In the 2008–’09 intramural season, Jonathan Edwards College jumped from 10th place to second place in the Tyng Cup standings. But J.E. was an exception.
Over the past five years — including this year’s still ongoing season — big jumps in standings have been rare. In that time period, teams have moved more than four places from their previous year’s finish only three times. Instead, intramural secretaries said that rankings fluctuate over the years as a result of the influx passionate athletes and motivational IM leaders.
“It all plays into a cyclical wave model,” head intramural secretary Peter Jasinski ’12 said. He explained the model as a cycle in which colleges get excited about IMs, win a couple Tyng Cups; then it “gets old,” and they fall down in the rankings for a few years.
For example, Silliman has been a consistent intramural force to reckon with, finishing in the top four spots for the past five years.
But Jasinski said Silliman’s reign may be nearing its conclusion.
In the early 2000s, Stiles and Morse were the forerunners. Nowadays, Silliman and Timothy Dwight — currently fourth and sixth, respectively — have started to fall, said Jasinski, calling 2006-’09 their “glory days,” which have since passed.
Though J.E. is first in the current standings, it has been traditionally one of the weaker teams, according to J.E. IM secretary Christina Marmol ’12. Conversely, Pierson is historically the second most successful residential college, with 11 Tyng Cup wins since the inception of the award in 1933. Only Timothy Dwight College, with 12 cups, has accumulated more.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, even though Pierson has been in the bottom two for the past four years, Jasinski said he thinks it is only a matter of time before Pierson rises again.
“Pierson has shown massive improvement this year,” Jasinski said. He predicts that in future years there will be an IM secretary that will pull Pierson out of the grave. Marmol agreed and said that a handful of really enthusiastic individuals can make the difference.
“Every college has the necessary talent to win Tyng Cup,” Jasinski said.
He noted that Trumbull head IM secretary George Harris ’11 was successful in pulling up his college in the rankings. After eighth and ninth place finishes in 2006-’07 and 2008-’09 respectively, Trumbull now sits in third place in this year’s rankings.
Harris, who has been an IM secretary for three years, said that the most important thing that any secretary can do is increase participation. When more people play, others get excited and more athletic people come out to play, allowing the college to start winning games, he said.
“Winning games draws in more people, because they start to enjoy the competitive aspect,” Harris said.
If Pierson is to follow Trumbull’s model, it too may have to see a change in the Piersonites’ approach to IM competitions.
“In general, Piersonites don’t seem to make time for IMs, but rather play IMs if they have time, which leads to lack of consistent participation and low overall commitment,” Pierson IM secretary Jeffrey Hartsough ’12 said. “Freshmen have been fantastic this year.”
Having a class being passionate about IMs can spark a college’s rise.
After placing 10th in 2007-’08, J.E. rose to second the following year; the year after that, the Spiders won the Tyng Cup, something they look poised to do again this year given their 111.5 lead over second place Saybrook.
Marmol, who has been a J.E. IM secretary for two years, said that a variety of factors have led to the college’s rise in the rankings, including support from the master and IM secretaries that effectively recruit players.
“The classes of 2011 and 2012 are really involved in IMs, so starting in the 2008-’09 school year, J.E. began to rise in the standings,” she said. When J.E.’s class of 2013 arrived on campus last year, they joined the competitive force to win the Tyng Cup last year.
Quyen Slotznick ’11, Silliman IM secretary, said that her college’s IM success can be partly attributed to the fact that freshmen live in the college rather than on Old Campus. “It’s easier for them to get involved right away, and since we don’t usually have large groups of annexed juniors, it’s easy for people to stay in the loop regarding IM games,” she said.
Slotznick also agreed that participation is key.
“Our best years have been when we had a devoted core of IM players from each class that come to a ton of games, even if they’re not as skilled as some of them,” she said.
Though the Davenport five-year average is in the middle of the rankings at number 6 and placed third in the 2006-’07 year, the college has gone 42 years with a Tyng Cup win. Berkeley holds the longest Tyng Cup drought of 56 years without a win.