Spring, at long last, has arrived. Yes, the ground looks like the head of a man in desperate need of some Rogaine, but it’s a start. Likewise, in the world of Ivy League sports, we’ve finally closed the book on the winter season, as Yale unexpectedly fell in the second round of men’s hockey’s version of the Big Dance, and spring sports are now in full gear. We’ll explain it all in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.
After one of the greatest seasons in school history, the Yale men’s hockey team couldn’t find a way to keep up with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) on Saturday night. The top seed coming into the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, the Bulldogs narrowly escaped Air Force on Friday, winning 2-1 in overtime.
But the following night, Yale didn’t get quite as lucky.
With March Madness just about as mad as it’s ever been, there’s no doubt many of Harvard’s basketball fans will be watching to see which unexpected member of the Final Four will cut down the nets in Houston next week.
But members of Harvard’s men’s club basketball team will be travelling down to the Lone Star State this weekend for a different reason.
Already off to a strong season, Radcliffe rugby padded its season performance, winning in the Four Leaf 15 Tournament last weekend outside New York City. The team faced brutal winds and 40 degree weather in the single-day tournament, and players had no time to warm themselves up in between matches in the tightly-packed schedule.
The 2010-2011 squash season ended in tournament losses for Harvard’s top players, sophomore Laura Gemmell and freshman Gary Power. Gemmell suffered her first collegiate loss when she fell in the finals of the Women’s Collegiate Squash Association Individual Championships, and on the men’s side, Power failed to make past the round of 16.
But, despite the tough endings, both Power and Gemmell dominated during the season. For their play, the duo has a host of accolades.
In his first year on the men’s squad, Power played in the No. 1 spot, meaning he would consistently have to face some of the nation’s best. The freshman stepped up to the challenge, winning 10 of his 15 matches en route to a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League Team.
Gemmell, following last year’s national championship, continued her dominance in the 2010-2011 season, blowing through the competition until losing to Yale's No. 2 Millie Tomlinson in the Individual National Championship. Despite the loss, Gemmell has still won 97% of her collegiate matches.
With a 16-1 record this season, the sophomore not only made the All-Ivy League team, but she also was named the Ivy League Squash Player of the Year for the second-straight season. Additionally, Gemmell was named to the CSA first-team All-America.
Gemmell’s teammate junior Nirasha Guruge also earned All-Ivy League and CSA first-team All-America honors thanks to a 12-5 record in the No. 2 spot.
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.