Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson
Rowing. Archery. Esports. Power lifting. Tennis. Northwestern State University’s list of club sports continues to grow as the university responds to students who want to compete in extracurricular activities they’ve been involved with prior to going to college.
Northwestern State is already known for its spirit groups. The Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band is the largest and most visible, along with the Demon Heat Color Guard, Demon Dazzlers, pom line and cheerleaders, but interest in club sports has grown considerably since the COVID-19 pandemic when schools were closed and students had time to explore new hobbies.
“Club sports are a great opportunity for incoming freshmen to get involved and become part of the student community,” said Dr. Jason Stelly, associate director of competitive sports and head coach of the NSU rowing crew. “This year we had rowing, esports, archery, bass fishing, and tennis as officially recognized club sports. Each competed and represented NSU throughout the year.”
Stelly offered the following highlights related to NSU club sports.
- The NSU rowing team currently has 25 rowers and just won a bronze medal at national championships.
- Esports has 30 current members and six competitive gaming teams.
- Archery has nearly 40 members, with two ranked in the Top 10 in the country. A home course is under development on campus, which would allow NSU to host competitions.
- Bass fishing has approximately 15 members and consistently finishes in the top 10 in competitions.
- Tennis is a recent start-up with approximately 20 members. They team will begin competing in the fall.
- Powerlifting is in development and currently has 20 members.
- Soccer is in development with paperwork pending completion.
- Some club sports, namely esports and bass fishing, award scholarships to competitors.
Van Erikson, director of Recruiting, said several outstanding incoming freshmen are already recognized in their respective sports with plans to continue at NSU. Emily Waits, a graduate of Northwood-Lena, is a Junior Olympian in archery who also scored a 35 on the ACT. Kayleb Stuple, a graduate of Magnet Academy for Cultural Arts who will participate in esports, is ranked in Call of Duty. Ross Miller of Notre Dame, Cole Pickett of Many and Drake Wadsworth of North DeSoto are highly ranked bass anglers and will be awarded Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Scholarships as they begin the fall semester.
For students interested in experiences in leadership, physical fitness and mental toughness, NSU’s Department of Military Science offers the Reserve Officer Training Corps. ROTC at NSU is an elective and students can participate in the Basic Course as freshmen and sophomores without any obligation to join the Army. Cadets who choose to complete the Advanced Course as juniors and seniors are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army upon graduation. This fall, the program will welcome Jacob Mullican from South Beauregard High School and Megan Franchino from Guam as the program’s first two National ROTC Scholarship recipients.
“Auxiliary groups and club sports help drive recruitment enrollment,” Erikson, said. “We’ve done informal polls with students to gage their interests and find out what they would be attracted to. Club sports tend to be lifetime sports that are healthy and fun and supplement opportunities for students to get involved.”
Stelly said intramural sports at NSU’s Wellness Recreation and Activities Center include basketball, football, volleyball, pickleball, badminton, dodgeball and other activities. The WRAC also sponsors a Couch to 5K running club. Use of the WRAC is free to all NSU students. NSU also has a disc golf course on campus and the Recreation Complex with an 18-hole golf course, Olympic size pool and tennis courts, also free to students. The state-of-the-art esports venue hosts regular tournaments.
Courtney Chancellor has served as NSU’s club sports director for the past year after working in recreation for five years. As an undergrad at NSU, she was a student worker for intramurals for three years and a grad assistant while working on her master’s degree.
“Joining a club sport gives students the perfect balance of having a normal college experience without the intensity of official athletic team,” Chancellor said. “Club sports is a great opportunity to not only continue your athletic career but to also try new things. When joining or creating a new team you are learning new skills while also building friendships.”
For more information on club sports, contact Chancellor at firstname.lastname@example.org.