It is a widely known fact that Harvard is home to more Division-I varsity sports than any other university in the country. Less widely acknowledged are the numerous club sports teams that also represent the Crimson against other schools and at tournaments around the country.
This is no surprise many Harvard students played sports in high school, while only a few play at the college varsity level. Despite the abundance of other extracurriculars that are available at Harvard, there is obviously something about physical competition that appeals to students regardless of whether they’re able to make the varsity team or not.
Some of these club teams are the remainder of the former JV system, and many have varsity counterparts. These teams include (but aren’t limited to): basketball, tennis, lacrosse volleyball, hockey, fencing and baseball. However, unlike in the old days, crossover between club teams and the varsity roster is rarely occurs.
Others club teams, however, have no varsity counterpart. These sports are often less conventional or more modern, like the year-old Quidditch team. Other teams simply more individualistic or less integrated into popular culture. These teams include sports like self-defense, Shotokan karate, ballroom dance and archery. However, despite their lack of widespread popularity, most club sports have found steady followings at Harvard.
Several club teams have also found incredible success: the ballroom team will be hosting their 20th Annual Harvard Invitational Ballroom Competition on April 23-24, and the Radcliff rugby team will be heading to nationals later this spring.
The Harvard men's ultimate frisbee team, Red Line, has proven to be one of the top teams in the nation so far this season, finishing in the top five at three elite national tournaments. After a tournament at UConn next weekend, the squad will prepare for the College Series in hopes of earning a berth to the National Championships, a competition held in Colorado in late May.
Despite the fact that they don’t get the recognition that the varsity competitors receive, you can bet that these Crimson athletes will be giving their all, whether it’s on the court, the field or the ballroom.
Published by Kobi Rex
on March 25, 2011 at 3:11AM
After a long winter season, three of the four Harvard crew teams will have their first competitions this weekend.
Tomorrow, the men’s lightweight crew and women’s heavyweight and lightweight crew teams compete in their first races since the fall season.
The women’s heavyweight crew will have its hands full with Tulsa, as the visitors are coming off a great performance at the Oklahoma Invitational. The Golden Hurricanes swept all three of their varsity races against SMU in a strong start to the spring season.
The men’s lightweight crew team faces off against Delaware at 9:12 am tomorrow. The Blue Hen squad is actually not a varsity sport at Delaware, and so the Crimson will race against the Blue Hen club team this weekend.
Published by Ralph Haro
on March 24, 2011 at 2:07AM
Harvard senior running back Gino Gordon was named to the American Youth Football Alumni Ring of Honor this week after a storied career on the field as a member of the Crimson football team. The AYF recognizes players who are “focused on promoting good sportsmanship, teamwork, high moral and physical standards and the importance of scholarship and academic achievement.”
On the gridiron, Gordon was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice in 2007. He was on the All-Ivy second team as a sophomore and earned a first-team nod in both his junior and senior years. At the end of this past season, Gordon was a co-recipient of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup following his 1,059 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
Gordon was one of six football players inducted into the Ring of Honor this year, including Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes and Rams defensive end Chris Long. Check out the full release here.
Each Thursday, The Crimson will compile a series of unique statistics about Harvard's sports scene. Welcome to the Magic of Numbers—without the problem sets. We'll do the math for you.
CRIMSON TEAMS SPRING INTO ACTION
10: Number of teams featured in the Magic of Numbers countdown.
9: Number of groundballs and goals junior midfielder Melanie Baskind has picked up this season. She leads the women’s lacrosse team in groundballs.
8: Number of victories sophomore Thomas Kolasa racked up in the men's sabre competition for Harvard during the first day of the NCAA fencing championship. He led the squad and is currently in ninth place overall.
7: Number of positions Harvard held in the top-15 at NCAA Northeast Region Championship. Freshman Alexandra Kiefer took the top spot in foil while, junior Noam took the title in epee.
6: Number of seniors on lightweight women’s crew.
5: Number of victories men’s lacrosse has attained so far this season.
At the tender age of 14, Temi Fagbenle swapped her tennis racket for basketball shoes in order to increase her chances of gaining admission to a top university. So, she relocated for the fourth time—having previously moved to London from Baltimore and Nigeria—to Blairstown, New Jersey to attend Blair Academy and focus on her on-court game.
Almost four years later, the current high school senior’s sacrifices paid off: Fagbenle has attracted her fair share of Division I offers from the likes of Duke, Boston College and Georgetown, but settled on Harvard with ease.
"Well it's Harvard," she said during her athlete of the week interview for SportsIllustrated.com. "There really wasn't much competition."
The 6’4” forward averages 16.6 points and 9.3 rebounds, and is known to be defensive threat too. Along with her current SportsIllustrated.com Athlete of the week honor, Fagbenle earned a variety of other accolades including the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year, McDonald's All-American honors, and an invitation to train with England for the European Championships.
Now that she’s committed to Harvard, Fagbenle looks forward to maintaining solid grades—like her 3.4 GPA in high school—, and a close relationship with her 11 siblings, but also looks forward to the opportunity to help the women’s basketball team to their first Ivy League title since 2007.