The “winningest intramural player of all time” – that’s what ImLeagues, a website that tracks college intramurals, calls Georgia College senior Nathan Vickroy.
The nation’s top achiever for rec sports, Vickroy won at least 46 championships and just beat his own record, raising total wins in a semester from 117 last fall to 122 so far this spring.
“We have a thing called Intramural Legends, which they are,” recreation sports Director Bert Rosenberger said about Vickroy and his three roommates: seniors Mitch Risley, Brantley Attaway and Ej Barr.
Together, they are the nation’s top four college intramural players.
“I can confirm that Nathan is the most accomplished participant we have ever had – both in regards to a single semester as well as lifetime over his four years at college,” said Doug Myers, CEO of ImLeagues, used by more than 95 percent of U.S. and Canadian universities.
“This is an incredible demonstration of Nathan’s passion for sports and being a true athlete, as well as an amazing testament to the recreational sports environment fostered at Georgia College,” Myers said.
Of more than 1,000 universities tracked by ImLeagues, Georgia College has one of the most active programs in the nation with 275 teams currently playing. About 40 to 45 percent of Georgia College students participate in intramural sports, compared to 13 percent nationally.
There are three reasons for this: flexibility, variety and novelty.
Flexibility allows students to play later at night after work or studying. Student workers mostly focus on scheduling and rescheduling games to accommodate players. A variety of sports, like inner-tube water polo, attract students with different skill sets. And novelty rules, like playing kickball backward, keep students interested.
“They’re the Hall-of-Famers of intramurals,” Rosenberger said. “I’m proud of these guys. I’m proud to say we give students the opportunity to play more rec sports than probably anybody. We really offer at a different level that no one else does.”
“The reason we offer different sports – it’s not for the superstars,” he said. “It’s because we want to offer something for everyone. Not everybody’s like Vickroy. He’s just a phenomenal athlete who loves everything.”
An exercise science major from Kennesaw, Vickroy’s about to graduate with 634 total wins or 78 percent of games played. Those numbers don’t include six championship games he competes in this week – spike ball, corn hole, ultimate Frisbee, 4 on 4 flag football, softball and beach volleyball.
“Nathan? He likes to play everything,” Rosenberger said. “It’s nothing for him to play five games back-to-back in one night. He often plays 10 to 12 different games a week. He can be a scheduling nightmare.”
Vickroy chose Georgia College, because he heard the intramurals were “amazing.” In his first year, he ranked 45th overall for rec sports. By sophomore year, he was No. 1. Since then, Rosenberger said Vickroy and his roommates on team “313” have dominated the top four spots every semester.
Vickroy practices two hours a night for Frisbee club sports, then plays another three hours in intramurals. Playing too many games in one night does mean getting tired and losing a few.
“We’re all pretty much energized bunnies,” Vickroy said about his team. “But only to a point, and then we can’t go anymore.”
“It’s a great way to get out of the house and have a good time,” he said. “It’s also a great way to keep in shape. We weren’t good enough to play college sports, so it’s just a great way to use the God-given abilities we have to the fullest.”
Vickroy is also Georgia College’s top ultimate Frisbee club-sports player. His team won the national championship last year. That’s when Vickroy caught the eye of officials at the “Atlanta Hustle,” a professional Frisbee team. They asked Vickroy to join, and he was named Rookie of the Year.
He's been contacted to compete in the Frisbee World Championships next summer 2018 in Australia as well.
“I’m a huge ultimate Frisbee fan,” Vickroy said. “It’s tons of running. I enjoy it, because that’s pretty much all I got. I’m skinny and I can run.”
Competing against other great athletes at Georgia College has humbled Vickroy, who said he entered college “a little cocky.” His best friend and roommate, Mitch Risley, was named “MVP” (most valuable player) and “All-American” last semester when the men’s flag football team won state championship.
“I don’t want to take all the credit,” Vickroy said, “because my roommates are super athletic too. I wouldn’t have any of these wins without them.”
Being involved in rec sports is a time commitment, but Vickroy kept his grades up and plans to get a masters of arts in teaching from Georgia College. Intramurals taught him leadership skills, time management and sportsmanship. In exercise science, he learned about the body, muscles and injuries – knowledge he’ll use someday a high school physical education teacher and soccer coach.
His advice to incoming students is: get involved in intramural sports. There's something for everyone – and great friendships to be made.
“Coming here is one of the best things that could’ve happened to me,” Vickroy said. “I cannot thank intramurals enough for the experience it’s given me. Not just for all the wins I got, but it’s shaped me into the person I am today.”