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RECREATIONAL RECREATIONAL SPORTS SPORTS DIVISION DIVISION OF OF STUDENT STUDENT AFFAIRS AFFAIRS
HOWDY, The Department of Recreational Sports thanks all supporters of the department. Those that donate to specific sport clubs and those that donate to the Rec Sports scholarship programs are greatly appreciated. We hope your passion related to your donations will continue to guide your future donations. Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Department of Recreational Sports, has announced his retirement. Dennis has led the department since 1973 and through his leadership has created one of the best Rec Sports departments in the country. His retirement date will be August 31, 2018. We are fortunate to have him continue his leadership for nine more months. The spring edition of RecLIFE Magazine will highlight Dennis and his accomplishments for the students of Texas A&M University. The final fall Rec Sports Family Reunion was held on November 4, 2017. In the future, the reunion will be held in the spring. The first spring Rec Sports Family Reunion will be held on April 7, 2018 in room 1330 of the Student Recreation Center. This room has a good view of the baseball field where Texas A&M will host LSU at 2:00 p.m. We plan to start the reunion at 11:00 a.m. and continue until after the game is complete. More information will be available in January. Thanks & Gig â€˜Em!
JAMES M. WELFORD Director of Development Department of Recreational Sports
CONTENTS Honoring Legends: Judo Alumni Receive WOC Bricks
Welcome to the Family
Rec Sports Fall 2017 Reunion
Where Are They Now
Taking It All: The Cycling Club
Sport Clubs Achievements
Rec Sports Spring 2018 Reunion
Walk of Champions
RECLIFE MAGAZINE COORDINATOR
Director of Development - James Welford Marketing Director - Michelle Briggs Assistant Director of Communications - Kelly VonDrehle Cover Photo - Partial view of Penberthy South complex
JUDO TEAM ALUMNI RECEIVE WALK OF CHAMPIONS BRICKS
Discipline and strength of the body and mind. The combat sport of judo demands athletes engage their thoughts just as much as their muscles. This sport has found its place at Rec Sports in the Texas A&M Judo Team where students grow not only as competitors, but as Aggies. It wouldn’t be possible without the alumni who poured so much hard work into the growth of the club and still support it to this day.
and trying your hardest.
On October 28, 2017, some of the most influential alumni of the Texas A&M Judo Team were presented with bricks to be placed in the Walk of Champions.
“It was such an amazing and fantastic surprise,” said Grenier when he received his brick. These bricks will memorialize Todd Grenier, Wiley Cunagin, Gary Berliner, Juaquin Ketchbaw, Michael Morgan, and Bill Thursby for many years to come.
Wiley Cunagin came to A&M in 1977 where he competed and coached for five years. His favorite thing about judo is the personal development of students and how it gives people confidence that radiates to all aspects of life. The A&M Judo Club is still a big part of his life, forty years later, and he helps current students by sponsoring and supporting the club. Gary Berliner played a big role in the A&M Judo Club from 1988 to 1993. He was the head coach for the club and, along with Bob Perez, grew judo from a sport club at A&M to a nationally competitive team that competes against other schools through the National Collegiate Judo Association. “To watch these young, aspiring, athletic college students turn into good national competitors was amazingly rewarding to me,” said Berliner. Coaching taught him how to nurture a team while also balancing his studies for med school. The legacy of these two coaches has left a lasting imprint on the club. In 1990, the club started the Dr. Gary Berliner/Dr. Wiley Cunagin Perpetual Memorial Award which still to this day is given to one student each year. This award always goes to a member who emanates the core principals of the Texas A&M Judo Club—giving back
Todd Grenier was also honored with a brick for the Walk of Champions. Grenier competed with the club from 1999 until he graduated in 2001 and is so grateful that he was given the opportunity to travel with the team and make so many friends.
WELCOME TO THE
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
Zach earned his bachelor’s in biophysics at Loyola University Chicago and came to A&M for his masters in exercise physiology.
REC SPORTS DUTIES:
Zach handles the day-to-day management of the strength and conditioning staff and personal training programs.
“The students care more, they’re involved more, and they really just want to be the best.”
Mary earned two undergraduate degrees in international relations and telecommunications at Michigan State and her MBA at Arizona State.
REC SPORTS DUTIES:
At the Rec, Mary works with a small team to handle the finances.
“I love the atmosphere and the people.”
CHRISTINE SCOLLAY DIRECTOR OF AQUATICS FROM:
KAULIN ANDRIC INTRAMURAL SPORTS GRADUATE ASSISTANT FROM:
Christine earned an undergraduate degree in leisure management and tourism from University of New Hampshire and a graduate degree in recreation and leisure studies from University of Georgia.
REC SPORTS DUTIES:
Christine oversees the aquatic staff so they can work together as a team to keep everything running smoothly.
“A&M chose me, I love the people here.”
Kaulin earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s of science in turf grass management.
REC SPORTS DUTIES: Kaulin helps manage the intramural leagues and participants.
“The students are the reason that I get up every morning.”
LINDSEY ALDACOMANNER OUTDOOR ADVENTURES GRADUATE ASSISTANT
JONATHAN SCHMITZ FACILITIES GRADUATE ASSISTANT FROM:
Jonathan earned an undergraduate degree from DePaul University in physical education.
Lindsey earned an undergraduate degree in environmental science from Baylor University.
REC SPORTS DUTIES:
Lindsey helps manage the OA student employees and leads adventure trips such as kayaking and hiking.
“We have a really close community working together and teaching one another.”
REC SPORTS DUTIES:
Jonathan manages the facilities student staff and takes care of the equipment for the Rec, making sure that we have only the best and that it is functioning in prime condition.
“Students are coming here because they actually want to come here.” PAGE 5
REUNION Football, barbeque, friends, and most importantly… family. That’s what you’ll find at the Rec Sports Family Reunion. The gathering has been going strong for fifteen years now and 2017 was no different. A lot can happen in a year, though, so it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends and even make some new ones.
coming to the reunion since the very first one. “The relationships you make here are just so important,” said Schlafer. He then fondly listed all of the dear friends that he met at the Rec and still keeps up with to this day. The family may grow over the years, but the love for old friends is just as strong as it’s always been.
The Rec Sports Family Reunion was hosted at the Rec after the Auburn vs. Texas A&M game on November 4th. Aggies of all ages were in attendance, from class members of the 1970s all the way to the young sons and daughters of alumni.
From Schlafer’s years to the recent 2000s, friendships bring people of all ages back to the reunion. “I’ve met a lot of lifelong friends here, and some people that I’ve bumped into over the years, so it’s been a lot of fun reconnecting with old faces,” said Mike Garza, who graduated in 2007 after working as an intramural official at the Rec.
Bill Schlafer, who worked at the Rec from 1979 to 1983, has been
I’ve met a lot of lifelong friends here and some people that I’ve bumped into over the years, so it’s been a lot of fun reconnecting with old faces.
MIKE GARZA, ‘07
All of the alumni agree that catching up with old friends is an important reason to keep coming back, but there’s an even greater cause that they all stand behind—the students. Tom Reber has worked for A&M for thirty-five years and has actively supported Rec Sports the entire time because of the impact it has on college kids. “If we can introduce the students to a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating, then that’s better than anything else we can do, and it will last for a lifetime,” said Reber.
The Rec Sports family wants students to stay active not only for their physical health, but for the friendships it creates. “To me, it’s an important part of the college experience; it’s not only about classrooms,” said Matt Whiteside, who worked for Rec Sports in the 90s. “It’s about getting together; the fellowship time and sports help create that atmosphere.” Aggies have gathered at the Rec Sports Family Reunion for years to see old friends and support current students. At Texas A&M, traditions are everything, and this is only the beginning for this one which has many years to come.
Pictured: 1970â€™s Rec Sports Alumni
WHERE ARE THEY
CATCHING UP WITH FORMER REC SPORTS STUDENT EMPLOYEES AND PARTICIPANTS
AMBER WORLEY AGUIAR After graduating from A&M with a BS in Business, a minor in Communication, and a minor in Special Events, Amber went to work in Concerts & Events at KSBJ Christian Radio in Houston. While there, she met her husband, Carlos, whom she married in 2015, and has since relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where she works for Compassion International doing project management from home. Amber and her husband have one little boy, Dominic, who is eighteen months old. They travel a lot but consider Texas to always be home and canâ€™t wait until Dominic is old enough for his first Aggie football game!
MARK MALINE Mark and his wife, Emily, have been happily married for the past five years. They both work for KPMG, a professional service company, and have been living in Zurich, Switzerland for the past year-and-a-half while on a temporary assignment. The couple will be there for another year before returning to work in Austin. They have cherished the opportunity to see the world in Europe. Mark has loved living in another country and all of the new experiences that come with it, such as skiing for the first time this past winter.
GRACE TAYLOR BLICKENSTAFF Grace is now working at Deloitte, a professional service firm, as a tax manager focusing on state tax consulting opportunities. She has been married to Jeff since September of 2013. The couple has one son, Ollie, who will turn two in January. The family likes to travel to visit Ollie’s cousins in Wyoming and Utah—all seventeen of them! The Blickenstaffs live in the Oak Forest/Garden Oaks area in Houston and really love the friendly, spacious neighborhood.
ASHLEY NUNLEY LILLIS Ashley is currently living in Houston, Texas with her husband of seven years, Chris. They’ve spent the early part of their marriage traveling around the world and the United States, including trips to Munich, Paris, London, Hawaii, California, Nashville, the Pacific Northwest, and Disney World. After working in public accounting for a few years, Ashley transitioned to a mid-size oil and gas company that focuses in the Eagle Ford region. They just welcomed twin girls this fall and will be extremely proud when they are members of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2040!
DARLA CADDELL WATSON Shortly after graduating from the Professional Program in Accounting at Mays Business School in 2013, Darla began her career working with Deloitte in Houston. She is currently a manager, where she assists multinational clients with moving their employees around the world. Darla is also involved with Deloitte’s campus recruiting efforts and always looks forward to coming back to Aggieland to meet with current students. She is now married to Nathan and the two are expecting their first child, a daughter, by the end of 2017.
CAITLIN HOLLAND CAIN Caitlin is currently an assistant principal at Magnolia High School in Magnolia, Texas. She started working at the high school as an Engilsh teacher and a volleyball and soccer coach before being offered her current position. She is married to Derek, who is the head boys basketball coach. The two have one son, Jackson, who is just three months old. Caitlin is actually back in school at A&M working on her Ed. D in Curriculum and Instruction.
TAKING IT ALL
THE CYCLING CLUB
The Texas A&M Cycling Club was founded in 1976 by some students who loved bikes and loved to race. The team has had its ups and downs. “We will take freshmen who know nothing about racing under our wing, and by senior year, they have the coolest bikes,” said Charles Arnold, the junior president of the team. Sometimes the club has up to sixty members, and sometimes there are only thirty, but no matter how many are on the team, it always feels like a family. “Cycling is such a niche sport, so if you really like it, you’ll go out and find it,” said Clayton Niemietz, the senior treasurer of the team. They ride together four or five times a week and don’t even consider it practicing as much as some friends going on a thrill ride together. The week starts with a difficult ride on Tuesday that they jokingly call ‘Take No Prisoners’ and ends with an easy-going ride on Friday at a pace at which they can chat with each other. Pictured: Cycling Club Senior Treasurer Clayton Niemietz (left) and Junior President Charles Arnold (right)
The club competes in the South Central Collegiate Cycling Conference against the University of Texas, Baylor, and other competitors from southern states. Fall is mountain bike season when cyclists race through a natural terrain usually on a rural ranch. During these weekends, the team camps in tents and sleeping bags. At night, the competitive nature is set aside and the cyclists are just like any other college students who want to make friends. All of the schools gather around a bonfire near the campgrounds and have a good time. At 9:00 in the morning, the race is in full swing as the bikes tear through the dirt. The first day consists of laps around shorter tracks of just one to three miles. The last day is a grueling three-hour race through the countryside. This year the team was named the 2017 D1 Club Mountain Bike Champions. The team has used part of their endowment to purchase the trailer they take to all of their competitions. It’s essential for carrying all of their equipment, and without it, they would not be able to race. Rec Sports also supports the cyclists by helping pay for registration fees and equipment. Without this, many would not be able to afford the dues and meet the friends that they have now. “We’re just a big group of friends with a common interest. These are my best friends on the team,” said Niemietz.
SPORT Y O U â€™ R E CLUBS I N V I T E D ! ACHIEVEMENTS
REC SPORTS FAMILY REUNION LSU VS. TEXAS A&M
WHEN: APRIL 7, 2018, 11AM WHERE: STUDENT RECREATION
CENTER ROOM 1130
Cycling South Central Collegiate Mountain Bike Conference Champions Water Ski Finished 7th in Division I (highest placement in club history)
SYDNEY MANNING & LINDSEY URESTI
WALK OF CHAMPIONS ENDOWMENT BRICK CAMPAIGN: The Walk of Champions features bricks engraved with the names of students, employees, and friends of A&M. Together we can ensure that the values of leadership, fair play, sportsmanship, honesty, and integrity are instilled in all Aggies. Part of the funds from the brick campaign go to the Walk of Champions Endowment. To learn more about getting your own brick in the Walk of Champions, contact JAMES WELFORD at JWELFORD@REC.TAMU.EDU.
Department of Recreational Sports Texas A&M University 4250 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4250
NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID COLLEGE STATION PERMIT NO. 215
Find out what's happening at Texas A&M Rec Sports in this issue of RecLIFE Magazine.