Best Men's Varsity Sports Team

Members of Elon University’s men’s soccer team celebrate during a home game. [Alec Mandell | Staff Photographer]

1. Men's Soccer

Almost securing an at-large bid into the NCAA soccer tournament, the Elon University men’s soccer team found success on the field under new head coach Marc Reeves this past year. Finishing the season 7-5-6, the Phoenix often struggled turning the close games into victories, walking off the field with one point from the tie instead of two points from the win.

“I think this means there is a history and tradition to attending exciting games under the lights on great fall evenings,” Reeves said. “Elon has many great teams that work very hard on and off the field, so to be recognized by the students for this is great.”

“Pack the Rudd” was in full effect this year, as students and other fans descended on the intimate setting to cheer on the Phoenix.

“Rudd Stadium and field is a fantastic facility for soccer and spectators,” Reeves said. “The closeness of the stands means you see the speed and skill up close in all areas of the stadium. Secondly, I think the fact we only play a limited number of home games in a short season and how vital each and every match is means the stakes are always high. This, along with the level of competition we play, means each game has true meaning, fight and spirit to it.”

The Elon University men’s soccer team will look to continue its success under Reeves next fall.

Best Women's Varsity Sports Team

Members of the Elon University women’s basketball team are introduced to the home crowd before the game against Winthrop University. [Mallory Siegenthaler | Staff Photographer]

1. Women's Basketball

The Elon University women’s basketball team made its case last year to be the best Elon women’s varsity sports team. After ranking at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association, sweeping the conference tournament and cutting down the nets, history was made when the team received a bid into the women’s NCAA tournament — the program’s first trip. Elon fell to the University of West Virginia in the first round of the tournament, a 62-75 end to the team’s historic season.

The team finished the season 27-7, its best season since becoming a Division I program. It was the best offensive season, with Elon setting records in points (2,399), points-per-game (70.6), field goals (885), field goal percentage (.427) and assists (453). The Phoenix also grabbed the most rebounds (1,417), blocked the most shots (146) and had its best scoring margin (+11.6) since joining the top division in the NCAA.

Best Club Sport

Men’s Club Rugby plays in the Southern Rugby Conference against the schools Western Carolina, Appalachian State, UNC Charlotte, Furman, Wake Forest, UNC Greensboro, UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina, UNC Wilmington, Coastal Carolina, The Citadel, and College of Charleston. [Oliver Fischer | Contributor]

1. Club Rugby

Junior Laura Spung has always seen the women’s club rugby team as a tight-knit community. After playing rugby in high school, she wanted to continue the sport at Elon, serving as treasurer, fundraising chair and captain during her three years on the team. She said the competitive spirit and community of players are the heart of the organization.

“Joining the team is really like joining a family,” Spung said. “The team is light-hearted and fun, but gets down to business when we need to. We’re not afraid of a little hard work, but we always have a good laugh afterward.”

For senior John Rhodes, the sport is an opportunity to foster an inclusive community for everyone on campus, whether they are stepping onto the field for the first time, or have prior experience.

“It’s a fellowship of young men coming together and finding their identity, but we accept everyone regardless,” Rhodes said. “I think that opening, that willingness to accept anyone, is something that really sets our organization apart.”

Best Intramural Sport

Intramural outdoor soccer is offered in both the fall and spring. Any student is able to sign up through the intramural leagues website. [Photo courtesy of Campus Recreation]

1. Intramural Soccer

Intramural soccer was the winner of Elon News Network’s Best of 2017 Intramural sports category. Intramural soccer is offered both fall and spring.

Intramural sports are a subcategory of Campus Recreation. Other intramural sports offered by Campus Recreation are corn hole, volleyball, racquetball, softball, ultimate frisbee, flag football, basketball, bowling, wallyball, wiffleball, battleship and spike ball. In the future, the Schar Center will also be a home for some of these sports.

Jake Noyles, team leader for intramural sports at Campus Recreation, said the sport’s international popularity, coupled with Elon University’s success in varsity soccer, could be factors in why students want to try the sport out. Many consider it the most popular sport in the world, and the 2018 World Cup will be viewed in 204 different counties.

At Elon, the men’s soccer team has enjoyed success, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 2015, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

“I think Elon is a soccer school by heart,” Noyles said. “People want to continue playing it. It’s also a lot of fun and it can bring a lot of diversity.”

Best Fitness Class

Zumba is a style of workout that incorporates Latin-inspired dance moves to break a sweat while still having fun. [Photo Courtesy of Campus Recreation]

1. Zumba Class

Zumba is an exercise class that feels less like a workout and more like a party.

Participants learn different dance moves to songs from all around the world during class sessions.

Elon sophomore and Zumba instructor Noor Irshadat said the party atmosphere makes Zumba different from other exercise classes.

“People want to go and have fun, destress a little bit and not worry about carrying weights or having to figure out a certain movement or trying to keep up with a certain exercise,” Irshadat said.

Senior Ellie Anderson participated in a class and said it was a fun way to work out.

“With Zumba, you’re just dancing and you can go with friends, too, so it’s very fun,” Anderson said. “There isn’t like pressure to get the moves down or anything.”

Campus Rec holds Zumba fitness classes instructed by Irshadat at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesdays.