Photo courtesy of Cal Poly rugby

Cal Poly’s club sports teams saw their successes honored during halftime of last Wednesday’s men’s soccer game.

With 18 national championships over the last decade, teams ranging from surfing and sailing to baseball and badminton filed onto the midfield logo on the turf of Alex G. Spanos Stadium for recognition. Roughly 250 club sports student-athletes represented the 1,150 student-athletes that currently compete for Cal Poly club sports teams.

“It’s just a comprehensive group of student-athletes who are dedicated to the sport in which they play,” mechanical engineering senior  and Vice Chair of the Club Sports Council Zach Markow said. “They’re out here following their passion for sports and the camaraderie that comes along with sports.”

Encompassing more than 5 percent of the student body, club sports is one of the largest communities on campus.

“We are a huge representation of the school, and sometimes it’s not seen because we aren’t given as much highlights as greek life or (NCAA) sports programs, ” said business administration senior Natalie Royle, Club Sports Council president.

Perhaps more impressive than the sheer size of the club sports program is the success many teams have had over the past decade.

The women’s lacrosse club, led by Royle, placed second in the nation at the end of last season. Its finish marked the team’s 10th consecutive National Championship tournament appearance.

“I think it’s just the hard work ethic and dedication that Cal Poly students have overall,” Markow said.

The club sports program boasts more than just an affinity for winning. Royle said club sports involvement helps students off the field as well.

“It definitely gives them a community,” she said. “It’s people they can hang out with, study with. It kind of gives them a schedule if they’re looking for a way to stay fit and do something fun. We are student-athletes, so grades are just as important as the sport aspect of it.”

Backing up Royle’s claim, the rugby club boasts that it graduates 100 percent of all athletes who are with the program throughout their entire undergraduate careers.

Getting involved in a club sport is relatively simple.

“(Students) can easily get involved in club sports. All the information is online,” Markow said. “You’ll get contact information to all the officers for all the teams.”

As the quarter wears on, many club sports teams begin postseason play in the upcoming weeks.

The men’s soccer club qualified for and hosts its regional tournament the weekend of Oct. 31 through Nov. 1 on the turf fields below Poly Canyon Village. Both Markow and Royle hope the tournament marks only the start of the success for this year’s club sports teams.

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