From Ultimate Frisbee to Racquetball: RIT Clubs

Nicole Ling throws a disc at the RIT women's ultimate frisbee club practice behind Grace Watson Hall in Henrietta, N.Y. on Oct. 3, 2016. Photo by Catie Rafferty

While varsity level sports get the most coverage here on campus, RIT has a lot more to offer when it comes to athletics. The school has a wide variety of club and intramural sports — most of the varsity level sports are available, as well as some extras that you can only participate in at these other levels. Reporter sat down with the vice presidents and presidents of some of these club sports, hoping to shed light on some of the other things going on in the RIT athletics community.

Women’s Ultimate Frisbee

The goal of ultimate frisbee is to make it from one end of the court to another – not letting the frisbee touch the ground. However, the player holding the frisbee is only allowed a step or two, thus she much utilize her teammates by throwing it to them The majority of the movement comes from passing the frisbee down the field.

The RIT women’s ultimate frisbee club currently has about 9 regular members. There are two hour practices twice a week, but they are not enforced as mandatory. Third year IT and Human-Centered Computing major and co-captain, Cindy Zachar explained, “We tend to tell people, 'come to what you can make.'” There is no pressure if a member isn't able to fit everything into their schedule.

The club is a competitive team, competing throughout the fall and spring semesters. During the fall, the team travels around and sometimes combines with the men’s team for tournaments. In the springtime, the team prepares for and participates in sectionals, regionals, and nationals.

“We’re looking to set up a tournament between three or four teams in October,” described third year Electrical Engineering major and co-captain, Sabrina Levitan.

Teams from nearby colleges would participate. That’ll be something to look forward to this month.

There are intramurals for ultimate frisbee, but it’s on a more recreational level. “They don’t use strategy as much,” explained Zachar. The club level offers a higher level of play. Zachar continued, “There are more opportunities to grow as a player, because there are people who really know what they’re doing.”

The club is always welcoming walk-ons, even for the less experienced. “We are always recruiting,”Levitan emphasized. “Any skill level, we’re happy to teach.”

The club’s goal is to grow and keep growing. Commitment and a love of the game are ultimately more important to the club than ultimate frisbee expertise. “I think that’s really our goal, just to make [the club] sustainable,” stated Levitan. She explained how they are looking for, “people dedicated enough to keep it growing.”

The benefit of doing the club level rather than the intramural level, is it offers more of a learning atmosphere. "There are more opportunities to grow as a player," explained Zachar. The club level focuses on teaching and learning strategy to better the players skills.

All this being said,  if ultimate frisbee is grabbing any attention, come check it out later this month! There is a Halloween home tournament on October 22-23, both the men’s and women’s club teams will be participating. Come out and see what ultimate frisbee is all about!

Racquetball Club

Racquetball involves hitting a ball back and forth between two players, where the goal is to try and make the opposing player miss the ball. The catch is it is played  on a four-walled court, meaning the players have more than just the floor to hit the ball off of. Fifth year Electrical Engineering major and Vice President of the club, Connor Goldberg explained, “Racquetball is kind of like tennis, only you’re in a box.”

This sport requires agility, since the ball is moving all over the place. “It’s a really fast game; the ball can move over 100 mph it you’re playing somebody that knows how to hit it right,” described Goldberg.

However, the nice thing about this sport is the players  don’t have to know how to hit it right. “It’s fun for all skill levels,” mentioned Goldberg. “Even if you don’t know how to play, you’re still just getting in a box and hitting a ball at somebody.”

The club itself recognizes this advantage. There are two sections: a competitive team and a recreational club. Both sides run in the same fashion, the only difference being the competitive team participates in tournaments and has a little bit more of a time commitment.  

The competitive team currently has about 10 members, and there is a mandatory practice once a week. It competes in about four seasonal tournaments a year, regionals, and then nationals. “As a team we do really well,” stated Goldberg. “We’ve won our league in the men’s division for the past three years.” He also mentioned that they have won the overall league for the past two years now. The women’s numbers are low, only having 2-3, but they do well enough to gain enough points for the overall win.

On the recreational side, there are about 20-25 people coming weekly. Compared to the competitive team, there is not much of a traditional structure.

The recreational part of the club is more for people interested in giving racquetball a try for the first time. Goldberg described how they usually give, “very basic instruction…and then after that we let them play for themselves.” Here, anyone interested can learn the basics and see if it works out for them. “It’s a good starting point, if you’re not sure if you want to get into it,” explained Goldberg.

Both sections of the club are looking to grow. “Racquetball, as a whole, is a dying sport lately. Not a lot of people have heard about it, not a lot of people know what it is,” mentioned Goldberg. He, along with the rest of the club members, want to see some new faces come along and see the club expand. Goldberg continued, “I just want to share it with as many people as I can.”

That being said, if racquetball seems even a little interesting, the recreational club is the place to go. It is always looking for more people, and any skill level is welcomed. The competitive team is always looking for new members with developed skills as well. Either way, check the club out!

These are just two of the numerous club level sports offered here at RIT. From more traditional sports such as soccer or basketball, to more unique ones such as equestrian or archery, RIT has just about everything. Participating in these clubs is a great way to meet some new faces or just simply have some fun running around and being active. Either way, the club level is another great opportunity that RIT provides for its students. Take advantage of it and remember, there’s something out there for just about every interest.