Northwestern offers a variety of sports to students, but long before the current student body even knew what college was, two additional sports beyond the traditional ones we typically think of today, could be found on campus.
Men’s tennis was a sport that, for many years, had sporadic enrollment. Throughout the years when tennis was a sport, men from every class participated; the team for the 1991 season consisted of 10 players — freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors alike.
A few years later, once the new courts were in place, the college decided to add women’s tennis.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams practiced on the old cummunity tennis courts until they fell into such an impossible state of disrepair that it was no longer safe for the teams to continue to practice on them. This prompted the college to build new courts on campus next to Jaycee Park.
“We added women’s tennis first when the courts were repaired due to the fact that we felt we wanted to add another opportunity for female student athletes to compete,” Director of Athletics Barry Brandt said. “We are considering adding men’s tennis again in the not-too-distant future.”
The second sport that was once offered on campus was the club sport lacrosse. A club sport is a sport that is not declared as a part of the athletic program and is run under the supervision of student life. Because lacrosse wasn’t an official sport of the athletic program at NW, it wasn’t subject to any of the guidelines the other athletic teams had to follow. This also means that they received no funding from the athletic department and had to find their own funding.
In the 2003-2004 school year, the lacrosse team was started as a club sport. President of the lacrosse team was Michael Brunner, and many of the men who participated grew to love the sport. The lacrosse program didn’t have many wins when the program was around, but each year the athletes continued to learn more about the game and how to work together as a team.
The 2005 lacrosse team even had three students named to the All-Conference team: Michael Brunner, Timothy Boender and Ben Crabtree.
Brandt said that he thinks that there is a future in the sport of lacrosse at NW.
“It is a sport that is growing rapidly in the U.S.,” Brandt said. “There are no plans in the near future to add any sports but it is a possibility in the long-range scheme of things.”
The lacrosse team was active from 2003 to 2007, but disbanded after that.