Illinois State’s sport club program is home to over 30 groups of students who are able to play the sports they love, compete against others and make lifelong friends. Since last spring, the program has added several new clubs, including the women’s lacrosse club, the golf club and the Quidditch club.
The women’s lacrosse club, which began at the end of the Spring 2014 semester, was spearheaded by Danielle Del Nodal, who has been playing lacrosse since high school.
“I was a captain on my high school team and I have also been involved with Total Lacrosse and I wanted to bring it to ISU,” Del Nodal said.
Another sport club new to ISU this year is the golf club.
Founded last fall by Eric Hogenkamp, the ISU golf club already hosts over 20 members and hopes to continue increasing its numbers.
“A lot of guys like me want to play golf at school with other big golfers and have fun on the weekends but we weren’t sure who was around, so I thought this would be a fun way to meet people who share my intersest,” Hogenkamp said.
Once a team hits the field, it is all fun and games. However, getting there can be a hassle. Hannah Mueller, who helped the Quidditch club become an official Registered Student Organization, spent a lot of time jumping through the necessary hoops before her club could be made official.
“Although we have been a club for five years, it was still a lot of paperwork,” Mueller said. “We had to have a presentation that we gave to the Sports Club Council and they basically said yes or no after a lot of meetings.”
Despite the hard work, all three of these club presidents felt it was important to make their clubs official RSOs.
“I think we decided we needed to take the next big step,” Mueller said. “As an RSO, they give us practice space and facilities and financial help that we wouldn’t previously have.”
Becoming an RSO requires one thing above all: members. Each of these teams is looking to increase its membership through outings such as the Sport Club Expo and Festival ISU.
“The Sport Club Expo was great because we got athletes who were already interested in lacrosse, but I think Festival ISU will also be a huge help because it’s so big, everyone will have a better chance of seeing us,” Del Nodal said.
In addition to the larger outings some clubs, such as the golf club, chose to focus on marketing themselves in different ways to increase membership.
“Fliers and word of mouth have gone a long way for increasing our membership,” Hogenkamp said. “We’ve also been posting online and answering emails with questions anyone still has.”
Now that their RSO statuses have been solidified and their rosters are growing in numbers, it is time for these sport clubs to start competing.
Although this is the first year the Quidditch team has been an official RSO, the team has been meeting, practicing and playing against other college Quidditch teams for four years.
Practices mostly consist of drills and skills including passing and tackling.
“It’s kind of difficult to run around with a broom between your legs and we understand that,” Mueller said.
The Quidditch team’s first tournament is coming up, during which ISU will host a mix of new and experienced college Quidditch teams, the largest collection of teams Gregory Street Fields has ever seen.
Before the women’s lacrosse team can begin competing, they must be accepted into the Women’s College Lacrosse Association (WGLA), which requires a set roster of players and a small fee.
“We are hoping to get into the WCLA in October, but until then we have been practicing and scrimmaging against each other and against Illinois Weslyan,” Del Nodal said.
The golf team looks forward to another competition against Purdue, the No. 5 ranked team from last year that ISU both beat and fell to.
All three teams will spend this season preparing for the end of the year competitions. The women’s lacrosse team has its eyes on the WCLA Championships, the golf team is working toward the National College Club Golf Association’s National competition, and the Quidditch team is building up to the World Cup.
Each team president has high hopes for their clubs for the upcoming season.
“We are hopeful that we can get a dedicated group of girls on the team this year, we would love to make it into the WCLA and of course, win some games,” Del Nodal said.
“What I would love to see are kids who are passionate about golf and are able to lead the team once I graduate,” Hogenkamp said.
“I would love to see us win the World Cup, but more than that, we used to be a big competitor in the Midwest and I would like to see us get back to that level,” Mueller said.
All three clubs can be found on the Quad during Festival ISU for more information.