Sport Club Executive Board honors clubs, participants

By Tyler Davis

With just $50,000 to fund more than 40 sport clubs, it can be difficult to find the money to plan club events.

Shane Bennett, the assistant director of sport clubs and intramurals, said the amount pales in comparison to the money other universities give to its sport clubs. Additionally, those universities usually offer fewer options than SIU.

The clubs that best used the scarce funds were recognized at a meeting in the Recreation Center Thursday. The Sport Club Executive Board announced a slew of awards, including Club of the Year, Officer of the Year, Event of the Year and Most Improved Club.

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Bennett said one of the most competitive awards was the Most Improved Club. The kendo club received the honor and Bennett said one of the reasons was because the club wisely used its resources.

“Our martial arts programs have a tremendous resource in Johnathan Flowers,” Bennett said. “He has great knowledge of all the martial arts and can help them better understand the art and advertise the club.”

Flowers is a member of the Sport Club Executive Board and is well versed in the martial arts. He is also president of the shinkendo and Kali escrima clubs on campus.

Bennett said the club’s participation during International Culture Week was a factor in them winning the award. The “art” of the club was on full display during the International Culture Show, held Feb. 14. It also served as a good way to recruit more members, Bennett said.

Peter Schorsch, a sophomore from Elk Grove Village studying information systems technology, is the treasurer of the club and said the club’s improvement came from internal changes.

“We elected new officers and we tried communicating more effectively,” Schorsch said. “Then there was communication between our members and it helped get practice times and organize plans for the club.”

Bennett said the club had more internal issues it had to deal with besides organizing meetings. Part of the officer overhaul occurred because of some tension between club members. With two leaders with different philosophies, the club needed a change.

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Bennett said one student, club president Brigitte Bentulan, ignited the change.

“They had some interclub turmoil,” Bennett said. “We had a student that said, ‘No, either you’re no longer going to be a part of this club or you’re going to follow the right way to do it.’ Brigette stood up to him. She made it a point; she stood up for the art of kendo more than anything.”

Bentulan, a sophomore studying biological sciences, has been in the club for a year and a half and has been president for a year. She said the changes were tough to make but she credits her officers within the club as well as the committed members for the improvement.

“We had to lay down the expectations and structure, which allowed the members to work hard and achieve their goals (of sparring with each other),” Bentulan said. “I would like to give a shout out to the current members who have shown improvement in skill, teamwork, and leadership.”

The kendo club, which has grown to eight members, is still looking to improve. Schorsch said the club remains to look for new members and its current members are still trying to advance in their craft, something that has not happened since 2003.

“We’d like to have (members) rank up and since our current members have been doing it longer, they’ll be able to rank up quickly,” Schorsch said. “Our new members will have to practice for a while before they can rank.”

The table tennis club was recognized for winning Club of the Year. Table tennis set a club record when it sent three students to the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association National Championships this year.

The club baseball team was awarded with the Event of the Year for its Slugfest Tournament, which featured 18 teams from seven states. There were two Officer of the Year winners announced: senior Dave Rebot and junior Kelsea Bourland.

Rebot, the president of the paintball club, has been trying to secure the club an on-campus practice site, a feat Bennett said would improve the club’s activity on campus.

Bourland, co-founder and president of the quidditch club, led her club to finish second out of five at a tournament at Illinois State University. She was also recognized for getting the quidditch club to compete competitively and increasing awareness about the sport.

Bennett said cases like Bourland’s or Bentulan’s are what make sport clubs great. He said being an officer of a sport club or part of the executive board adds a lot to the college experience.

“Sport clubs give students the opportunity to lead, to grow and to become ambassadors for our university,” Bennett said. “It looks great on résumés. It really is extraordinary students doing extraordinary things.”

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @TDavis_DE or 539-3311 ext. 269.

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