For athletes headed to college, it’s a tough transition between always being on a sports team and having built in workouts to leaving it all behind to be a full-time student. Club sports have given students the opportunity to pursue their passion for sport and team spirit without being D1 level.
Club sports at Gonzaga range from classic sports like basketball and soccer to more unique sports like ultimate frisbee and rock-climbing. GU’s commitment to athletics and supporting its athletes’ opportunities is strong.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, club sports have been put on hold. Trying to maintain safe guidelines while engaging in practices is not only hard, but it is frustrating. Recently, some teams have been finding ways to make it work, and it is offering students a taste of what life was like before the pandemic.
Club tennis started practicing for the first time on March 3.
“We cannot compete with other teams or travel outside of Spokane county, but are happy to be back out playing with each other and getting exercise on MW evenings,” said Laura Stewart, women’s club tennis president via email.
Tennis practices are Monday and Wednesday evenings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Wellness Center at North Park. They were unable to practice at the Steven’s Center, right next to campus due to COVID-19 restrictions.
GSBA’s funding was the savior for club tennis. It allowed the team to rent four courts for 20 people, twice a week.
Men’s club rugby has been able to host practices this semester. The club practices on Mulligan Field with about 12-15 attendees. Contact is such an important part of the game in rugby, but the club has opted to do socially distanced practices rather than no practice at all.
“Our practices mainly consist of skills work, because that’s what we are able to do while staying distanced, so we try to keep that fun and try not to be too repetitive with what we’re doing,” said Will Dodds, men’s club rugby president.
Dodds said that it has been great to see members coming to practice consistently and creating a positive team spirit in times of struggle.
Women’s club rugby has not been practicing, but they are working on ways to find COVID-19 safe alternatives to practice in the near future.
Baseball and Softball
GU club baseball has been practicing on Mulligan Field on Mondays and Wednesdays. Just like rugby, they have around 12-15 members show up, in compliance with Phase 2 regulations. Not only has club baseball been practicing on the field, they have also been practicing in the batting cages at the Warehouse Athletic Facility.
With big news about clearance for games in April, the baseball team is excited to get out there.
“The biggest challenge has been funding and booking everything because we have had to do it in such a short time,” said Emilio Vargas, club baseball president.
The team had to move home fields, because the Gonzaga Preparatory School field was unavailable. Vargas said the team is excited for the surprising news of clearance for games, but they are scrambling a bit to make reservations as restrictions are lifted.
Contact in the game of baseball isn’t as important as other sports, so it has made it easier for this club to organize, practice and play. Be on the look out for game information.
Club softball practices haven’t started up yet, but they have just been approved to be in the batting cages.
Both women’s and men’s ultimate frisbee is practicing at the moment.
Ultimate frisbee club teams were able to practice with five people in a pod last semester, in Phase 1, and after Phase 2, they are more than excited to be playing with 15 people.
“Now that we have enough people, we have started teaching new players our offensive plays and reviewing them for our returners,” said Amy Fraizer, women’s club ultimate frisbee president.
Defending has been difficult for both teams because of contact and social distancing rules, but other aspects of the game have been easy to push through, according to Fraizer.
Men’s club soccer is starting to practice with regulations. Since club sports are starting to move into Phase 3, practicing is looking more and more realistic.
Women’s soccer decided to not hold practices this year. With the ability to only practice in pods of five, it made practice extremely difficult because contact is such a huge part of the sport.
“If we could play contact in masks, we would likely decide to have practices again,” said Kara Eikermann, women’s club soccer president.
Some of the members from the women’s club soccer team are practicing with the men’s team to keep numbers up.
Since women’s club volleyball is an indoor sport, it had made it difficult to get practices going. Right now, the club is working on reserving courts and coming up with COVID-19 safe skills, but it is tough.
“It has been very challenging to cultivate a safe and comfortable space for our girls to gather and practice together due to the nature of the sport,” said Tori Conlon, women’s club volleyball president. “It is not a contact sport, but we are constantly touching the same volleyball and standing near each other on the court during practices.”
Men’s club volleyball is also not practicing at the moment.
Log onto Zagtivities to further look into what club sports are up to and to get involved.