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Monday, July 22, 2024

A closer look at some of the many different club sports offered at UC Davis

From taekwondo to tic tac toe


By MI’ZAUNI REESE — sports@theaggie.org


As a college with exceptional academics and numerous Division 1 (D1) sports, it is not hard to find athleticism everywhere on campus. Although UC Davis has a total of 25 D1 sports teams, these don’t even account for half of the sports offered at Davis.

With a total of forty registered club sports teams on campus, club sports at UC Davis surpass the D1 sports teams in membership, community and perhaps even individuality. From the more known basketball and volleyball to the unconventional taekwondo and alpine skiing, there are sports teams for everyone at UC Davis. 

One of the more competitive, undiscovered club sports on campus is table tennis. While offering a space of leisure, community and friendly competition, the table tennis team has also become one of the best in the league. Headed by President Vi Pham, the team has competed in the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) league for the past few years, going head-to-head against powerful schools such as Stanford, Sacramento State and UC Berkeley.

 The UC Davis table tennis team also hosts bimonthly competitions for players to enjoy and test their skills. 

“[Table tennis] tends to be competitive, but only if you are looking for competition. As a way of destressing for most members, the games tend to range from friendly matches to intense practicing in preparation for upcoming competitions,” Pham said. “The sport is more physical than you’d think: it is a great source of exercise as well as collaboration, with the team being open to all levels.”

As one of the more demanding sports teams on campus, the triathlon team has also grown a following on campus, with a dedicated coaching staff and an even more committed team. Led by their president, Bradley Manzo, the triathlon team is one of the longest-standing sports on campus, with over 20 years of establishment. As a method for self-improvement and challenging oneself for most members, Manzo and his team take pride in their sport with a wide range of member experience. 

Additionally, the triathlon team has a skillful coach. With 20 years of experience at UC Davis, Head Coach John Hansen was a very distinguished athlete in his field and can be seen sharing his knowledge with his Aggie athletes. 

The team also gets many opportunities to travel across the state and country for events. With such long travels, the team has formed strong bonds and holds each other accountable not only physically but academically. So, if any UC Davis student has a desire to step outside their comfort zone and try swimming, biking and running, why not give the triathlon team a try?

Another club sports team Aggies should give a try is the very welcoming fencing team. President Audreen Bandegen and his team do what they can to make a sport with a relatively elitist reputation accessible and open to people with all levels of experience. They ensure this inclusion and accessibility for all by making the dues very affordable and work hard to open up the sport to others in the community. The team spends a significant amount of time donating swords, fencing bags, blades and covers to many local Davis organizations. 

With a large range of skill levels among team members, from never having tried fencing before to dominating the sport, the team is uplifting and supportive of all its members. And although the sport can feel very challenging at points, there is always more to learn and someone who will aid in teaching you. Thus, as Bandegan says, “The sport is fun — that’s what’s attractive — and who doesn’t wanna sword fight?”

On the other hand, for those who want to compete in a less physical capacity, there are many more mentally challenging club sports such as electronic sports, or esports. Although esports can just be fun video games to some, there are also competitive gaming events all over the country and even the world. With both local and out-of-state tournaments, esports offers an opportunity to feel a sense of community and support from being on a team. 

President of Eports at UC Davis Jonathan Wang described the community as “a very close-knit community.”

As it is many of our member’s first time being on a team, so we take kinship very seriously.” 

In addition to supporting first-time players, the esports team competes constantly, with two teams from the club going to the University of California Esports Initiative’s (UCEI) gaming tournament in LA earlier this year. Both teams, Overwatch and Valorant, did very well in their competition, placing in the top ten and bringing back recognition for the UC Davis esports team. 

Besides playing your favorite games with like-minded gamers, the club offers opportunities to develop skills such as graphic design and PR marketing, making it one of the more lucrative club sports teams on campus.

With these just being four of 40 teams, it’s easy to see that club sports have something to offer for just about everyone regardless of interest or experience. It is no surprise that the community of club sports has grown to such an immense size, as they serve as welcoming communities as well as sources of healthy competition and self-improvement. If you find yourself interested in these clubs and want to find out more, the club sports website is a great resource to use and has basic information about each club. Remember, these opportunities are ours to take to get involved and stay happy and healthy, with a little fun on the side. 


Written by: Mi’Zauni Reese — sports@theaggie.org


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