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#TBT Intermurals in 1916

If you were a student at the U of M 100 years ago and wanted to play Baseball, Soccer, Tennis, Golf, Gymnastics, Swimming, Handball, or Hockey, you probably played on the intermural circuit.

Intermurals 100 years ago
Intermurals 100 years ago

Last week I gave a quick overview of Varsity sports in 1916, and next week I will look at Women's Sports a century ago. This week is Intermurals week!

Intermurals in 1916 doesn't refer to the same kind of intermurals in 2016. Distinguishing a difference between some Intermural sports and Varsity sports seems impossible. Sports such as Soccer, Gymnastics, Swimming, and Wrestling all competed against other schools both in Minnesota and around the Midwest.  Other sports such as Baseball and Hockey created teams based on the department of the students studies. All intermural sports had fans, and betting associated with them.

*Note* Track and Football were also played at the Intermural level in 1916, I'm not covering them in any depth here though as I went over their Varsity counterparts last week. Suffice it to say that the Engineering schools teams for both Track and Football killed it.


According to the Yearbook account of the Baseball season, "the 1916 baseball season was not exceptionally successful." Which seems about right after the school had dropped it as a varsity sport the previous year.  The "A.T.O." nine man squad won the season. Pictured below in a wonderful array of Gopher gear. 


Despite being an intermural team the Men's Soccer team at the U of M played against other colleges. Playing games against St. Olaf, Grinnell, and St. Thomas. The team won 2 only losing to St. Olaf. Also interesting to note, soccer players Won, and Kwong might be the first Asian athletes at the University.


Similar to Soccer, Gymnastics was a intermural sport that competed against other schools. Despite losing several men to "scholastic difficulties" The U entered 30 gymnasts to the Western  Intercollegiate Gymnastic event, which was held in Minneapolis. Team Captain Earnest Carlson won the class A individual championship. Sadly the photo below doesn't indicate who Earnest is.


Despite getting a star swimming transfer from Illinois called Madsen, the season was disappointing. Losing twice to the Saint Paul Y.M.C.A. and once to the M.A.C (Minnesota Athletic Conference?). Forty men tried out for the team and seeing how they didn't swim so well it really makes you question the ability of the guys they cut from the team.


First of all, hell yes. Handball was one of the most popular sports on campus in 1916. Games were played at the Old Armory in front of capacity crowds. Interest in the sport was so high that there were calls to build new facilities just for Handball! Abramson described as a "tricky and powerful" player had won the school championship in 1915 and defended his crown vs Tallmadge in 1916.


Golf was a sport played at the U in 1916. This is all the info I currently have.


Apparently scandal and "misunderstandings" had plagued Tennis on campus until 1916 (I'm gonna have to look into that). However the school tournament in 1916 seems to have gone off fine (how dull). E.B. Pierce defeated Wilford F. Widen for the singles crown. In doubles Pierce teamed with Poucher trampled Hauser and Carlson. Significant to note, LOOK AT THOSE AWESOME JACKETS THEY GOT.


Coached by Foster, who led many of these intermural teams, the Wrestling squad was led by two men. Tim Madigan, captain and destroyer at the 135 pound class, and Ferch who had only wrestled for a month before the season started wrecked everyone in the 175 pound class. Confidence seemed high that if they could develop a few more brawlers the 1917 Western Conference Championship would be theirs.


The most popular of all intermurals, Hockey teams were decided upon based on school departments and all games were played on Northrop Field. The Academic team had "poor coaching" and had a disappointing season. The Miners and Aggies both played tough. When the Miners lost a close game to the Aggies, they quit the season in disgust. The Aggies team even had its own female rooters, and faced the Engineers in the championship match. The game was close and the yearbook reports "pecks of potatoes were wagered against home-made watch chains or cold-chisels". Sadly for Aggies fans the Engineers emerged victorious 3-2.