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Multiple sport intramural athlete becomes recreation staff member

October 18, 2007

A flare of horns punctures the drone of voices in the locker-room of the Cincinnati Bengals as Chad Johnson insists reporters call him “Ocho Cinco” – his number, 85. This was Oct. 28, 2006, and the inspiration for one team in the UW-River Falls flag football intramural bracket.

The team Ocho Cinco’s record was 6-1 as of Tuesday, with one of their games rained out. Their captain, Ryan Freese, is the third ranked passer in the league, the Special Events Manager on the recreation staff and not studying Health and Human Performance – instead Freese is a Business Administration major.

“I’m just interested in business and [intramurals are] just kind of a side thing,” Freese said.  “Like high school, I went to school and did sports after school. I’m very athletic and it’s just something to do.”

Freese has been playing a variety of sports ever since high school, where he played basketball, ran track and cross-country and played baseball for a year.  When he came to UWRF, he knew he wanted that to continue.

“I knew I wanted to play sports and I heard of intramurals,” Freese said.  “So I just got a group of people together. I was always the captain for every sport.”

Freese said he likes to keep sports completely extra-curricular, though – to stay in shape and have fun.

“I’m a big fan of sports. I absolutely love sports,” Freese said.  “I try and stay involved with any sports I can, so I’ve done like every intramural – any sport you can think of.”

This is Freest third year playing intramurals and first year on the recreation staff.

“I applied to be recreation staff, I figured it would be a really good job for me because it has to do with sports and I’m involved in it anyway,” Freese said.  “I absolutely love the job. It’s a lot of fun.”

Recreation Leadership Coordinator Kurgan Sagan has lots of faith in not only Freese as an intramurals player – Sagan said he considers’ Ocho-Cinco to be “a contender for the title” – but as an employee as well.

“Right before we interviewed him, we noticed (on his resume) that he had played basically every sport that we offer through Intramurals and was usually his team’s captain,” he said.  “We then were very wooed in his interview and considered him our ‘diamond in the rough’ for a potential recreation staff candidate.  As it turned out, he was chosen for a position and has had a great start to the school year.”

As part of the recreation staff, Freese wrote an article for the intramural Web site titled “I wanna be MADE: into an Intramural Champion!” in which he gives advice to people wanting to participate in intramurals.

“It takes teamwork, strength, power, and the will to win,” Freese wrote. “You have to run a little faster, be a little stronger, jump a little higher, and always stay two steps ahead of everyone else. Keep this in mind and you’ll be made into an intramural champion. Wear that championship shirt proudly, and always walk onto the field saying, ‘I Live To Play!’”