By Pat Mariboe
Elm Staff Writer
Whether you’re interested in kicking a ball around, going for a lengthy hike, or even waterskiing on the Chester River, the Washington College Club Sports program has it all. Washington College offers a numerous club sports including the following: equestrian, fencing, field hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, rugby, running, sailing, soccer, trap and skeet, volleyball, wakeboard and waterski, and wilderness adventure.
“I think having a strong club sports program like we do here at WC gives students a tremendous opportunity to get involved in a sport they have a passion for,” said Assistant Director of Johnson Fitness Center and Campus Recreation Tyler Cotterell. “The students that participate come from all different athletic backgrounds and successfully create a culture that fosters acceptance as well as competition. Many of our clubs have experienced tremendous success over the course of the last several years, which has continued to attract dedicated students with a passion for competing in their sport.”
Some of the clubs that have shown that kind of success are the trap and skeet team and the equestrian team, who have both competed in national and regional competitions in the past few years. They’re not letting that success get in the way of their love for the sport and their willingness for others to join.
“For anyone who is interested in getting involved in the shooting sports, be it simply for fun or to compete, my advice would be just that, get involved,” said senior trap and skeet member Erica Pratt. “I believe the best way to learn is by experience, so come out to one of our practices. It doesn’t matter what your experience level is. We welcome everyone who is interested in what we do.”
Another club sport that has gained some attention over the past few years has been the MMA club, that hosted an MMA night in the Goosenest last spring, having members of the team compete in one-on-one fights in front of students.
“My experience has been very good with the MMA club. It has brought me to new physical and mental heights through teaching me discipline and training. I have enjoyed it very much,” said sophomore MMA member Lorenz Iverson. “This year there is talk of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in the fall as well as a boxing tournament in the spring.”
The men’s club soccer team also had a successful outing last season, competing against teams such as Navy and University of Maryland. Along with the competitiveness of the sport, the sense of family and friendship is always present.
“The team is my circle of friends,” said junior club soccer president Francis Bortsie-Ansah. “On and off the field, you get the same amicable support, from course work to meal swipes, there is always someone on the team willing to lend you the help you need. It makes the integration into college life very easy and enjoyable. This season we have a new structural system, and I cannot wait to see the team adapt to it.”
“Club soccer has been great to be a part of,” said sophomore player Danny Redmond. “This year, I’m just excited to start playing again because I haven’t touched a soccer ball in months. Our club president, Francis Bortsie-Ansah, puts in countless hours of hard work year after year, so he really deserves all the credit for what the club has become. Francis is basically my second father.”
When asked to describe their respective teams in one word, Redmond chose “diverse.” “Our team comes from all over the world including New Jersey, Ghana, Ethiopia, Delaware, Jordan, Pennsylvania, and India,” he said. “We all have different personalities too which makes the club very unique.”
Bortsie-Ansah chose the word “family.” He said, “This club has to be the oddest group of distant relatives that you would ever encounter. It all has to do with the team chemistry; it’s a collective group of supportive people.”
Many new students and returning club leaders are anxious and excited for the start of the new club sport season.
“I feel the high level of accountability of our club members is the most impressive aspect of our club sports program because the onus is entirely on the students to run the club,” said Cotterell. “They need to manage their budget, create a practice/game schedule, order uniforms and gear, as well as coordinate travel plans and expenses. This teaches club members the ability to plan ahead and budget their time properly, which are life skills that will serve them particularly well upon graduation.”