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Intramural participation at Saint Mary’s on the rise

Justin Tardiff | Thursday, September 30, 2004

As classes come to an end each day, more and more Saint Mary’s students are spending their evenings outside on the athletics fields. This semester, between 250 and 300 students are participating in intramural flag football, sand volleyball and tennis – double the typical turnout in recent years.Saint Mary’s Athletic Director Lynn Kachmarik said the increase is largely due to better freshmen representation, which she attributed in part to her speech about intramural involvement at freshman orientation.”I think it was a good thing to get in front of them,” Kachmarik said. “It made a huge difference. I was really pleased to do that.” Interest has also perked up since changes were made to the program in 2001, she said.That year, Kachmarik’s second as athletic director, she decided to increase the competitive aspect of intramurals. Points earned during intramural games began to be tallied and added to each residence hall’s total points for the intramural season. Now, an intramural hall champion is named at the end of winter intramurals each year.”My first year [at Saint Mary’s] we had between 50-100 participants,” Kachmarik said. “That’s not successful in any shape or form.” In the first two years of the new program, year-long participation numbers jumped significantly. Kachmarik also credited the program’s success to the work of intramural director Julie Schroeder-Biek and student director Martha Hottenstein. “Martha has done a phenomenal job,” Kachmarik said. “[Intramurals] couldn’t run without her leadership.”Building on its growing popularity, the Saint Mary’s intramural program has been able to add various sports to its list of offerings. “The main core of the program stays the same,” Kachmarik said. “But some of the non-traditional sports change depending on the interest of the student body and on what is popular.” This winter, along with indoor volleyball, soccer and three-on-three basketball, the intramurals program will be offering dodgeball to students. “We decided to jump on the dodgeball craze,” Kachmarik said. By adding sports that are currently popular, even more students will want to get involved with the program, Kachmarik said. She added the program is a real benefit to college-age women because it teaches them how to relieve stress through activities.”I think a great fitness and wellness program goes hand in hand with a great academic institution,” She said. “It brings us together as a community.”Freshman Sarina Kopacz, who formed a sand volleyball team with her cousin and other friends, said she finds intramurals to be a relaxing study break. “I enjoy playing sports for fun and not having such a huge commitment,” Kopacz said. “You go out twice a week for about a half hour and everyone is out there just having fun.”