What a year it has been in the world of sport clubs at UCSB. Twenty teams, about 25 articles, three league champions, one national championship, one coach of the year and you’ve completed the year at UCSB.
When these articles first appeared back in October, the only thought was to give sport club teams more publicity. These teams encompass some of the hardest working, dedicated and committed individuals on this campus. No one thought that each article would bring with it more recognition and more pride for the entire sport club program.
The alpine racing team started the year with more members than the squad was equipped to handle. The Gauchos selected key members of the team to compete and earn a league championship. Santa Barbara also won national championships in the men’s half pipe and women’s giant slalom for the snowboarders. First place finishes Justin Calbert in the half pipe and Kyra Ran in giant slalom cemented the snowboarders’ standings. Wes Smith’s first-place finish in the giant slalom combined with Jessica Nolan and Nikki Bonino’s one-two finish in the skier-cross event to help out the ski team.
Other than the alpine skiing team, the biggest club story of the year was the success of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. The men’s team finished second in the nation after losing in the championships last week in St. Louis. UCSB Head Coach Scott DeMonte earned two coach of the year accolades, one for the league and one nationally for leading the Gauchos to the promised land.
The women’s team finally came close to winning the Santa Barbara Shootout, securing a second-place finish after finishing almost dead last a season ago. Their team also had the Jean Hodgkins recipient, Melissa Shaw, guarding the net for them.
The bowling team may not have won any national titles, but was able to recruit a pool of dedicated members to help the Gauchos for years to come.
The fencing squad competed with much larger numbers than it had managed to compile in recent years. Santa Barbara finished fifth on the men’s side and seventh on the women’s side in its league.
The cycling team competed against some of the top schools in the nation, ending up 13th with a few team members qualifying for nationals held in early May. Ben Jacques-Maynes finished second overall in the individual omnimum with Erin Alders finishing 35th for the women.
Sailing began the year with one member of the team qualifying for nationals during the fall season. They ended the year being ranked 18th in the nation by Sailing World College.
The roller hockey team started the season slowly but managed to turn it around and finish seventh in their league.
The men’s and women’s rowing team excelled in both the varsity and novice divisions. The novice women, novice men, and varsity lightweight men’s teams finishing second.
The men’s and women’s ultimate teams tried to get a bid to nationals but could not advance.
Men’s rugby, on the other hand, gained a bid to the Sweet 16 of the National Tournament, while women’s rugby ended its season at the local Santa Barbara Tournament.
The triathlon team finished eighth at nationals in April, while the surfing squad awaits a date with nationals in June. Water ski ended with more members on the team than they’ve ever had before and some impressive skiing and wakeboarding at competitions in the fall and spring.
After a whirlwind year of Cinderella stories, first time wins against rival teams, trips to national tournaments and a national title, I am proud to finish my time covering these amazing sports and athletes.