If Mac Pham had never put on gloves and joined the Davis Boxing Club, the undergrad would have been knocked out of achieving a national trophy.
He also would have missed out coaching kids at local gyms and learning to lead UC Davis’ fastest growing sport club, which drew 150 members this year.
“I'm glad I gave it a chance, because it opened the door to a world of new possibilities,” says Pham, a fifth-year English major who will graduate in December.
He is one of more than 1,600 UC Davis students who participate in 37 club teams organized through Campus Recreation and Unions at UC Davis.
Students who like connecting through club competition have a wide array of choices — from bowling, our newest sport, to four equestrian teams.
How sport clubs differ
Unlike the 27 types of intramural sports with 2,500 teams that compete with fellow Aggies each year, sport clubs compete with other universities and colleges across the country.
And, unlike our 23 Division I National Collegiate Athletics Association teams supported by scholarships and student fees to compete at the top collegiate level, sport clubs are managed, financed and run by the participants themselves.
The process and criteria for joining varies by the club. Some of the clubs are for only men or women and others, like boxing, include both genders.
Aggies in sport clubs have dealt several decisive blows at state and national championships this past year.
- At the National Collegiate Boxing Association’s tournament, Colin Schmitt won most outstanding boxer in the men’s 156-pound weight class, Pham placed third in his weight division and Monica Caldwell placed third in her weight class.
- The men’s soccer club won the California state championship.
- And, at the 2014 California State Taekwondo Championships, Amanda Marisol Flannery won a gold medal in the black belt feather weight division, Amanda Bogden captured gold in the black belt fly weight division and Melissa Marzan brought home the bronze medal in the black belt feather weight division.
More bragging rights
Other UC Davis clubs earned bragging rights this past year:
- Our women’s volleyball club team finished fifth at nationals.
- The women’s water polo team was the Sierra Pacific league champion and placed third at the national level.
- And our gymnastics club team picked up three medals at theNational Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs nationals.
The previous academic year, both the women’s water polo and women’s lacrosse club teams claimed national championships.
Not bad for a university known for its Eggheads and winning international competitions for inventions like an olive oil sensor. Then again, students who come to UC Davis enjoy balancing leadership and teamwork with excellent scholarship.
“Sport clubs give you an opportunity to be involved in something more than academics at UC Davis and work with people who share a mutual passion,” says Chase Hildeburn, president of the UC Davis men's lacrosse club. “It gives you a sense of community that can otherwise be hard to find at such a large university.”