New athletic complex provides more opportunity for intramural sports

Intramural sports are experiencing some changes this year.

With the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex open, tennis will be offered again, and because there is more space, there are more options for scheduling indoor intramural activities.

“Last year was a real struggle just because we have such big numbers in a lot of the sports and we didn’t really have a place to do a lot of it, so a lot of the leagues had to be cut back a little bit,” said Dave Lepp, St. Thomas facilities manager and intramurals director.

Holding some of the leagues and tournaments indoors is now a possibility since the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex is open.

“We had to do soccer outside [last year]. This year, we’d actually like to do intramural soccer inside,” Lepp said. “Outside, it’s so iffy with weather changes and then you got to start canceling the games. But it’s just easier to do it indoors when games are always set.

Intramural tennis changes

One new addition to intramural sports this year is the tennis tournament that was held this past weekend in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

“We’re just going to try a weekend tournament and then after the tournament we may go into a league after that,” Lepp said. “It would probably be later at night because that’s when the field house is more open. We haven’t done [intramural tennis] for a couple years. Now it’s going to be interesting because we have four courts.”

Students play tennis on all four courts in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. (Val Turgeon/TommieMedia)
Students play tennis on all four courts in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. (Val Turgeon/TommieMedia)

Tennis used to be played in the old field house and on the outdoor courts located where the Anderson Parking Facility now is.

“It was a lot more popular when we had outdoor tennis courts,” Lepp said. “That’s actually an outdoor activity, but to tell you the truth, these courts [in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex] are really nice.”

Sophomore Megan Iannaci said she will be able to practice her swing more now that courts are back on campus.

“Last year we didn’t know where to go [to play tennis] but now that they have tennis indoors and there’s more court time, I think it’ll be easier for lots of people to play tennis,” Iannaci said.

She also said that she likes the indoor courts because there’s no wind. But space will still be an issue, especially when trying to schedule open court time.

“We’re trying to get the flow of the building right now,” Lepp said. “We have set up nets a couple times. Once we get the flow, I’m going to try and figure out some times when we can set up at least two nets for open tennis and maybe even four nets.”

Lepp said since the athletic center is a multi-purpose facility and all sports should be fairly represented, it would be ideal to have two tennis nets, one volleyball net, and a basketball court in the field house.

Lepp also said it should not be difficult to schedule time for the intramural basketball league this year.

“We actually have more options with basketball because they can play in the arena, they can play in McCarthy gym, and you can’t play tennis in either of those,” Lepp said.

Sophomore Derek Syverson is excited to play intramural basketball again, especially with the new facilities.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “[McCarthy] was a normal court last year, nothing bad, but nothing special. Anderson looks epic.”

There is also more space this year for the intramural volleyball leagues.

“Last year, we were kind of cramped for space with 40-some teams, but now we can set up four volleyball courts,” Lepp said. “Co-ed volleyball’s going to be fun in the new field house. There’s just plenty of room up there.”

Intramural football, one-day events

Football will still be played outside on Palmer Field but there may be some changes with the co-ed league.

“Allen Clark, who ran it, he actually suggested that we might just do a tournament with it,” Lepp said. “Kind of make it a weekend tournament, so we’re going to try to do that this year instead of every Monday.”

Fall 2009 was the first time co-ed intramural football was offered, and Lepp said it was a success.

“I think people had fun playing it,” Lepp said. “That should be more social than the competitive touch football league that we have.”

The “powderpuff” event Dowling Hall held last year proved to be a hit, and Lepp said he would love to see an all-women football league form in the future.

One-day intramural events will also be offered, such as the chipping contest Monday.

“We do a chipping contest, which is really fun,” Lepp said. “You don’t have to sign up for it, we just advertise it. You take five shots at this green with these golf balls and it’s just fun to do.”

A co-ed mile run will also be offered that doesn’t require registration. Students can simply show up with their student ID card.

For more descriptions of the 2010 fall intramural sports and registration times, visit the St. Thomas intramural website.

Valerie Turgeon can be reached at