Student Life

For the Fun of It

By Ted Allen, June 1, 2017

Unique sports and recreation offerings enhance student life

Facility upgrades and the expansion of several sports and recreation programs at Liberty University have encouraged more students to try new activities and team-building exercises with their peers.

“Because of our local geography and top-tier facilities, Liberty students have the chance to participate in a very diverse and unique range of opportunities,” said Chris Misiano, vice president of Campus Recreation. “There aren’t many campuses where you could climb a rock wall on Monday, play spikeball on Tuesday, go out on a challenge course (high-ropes) on Wednesday, swim in the indoor pool on Thursday, go kayaking on Friday, and then run in a 5K on Saturday.”

Playing sports — whether on one of Liberty’s 20 NCAA Division I or 41 Club Sports teams or in its popular Intramural Sports or Outdoor Recreation programs — can help students excel in the classroom and improve leadership skills while strengthening the body, invigorating the mind, and uplifting the spirit.

“Spiritually, the bonds that students form through these activities and the relationships they build help them develop their faith,” said Vice President and Athletic Director of Club Sports Kirk Handy.

Nearly 600 student-athletes played on Liberty’s Club Sports teams this past year, competing on campus as well as traveling to regional and national collegiate tournaments in everything from archery and disc golf to ice hockey, figure skating, paintball, rock climbing, tae kwon do, and skiing and snowboarding. That number is expected to rise to nearly 700 this fall with the recent addition of men’s and women’s shooting sports, men’s swimming & diving, and women’s wrestling.

Liberty’s Intramural Sports program has one of the highest participation rates in the country, with nearly 25 percent of residential undergraduate students playing on a team. Each semester, about 3,500 students compete in 20 organized leagues in both traditional sports (basketball, softball, and volleyball) and emerging sports, such as broomball, spikeball, and Ultimate.

Other unique sports are offered at the club level through Liberty’s Student Government Association and include bass fishing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, fencing, and table tennis.

Liberty’s Outdoor Recreation department also invites students on off-campus adventure trips that are affordable and provide unique opportunities, such as kayaking on the James River, fly fishing, horseback riding through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, whitewater rafting in West Virginia, bouldering, and hiking and camping at state parks.

Recent graduate Corey Messer took advantage of many of Liberty’s recreational activities. He was a member of Liberty’s first-year rock climbing team and worked as a ski instructor at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, the university’s year-round ski and snowboarding slope. He said the wide range of opportunities, including the 50-plus miles of mountain bike and running trails on Liberty’s mountain property, made the university an attractive choice for him.

“We’re really fortunate here at Liberty that our president, Jerry Falwell, believes having these extra sports, which are kind of unique, is beneficial,” Messer said. “It really helps the student on an emotional level. It gets them out doing different things and gives them a release from the academic pressure.”

Liberty Mountain Skate Park, located in the Candlers Mountain Shopping Center, provides an indoor alternative for skateboarders, rollerbladers, and BMX bikers. Horse lovers can pursue their passion at Liberty’s Equestrian Center, where, in addition to competing on the Hunt Seat and Western Club Sports teams, students can also take kinesiology courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders.

Liberty’s Center for Professional & Continuing Education offers unusual courses as well. Students can sign up for SCUBA training and earn their diving certification or take a wilderness survival and First Aid class.

Liberty’s expansive Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center, located five minutes from campus, serves as the start and finish point for the six races offered every year through the Liberty Mountain Trail Series. Besides the trails used for walking, running, mountain biking, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), the center also features a lake with kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards, a zipline and high- and low-ropes course, and campground with 12 tent sites. One of Liberty’s two 20-hole disc golf courses is located nearby, and a new shooting range and 3D archery course are under construction across from the main entrance.

To learn more about Liberty’s exciting recreational opportunities, visit

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