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Monday, September 20, 2021

Column: Can’t wait to be King

Since the New York Yankees lost to the Tigers, I’ve been wearing a Yankees shirt every day. Which, I guess, means my dress code doesn’t change at all, nor has it since second grade.

I always say this is the year with them. With the Yanks, it’s a bolder prediction than it was 10 years ago.

As for UC Davis, it’s fair to say these upcoming years will be the start of their dynasty. In the world of sports, it’s a good time to be a UC Davis student — forget Berkeley and UCLA.

Life at UC Davis is better than anything they’ve got up there. Look at Ariel. She thought life on land was better, but when she got there, her singing voice was stolen by a hugely overweight octopus witch. That could have happened to you at another school; you never know.

Anyways, let’s take a look at some of our sports that are showing that UC Davis can put together programs rivaling any established school. Don’t go wishing you were part of that world.

Women’s cross country is definitely one of the top 50 teams in the nation. They just recently finished 10th in the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet, which included top-ranked Florida State.

Juniors Sarah Sumpter and Alycia Cridebring are leading the Aggies, providing the one-two punch every single meet.

UC Davis won its first-ever Big West championship last year, with Sumpter and Cridebring leading the pack. Of the top five Aggie finishers at the Big West meet, only one of them was a senior that year.

With Sumpter and Cridebring putting in faster times than last year’s competitions, head coach Drew Wartenburg says even the 10th place finish wasn’t quite the result they were hoping for.

Next, the golf teams. I’m guessing that there are about as many of you who have seen the golf teams play as there are people who actually understand all the crazy things I say in these columns.

Women’s golf is particularly impressive this year, as they were for the past couple seasons. Last year they won the Big West Championships for the third straight year.

Looking to four-peat will be every single player from the 2011-12 roster. The only member the Aggies lost from last year’s 23rd-ranked team was head coach Anne Walker, who took a position coaching Stanford.

Now coach Anna Temple’s job is just to let the veterans play as they know they can. Seniors Demi Runas and Amy Simanton played in U.S. women’s amateur events this summer and have been competing at an extremely high level this fall season.

You could even consider them a powerhouse. How many of you knew that the UC Davis women’s golf team is currently ranked No. 4 in the national rankings? I’m willing to guess that it was as few of you who would be willing to drink the Polyjuice Potion with my hair in it.

As for the men’s golf team, there’s really no telling what they’re going to do this year. The Aggies surprised the golf world by winning the Big West conference last year without Tyler Raber, who redshirted and saved his senior year for this season.

Led by a triage of M’s in the sophomore pair of Matts (Seramin and Hansen) and then-freshman Mike Brockington, UC Davis pulled a conference championship out of what should have been a rebuilding year. This was about as epic and surprising to see as Luke finding out that Darth Vader was his father.

Now, armed with Raber — who spent the summer and his redshirt season competing in amateur events — the Aggies are no longer the underdogs entering any event. They are currently ranked No. 33 in the nation and did not lose any players from last year’s Big West winning team.

The women’s golf team just finished its last fall tournament down at Stanford at the Peg Barnard Invitational, while the men have one more tournament at the Pacific Invitational before closing its fall season.

A couple sports in the spring to keep an eye out for are softball and women’s tennis.

The softball team will have senior Jessica Thweatt and sophomore Justine Vela returning, and they covered 317/342 innings pitched for the season. I don’t think even Ash Ketchum, who has thrown thousands of pokéballs before even turning 11 years old, could last that long. Granted, he’s been 10 years old for about 16 years now.

The women’s tennis team has not had particularly impressive results this fall, but they usually start making their move midway through the spring season.

The Aggies are returning all but one player from their top six singles players, and will be strong at the bottom of the lineup.

I could go raving on about the men’s soccer team probably as long as I could reminiscing about the good old days on the Office when Michael Scott was still around. There are a few unlucky souls on this planet that can attest to that being a large amount of time. But that’s for another time.

UC Davis has gone from zero to hero in no time flat. If this is the rate at which the Aggies sports are growing now, there’s no doubt they’ll go the distance.

MATTHEW YUEN wanted a Giants-Yankees World Series. Send him a list of all things you’d rather watch (e.g., Dumbledore growing out his beard) than a Tigers-Cardinals World Series at sports@theaggie.org.

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