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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

A to Z

Spring break is over, and I return to Davis having recognized one thing: My grandparents are extremely well-versed in separate areas of knowledge.

My grandma, Adriana Monteforte, knows marinara sauce, while my grandpa, Vincenzo Monteforte, knows politics.

But as knowledgeable as they are in their respective areas, whenever the topic of UC Davis athletics comes up, the room gets quiet as if I just name-dropped Mussolini.

This reaction is similar to what you find on campus. Other than that the school has unofficial ownership of Stanford and is now Division I, many students don’t have much to say about UC Davis and its 26 sports.

Well, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. It’s time to separate the gap between students and my foreigner grandparents who mistakenly call UC Davis Camp Davis as if it were a correctional facility.

So here you have it: This is UC Davis athletics from A to Z.

Aggie: An agricultural college, or a student who attends an agricultural college.

Bob Biggs: Football head coach in his 15th year; second-winningest coach in program history. Helped Aggies to first of 37 straight winning seasons as a quarterback in 1970.

Colby E. Babe Slater:A 1917 UC Davis graduate who starred in baseball, basketball, football and rugby. Won a gold medal in rugby in the 1920 Olympic Games.

Dante Ross: Men’s basketball program’s all-time steals leader; set a school record with 166 assists in Aggies’ 1998 NCAA Division II National Championship season.

Eddie Gamboa: Senior ace of the UC Davis baseball team; 4-0 on season with a 2.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 27 Ks in 36 innings.

Free: The price of admission to each of the school’s sporting events with a student registration card.

Gunrock: School mascot since 2003; a blue mustang named after the thoroughbred that was brought to the university farm in the 1920s to supply high-quality stock for the U.S. Army Calvary.

Holmes, Jamie: UC Davis’ newest head coach; succeeds Steve Walker and joins Aggie volleyball after serving as a top assistant at Ohio State.

Irvin F. Toomey: Namesake of Toomey Field. Was a UC Davis coach and athletic director from 1928-1961.

Jessica Campbell: Senior wing for the women’s basketball team; finished first in the Big West Conference in free throw percentage (88.9), second in scoring (15.3 points per game) and field goal percentage (53.9).

Katie McMahon: Fierce senior midfielder for the women’s lacrosse team; leads the Aggies with 40 goals and 11 assists in 11 games.

Lida Gehlen: Sophomore gymnast who regularly dominates the uneven bars; scored a 9.900 in Friday’s conference championships. Has a name eerily similar to that of my mother, Linda Gehlken.

Mark Grieb: Former Aggie quarterback currently in the Arena Football League; has led the San Jose SaberCats to ArenaBowl titles in 2004 and 2007.

NCAA Division I Postseason: Two teams have experienced this so far in the first year of the Division I era. The men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, while the women’s basketball team earned an automatic bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

O’Sullivan, J.T.: Current San Francisco 49ers quarterback/Mike Martz’s boy. UC Davis’ all-time passing leader and a member of the school’s 2008 Hall of Fame class.

Pavilion, The: Home of Aggie basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling.

Quincy Amarikwa: The reason opposing soccer players tape their ankles; lightning-quick junior forward who teamed up with fellow junior Sule Anibaba to make the Aggies the ninth-highest scoring team in the country.

Rice, Brandon: Physical 6-foot-4 wide receiver who led Aggies with 59 receptions, 870 yards and 10 touchdowns; has worked out with such NFL stars as Chad Johnson.

Sacramento State: UC Davis’ sports rival and recent loser of the Causeway Cup – a competition between the two schools’ 18 common sports teams.

Tube Sock Madness: When balls of tube socks are thrown or cannoned to fans in attendance of an Aggie sporting event.

Undefeated: The 2007 men’s water polo team in regular season conference play (13-0).

Vince Oliver: Guard who has led the men’s basketball team in total points in each of the last two seasons. Member of the 1,000-point club despite only three years on the team.

Warzecka, Greg: UC Davis’ athletic director who sports a thick mustache.

Xerus: An African ground squirrel with very short ears and a long tail. (What? Can you think of anything related to UC Davis athletics that starts with the letter X?)

Yoder, Karen: Third-year softball head coach under whom the program has seen a complete turnaround. Team finished 31-27-1 in 2007 to follow a 15-39 campaign.

Zalesky, Lennie: Seventh-year wrestling head coach who has developed such stars as Urijah The California Kid Faber and Derek Moore, UC Davis’ first ever NCAA Division I national champion


MICHAEL GEHLKEN misses the marinara sauce already, and he can be reached at sports@californiaaggie.com.


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