Club sports offer students opportunity to compete

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During practice Jan. 30, the UT rugby team executes a line-out, in which they life economics senior Rafael Lopez Segovia for the ball. Segovia and his team captured a conference championship on their rise to the national spotlight in college rugby. 

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

The University of Texas’ varsity teams have a storied history of athletic achievement, but sports on the 40 Acres doesn’t stop there. The University also hosts 43 different club sports teams, ranging from archery to water skiing and wrestling.

These student-run organizations provide students with the opportunity to compete on both local and national levels. Some of the most popular and successful club sports teams include the men’s soccer team and the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.

The men’s club soccer team has grown to become a premier club soccer program.  Although it is not an NCAA varsity program, it is highly competitive and is certainly run like one.

The team competes against Big 12 teams including Baylor and Texas Tech, as well as other teams throughout the state. After lasting until the final 16 in the national tournament last year, the team’s goals for this upcoming season include winning the conference and regionals, as well as making a run at nationals, sophomore forward Matt Picon said.

The men’s lacrosse team is one of the most developed club lacrosse programs in the region. It competes at the national level, and the team finished in the MCLA top 25 in recent years.  Unfortunately, the Longhorns fell to Texas State in the championship last year, a matchup they had won the previous five years.  

“Last year was tough,” said Noah Starr, former attackman and captain. “We had a difficult schedule and had to overcome a lot of adversity, which was a challenge for a young team.”

Despite losing some graduating seniors, the team looks to gain a number of talented freshmen for this season.

The success doesn’t stop with the boys. Established in 1993, the women’s lacrosse program has experienced much success in recent years. The Longhorns have qualified for the national tournament the past seven years.

Last year, they placed fourth at the tournament and won their conference. Mallory Claypool, sophomore defender and president of the team, said the team is ready and excited to prepare for another great year.

“Our seniors last year were extremely talented, but our returners are very strong, and we have a fantastic group of rookies,” Claypool said. “We’re super excited for the upcoming season and aiming to light the tower orange.”

Crew, the largest club sport program at UT, and the cycling club — which consists of mountain and road bike competitions — are among the many other popular programs offered at UT. The wide variety of club teams doesn’t end there. UT Rec Sports also offers gymnastics, fencing, handball, powerlifting, volleyball, dance, ice hockey and many more.