2 teams, 1 SRT Championship

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By: Kristen Bartheld <[email protected]>

Thirteen years ago when physical education teachers Robert Kopnisky, Fred McGuire, Kimberly TenBrink and Kathy Buck took over the intramural program they decided to have a SRT basketball game with the top intramural team against the faculty.

“We did it as a major fundraiser because it was how we supported the intramural program, and it was fun for the kids. It was also a great way to end school before spring break,” Buck said.

However, this year their vision is changing. “Due to injuries (we are changing). This year the winner of the A League pool A will play A League pool B during SRT for the intramural basketball championship. There will be no faculty due to the serious injuries in last year’s game,” Buck said. “As an educator and administrator I understand why it had to change. As the director I don’t want to put teachers in jeopardy.”

One of the three teachers who was injured last year is social studies teacher Joe Stuelpe. He ruptured his Achilles tendon by changing directions during the game; however, that would have not stopped him from playing this year if given the chance. “(I would have participated) because I didn’t want to go out in a wheel chair,” Stuelpe said.

Overall, though, Stuelpe agrees with the decision to make it just students in the game this year. “It is a financially sound decision for the school system because of the risks involved for the older team,” he said. “It might also generate some more excitement among the fans to see their peers. However, it was fun playing the student team and I didn’t want my last game to end due to injury.”

Kevin Barnett, intramural basketball participant and senior, agrees with Stueple about the added excitement for this year’s game. “I think it will be even better,” Barnett said. “I like the top two teams idea because it gives eight or nine more kids a chance to play in front of the whole school who would not otherwise get to.”

Barnett is a member of one of the teams that will get to play in the SRT game. “It’s awesome to be able to play infront of the student body,” he said. Barnett’s team will face Team Brown, led by Joey Brown, intramural participant and senior.

According to Barnett the competition to get to that championship game was as tough as ever. He said the level of competition did not deteriorate due to the lack of the opportunity to face the faculty. “The leagues seem as competitive as ever, maybe even more so this year,” Barnett said. “We had to beat one undefeated team and another tough junior team with former JV basketball players. We had to play really physical basketball to win.”

Buck said she anticipates a decent crowd due to the amount of students that have showed up for the A League championship game in the past when it was hosted on a Wednesday night. “I think believe it or not the night game has had over 500 kids (in attendance),” Buck said. “If I can get 500 plus students it would be okay. I would like to see a lot more.” In past years the SRT game has averaged an attendance of 1,000 to 2,000 students.

Barnett said he believes attendance will be around the same this year even with the format change. “I think it will be similar because kids would rather come hang out with their friends than be cooped up in their classroom all day before spring break,” he said.

Whether or not Barnett had made it to the finals, he said he would have always enjoyed intramurals. “Intramurals are amazing,” he said. “I looked forward to my game every Wednesday night.”