Club sports student-athletes honored at banquet
B.J. Williams, Staff Writer
The Liberty University Club Sports department held its first ever awards banquet Thursday night in the LaHaye Ice Center conference room.
There was plenty of food and fellowship as the student-athletes were recognized for their accomplishments on and off the field.
“This was a chance to honor those who finished with a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) or better and to honor outstanding athletic performance as well,” said Kirk Handy, Director of Club Sports.
Recognized for their academic achievement were 74 student-athletes who finished with a 3.5 or better GPA, 11 of which finished the year with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Awards were also presented for male and female athletes of the year, coach of the year and team of the year.
Wrestling had a big night as it was honored as the team of the year and featured the co-male athletes of the year (Scott Clymer and Aaron Thompson) and coach of the year (Jesse Castro.)
Clymer and Thompson both earned national championships at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) in Daytona Beach, Fla., in March. Clymer earned his championship at 141 pounds while Thompson won at 197 pounds, leading Liberty to a third place finish.
Danielle Thompson of the archery team and Division I hockey captain Stacy Christiaans were named co-female athletes of the year.
Thompson won a national championship in the Female Bowhunter division at the 3-D National Championships in October and placed ninth in her flight in the Female Bowhunter Freestyle division at the National Field Archery Association Indoor Nationals in March. Christiaans led the Lady Flames Division I hockey team in goals with 20, finished third in points with 37 and was recently named second team all-American by the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Handy hopes to make the banquet bigger and better for 2012-13 as Club Sports recently announced the addition of three new teams: women’s racquetball and men’s and women’s beach volleyball, bringing the program’s total number of teams to 31, seventeen men’s teams and fourteen women’s teams.
Liberty club sports storming the national scene
B.J. Williams, Staff Writer
The late Rev. Jerry Falwell often talked about having an athletics program that competed at the highest level. The Liberty University Club Sports department is taking huge strides to help that vision become reality.
“Overall, this is the best year we’ve ever had in club sports,” said Kirk Handy, Director of Club Sports.
Wrestling was the big winner, claiming a national duals championship as well as two wrestlers, Scott Clymer and Aaron Thompson, earning individual national championships. Paintball finished in the top three for the third consecutive year. Disc golf, in its first year, had an All-American (Joses Merat) and finished in the top 30. The men’s lacrosse team, in only its second full year, made it to the semifinals of the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference (SELC) and had more players make all-conference than all competing programs. Kyle McQuillan, head coach for lacrosse, was named SELC Coach of the Year.
“We had a lot of top 10 finishes. I think as we move forward you’re going to start seeing all of our club sports competing nationally,” Handy said.
Other teams that competed in national tournaments this year included men’s volleyball, gymnastics and triathlon.
Liberty announced the formation of three new club sports teams slated to begin this fall: women’s racquetball and men’s and women’s beach volleyball, bringing the total number of club sports teams to 31.