson. Typically during a lesson, Jan will take turns working with different riders individually to give riders added personalized coaching. Typically, a few weeks before any competition we practice riding through our dressage tests.


University Recreation: What is a tradition your team has?

Ashley: As mentioned before, we all enjoy Mexican food and haunted trails. During the Fall we have a lot of competitions that sometimes end up pretty close together spanning from September through early November. Its become a tradition to go to a haunted house or trail at every weekend show when we travel. Additionally, our team frequents El Cerro pretty much every time we get back into town after a day show.

University Recreation: What does a rider need to do to join your squad?

Ashley: In order to join the team a rider needs to attend RecFest and/or communicate via Facebook or email found in the club sports directory to inform current officers of their interest on the team. Potential members should attend the interest meeting and those who chose to take the next step will attend tryouts at our equine facility. Those trying out will pay a small fee for the use of the facility, coach and horses for the day approximately $15. Tryouts will be based on skill, and also availability per division level. After tryouts those who made the cut will pay a small fee for club dues to join in order to be a member for the year.


The Wolfpack equestrian dressage club’s commitment to success in the arena and in the community is evident. A multitude of honors paired with an impact for the greater good showcases their passion for sustained excellence, which we are excited to follow.

Additional contact with the equestrian dressage team can be done through email at:

Club Sport of the Month: Men’s Basketball

NC State University Recreation would like to recognize our men’s basketball team as the highlight of May’s Club Sport of the Month. This past school year the squad consistently competed on a regional and national level. The 2015 NIRSA National Basketball Tournament in April closed their season out.

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In order to learn more about NC State’s men’s club basketball team, here’s our interview with team captain, Benjamin Simons.

University Recreation: How was last year’s club season?

Benjamin: The last year’s club season went decent. Our overall record for combined teams was 19-17 on the year with wins over every club team in state. The club split up into two teams for the spring semester and won the 17th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tournament at Wake Forest University. Dunking for Deah was a new 3 on 3 tournament sponsored by our club team in honor of former NC State student, Deah Barakat. This was a huge success raising over $3,000 for his charity alongside our team winning club sports event of the year. We didn’t perform as well as we would have liked to in nationals but we plan to make a big run in the national tournament next year with the majority of players returning.

UREC: Coming up on a new school year, what are you guys looking forward to the most?

B: Our club is looking forward to bringing in 4 to 6 new players who are very good basketball players alongside people. After that we’re looking forward to winning local tournaments plus competing in nationals.

UREC: As the new members come in, what is the most important thing necessary to become a valuable team member?

B: The most important thing to become a valuable team player is getting along with the current players on the team. Team chemistry on and off the court is an important aspect for our club.

UREC: When does the season start? How long is it?

B: The season starts in September with tryouts and runs all the way into mid April with nationals. Our season consists of 8 months.

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UREC: What is your favorite attribute of this squad?

B: My favorite thing about our team is how we compete against other in-state schools. We traditionally have a strong record against in-state universities and hope to keep this going.

UREC: Typical practice looks like?

B: A typical practice consists of playing pick-up for 2 hours every Wednesday night. I try to keep practices laid back but next year we will look to make changes during practice time.

UREC: During travel, what are some of the fondest memories you can recall?

B: The fondest memories would be my sophomore year as our team finished in 3rd place at James Madison University’s fall tournament. 32 club teams across the east coast came to compete in this excellent tournament and to finish 3rd was a huge success. That was one of the most talented teams I’ve played on but the friendships made from that year is another fond memory of mine.

UREC: What is a staple tradition your team has?

B: Our team doesn’t have a staple tradition but something I would like to happen is for The 3 on 3 Tournament, Dunking For Deah to become a new tradition annually hosted by our club team.

UREC: Being a student-athlete has benefitted you in a multitude of ways, top benefit is?

B: We’re no varsity athletes by any stretch but a benefit would be is meeting other club athletes at tournaments and establishing new friendships.

UREC: What does a player need to do to join your squad?

B: A player needs to have skill out on the basketball court but a good attitude as well. I look at skill significantly but it all starts out with being a good team player plus person. They’re a lot of good players at State but players who are talented at basketball alongside being a genuine person have a good shot at making our squad.

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This team has done great things on the court and through this interview, the importance of character and dedication to basketball is evident. With tryouts coming in September, University Recreation will be hosting information for men’s club basketball here.

Additional contact with the men’s club basketball team can be done through email at:

September Club Sport of the Month: Sailing

NC State University Recreation would like to recognize the Sailing Club as September’s Club Sport of the Month.  Yes, you read correctly, I said Sailing Club.  This club was established in 1954, making them our oldest student club on NC State’s campus!

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Below, you can read my interview with Club President, Daniel Hemstreet.  I was able to find out a lot of interesting information about our Sailing Club that I did not know, and now you have a chance too as well.

University Recreation: When does your season start, and how long does your season last?
Sailing Club: The fall season started with the first practice on the August 17, and the first regatta was September 13 in Charleston, SC. The fall season ends with the championship regatta in St. Petersburg, FL on November 1. If the team does well at the championship, finishing in the top 6, the team will continue into November with regional and national regattas. The spring season begins when classes begin in January.

UR: What upcoming competitions are you preparing for?
SC: The race team raced in Clemson, SC on September 20 and is preparing to compete in regattas in both Knoxville, TN and Medford, MA on September 27.

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UR: Does your team have any recent achievements that you are especially proud of?
SC: The Race Team saw its best finish in Spring 2014 with a 3rd place ranking in the northern division of the SAISA conference. That season the team was just two points away from qualifying for Regionals, a feat never achieved by the team within memory.

UR: What is a tradition your team has?
SC: The race team always sends two teams of two sailors to each regatta, an A team and B team. Only one team from each school is on the water at a time and the A team always goes out first. Even though the A team is on the water first and the B team is left ashore, both teams rig the boat together and talk strategy as one team as one pack.

UR: What is your favorite thing about playing and being a part of a Club Sports team at N.C. State?
SC: The best thing about being a part of a Club Sports at NC State is the sense of camaraderie that comes with being on a close-knit team. The team practices three times a week and travels every weekend, so everyone is very close.

UR: How often do you practice? What is your typical practice like?
SC: The team practices on the water twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, out at Lake Wheeler. On Thursday nights, the team has a classroom practice to talk about drills, tactics, and the upcoming regatta. The women’s team holds an additional practice on Sunday afternoons. Practices begin with a short run to get warmed up, as well as, with a breakdown of the day’s drills and expectations. The boats are quickly rigged, and once out on the water the sailors go through a myriad of boat handling exercises. Each practice typically ends with mock races and tacking drills on the way back to the dock.

UR: What is it like to travel around and compete against different schools?
SC: Traveling to regattas can be a great deal of fun. The road trips are always memorable as we often take the time to stop at iconic places such as South of the Border. In addition, the team competes against the same schools and same sailors at every regatta. We build friendships with people from all over the southeast, and while we may go to schools hundreds of miles away, we get the opportunity to catch up during the weekend both on and off the water.

UR: What is your best memory about Club Sports?
SC: After a very heavy wind regatta in St. Petersburg, FL in October 2012, we began the long drive back to Raleigh doing homework. But before we left the greater Tampa area, we decided to try to find a restaurant that served authentic Cuban sandwiches. Not knowing the area, we relied on Google for direction, and it did not disappoint. We stumbled upon an amazing restaurant called El Palacio de Jugo run by a Cuban family who took us in and treated us like their own. The food was spectacular, and laughs and stories were shared all around. Because the owner, who sat and ate with us the whole time, knew we had far to go to get home, he sent us off with free café con leches and offered to put us up the next time we were in town. The owner and restaurant have become legend in the sailing club.

saisa openUR: What if someone is interested in the Sailing Club? How can they find out more information? Are there tryouts?
SC: If anyone is interested in the Sailing Club we encourage them to like the Club Sailing Facebook and the SailPack Foundation Facebook, and to also come out to our weekly meetings on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in Carmichael Gym room 2037.

We are wishing you all the best in your upcoming practices and races!  Next Spring, we are looking forward to hearing that our Sailing Club has qualified for Regionals, so keep up the hard work.

Forever backin’ the Pack,