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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Adam Loberstein

You’re sitting at the dining room table with your family on Thanksgiving, waiting for your turn to rattle off that list of things you’ll be giving thanks to so you can eat.

You have that list down cold.

Family, friends, being in good health – same story, different year. To make matters more exciting, everyone in your family has the same list as you. Every year. Go figure.

I’m changing things up with a sequel to the usual Thanksgiving list – UC Davis Aggies style.

Given the memorable fall quarter that was for UC Davis athletics, there’s plenty more to be thankful for this year.

Men’s soccer: First team to qualify for the NCAA Division I Tournament, check. First to make back-to-back tournaments and host – then win- a home playoff game, check and check.

The things the UC Davis men’s soccer team has done in just two years on the Division I scene is nothing short of remarkable.

The Aggies, ranked as high as No. 7 nationally, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished their campaign at an impressive 13-5-4.

Seniors Quincy Amarikwa and Dylan Curtis were named the Big West Conference’s Offensive Player and Midfielder of the Year, respectively.

The season the men’s soccer team had was one to be remembered. Expect the accolades to keep rolling this program’s way for years to come.

Women’s volleyball: It isn’t easy to step into a bad situation and turn it into a good one all at once.

Jamie Holmes sure tried to.

In her first year as UC Davis’ women’s volleyball coach, Holmes led the Aggies to 12 wins – as many as they had in their previous three years combined.

Men’s golf: Saying the UC Davis men’s golf team dominated its fall schedule would be an understatement.

The Aggies finished in the top two in five of their six tournaments, including a second-place showing against a loaded Prestige at PGA West field to push their way to No. 20 in the nation.

Three different individuals – sophomore Austin Graham and seniors Nate Pistacchio and Ramie Sprinkling – picked up individual victories.

No need to wait till next fall to watch this team build on the success it had; the Aggies resume their 2008-2009 season on Feb. 4 at Hawaii-Hilo’s Waikoloa Invitational.

Kim Conley and Kaitlin Gregg: As far as Conley and Gregg went this season, so did the UC Davis women’s cross country team.

The duo placed 12th and 16th, respectively, at the NCAA Division I West Region Championships, earning them the first UC Davis berths to the NCAA Division I Championships since 1983.

The seniors leave some large – and fast – shoes for the Aggies to fill next season.

Kevin Peat: Peat wants to be the best goalie in UC Davis men’s water polo history.

He’s well on his way.

Peat came up big when the Aggies needed him most, recording a ridiculous 14 saves against No. 2 Stanford on Oct. 30 before notching 10 stops against No. 15 Santa Clara to lead UC Davis to a third-place finish at the Western Water Polo Association Championship.

The keeper accomplished these feats as a redshirt freshman. If he continues at this pace, chances are he’ll accomplish his goal of being the best UC Davis ever had.

Greg Denham: Denham came out firing and he never stopped. The sophomore quarterback completed a school-record 296 passes en route to 3,478 yards and 27 touchdowns – as a first-year starter.

The Auburn, Calif. native wants to take the UC Davis football team to the playoffs next season.

Given Denham’s talents and a solid core of returning players, that dream could become a reality.

Joe Harden: So what if the UC Davis men’s basketball team has played just seven of its 30 regular season games? Be thankful for Harden anyway.

The 6-foot-8, 210-pounder brought a world of expectations with him when he transferred from Notre Dame to UC Davis, and he’s had little trouble living up to them.

Harden is averaging 15.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, pacing the Aggies in both categories. He also leads the team in minutes played, having sat out just 32 minutes this season.

In short, Harden is really, really good. So is the men’s basketball team; don’t let its 2-5 start fool you. More to come on this team and its star next quarter.


ADAM LOBERSTEIN is thankful we’re less than two weeks away from a three-week winter vacation. Have a good [insert holiday(s) of your choosing here], everyone. He can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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