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Flag football tournament players compete at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for spot at nationals - FlagSpin

Flag football tournament players compete at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for spot at nationals

The NIRSA Region IV Flag Football Championships featured players that could be recruited for the 2028 Olympics.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is hosting a flag football tournament that will see some students move on to the national tournament.

At nationals, they could be recruited to one day play in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

“It’s going to be an Olympic sport in 2028,” said Kevin Martin Sr., TAMU-CC Director of Campus Recreation. “And this partnership is going to help us build back what both NIRSA and [NFL] Flag benefit in giving students the opportunity to play in the sport they love.”

The tournament featured students from different intramural programs facing off at TAMU-CC. It is governed by the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), who partnered with NFL Flag to give players like Jen Natiola and chance to play in Sunday’s women’s championship game.

“We’ve been doing great,” said Jen Natiola, a TAMU-CC senior and quarterback of the women’s team. “Just like, coming together and working with each other, communicating, and I feel like we could definitely take it tomorrow.”

TAMU-CC has three teams competing: men’s, women’s and co-ed. A champion is crowned in each division and the winner moves on to the national tournament in Stillwater, Oklahoma. About 24 schools and 370 players are participating in this weekend’s Region IV tournament. Natiola explained her mindset for Sunday’s championship game.

“Have fun,” Natiola said. “But like, we just going to play hard tomorrow and give it our best.” 

Martin Sr. said there are seven total regions and Region IV has schools from Louisiana, Arkansas and around Texas. He said the tournament brings people to Corpus Christi that have never been and shows what the area offers, like visiting the beach.

“That’s really what campus recreation is about,” Martin Sr. said. “It’s creating dynamic experiences for students, giving them that outlet from their studies and stuff like that.”

With so many participating this year, Martin Sr. said people are already asking if TAMU-CC can be the host again next year.

“That’s how popular, we’re not even done though the tournament. They’ve asked us already, would you consider next year bringing this back again,” Martin Sr. said.

The national tournament is from December 17-19. Martin Sr. said there will be national team recruiters there. They will pick from the best flag football teams in the country to potentially compete at the Olympics.

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