Utah State University students are involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities.
For some, this means working with student government, joining a college club or becoming a part of the Hurd. But for others, this means getting involved with the USU club sports programs.
The Campus Recreation Department at USU works closely with each of the club sports to help the programs succeed. Currently at USU, there are 14 club sport teams students can join.
Chris Irvine is a senior on the men’s rugby team for USU. He initially chose to play rugby because he thought it would be exciting to try something new.
Irvine said the team has had a variety of successes throughout his time at USU, but one of their best was advancing to a new level.
“Our goal was to reach D1A level, which is the highest level you can achieve without becoming a Varsity sport. We successfully reached our goal, and in the future, we are looking for even greater success in D1A,” Irvine said.
For the 2016-2017 school year, Irvine says they have had some great success competing in new areas.
“Our successes this year are centered around winning in new areas,” he said. “We have not really played seven’s rugby, yet we placed third in both tournaments we have attended and won the tournament that occurred at USU. We are new to D1A but we beat the first team we played and had a blowout victory over another.”
Nursing student Marty Johnson also plays for the men’s rugby team. Johnson is currently the team’s captain and has been playing rugby since his freshman year of high school. He fell in love with the sport as soon as he started playing it.
“I liked that we got to run the ball and I didn’t have heavy equipment to weigh me down. I love the competitive atmosphere and the lasting brother-like friendships that come from being part of a team,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he his team is a tight-knit group of brother, and he enjoys the fun times they have.
“When you see us on the field we are all rowdy and loud talking with each other and joking around with each other,” Johnson said. “But then when it is game time we all get serious and know what has to be done.”
Johnson has learned a lot of lessons through his time playing rugby.
“I have developed a mentality that no matter the score or how tired you are, never give up,” he said. “When you are tired, that is when you need to be the most focused and really push yourself until the last whistle blows.”
Nachelle Hunt is another USU student who has chosen to get involved with the club sports program. Hunt plays for the USU water polo team.
“I had never done water polo before. I was a competitive swimmer growing up so water polo was something I had seen before but had never really had the chance to join,” she said. “I actually did not end up joining the team until one day after a swim workout when they started practicing. Someone just invited me to try it out and I’ve been on the team since.”
Hunt said although the water polo team just got restarted this year, they have grown a lot and she expects great success for their future.
“We are just trying to get started because there has not been a team for the last two years. We are trying to have a solid enough team to compete next year. We had one game against BYU we won in overtime. It was fun to see and play an actual game,” she said.
Jourdan Nabhan, one of Hunt’s teammates, said getting to practice with the water polo team has been really fun. Nabhan was also a competitive swimmer before trying water polo. She said the team has taught her a lot about the sport.
“I’m super new but they will teach you techniques and plays. They teach you how to block someone without getting fouled. It is super hard, but that is what makes it so fun,” Nabhan said.
Hunt said she will miss getting to work with her team the most over the summer.
“I just really love the sport. The atmosphere of the people we play with and the sport itself is really fun. I love having that team unity and spirit,” she said. “I will miss just getting to have fun with a group of people who are all working towards the same goal.
Lucas Lyons is a junior who is involved with the lacrosse program, another club sport on campus. Lyons has been playing for USU since 2014. He originally became involved with the program because of his father.
“My dad went to school here back in the 80s so growing up I was exposed to Utah State. He also played lacrosse for USU. Back then, the team wasn’t recognized by the school. They were known as the USU blue devils but they started the USU lacrosse team,” Lyons said.
While Lyons was growing up, his father taught him to play lacrosse. However, he never played on an official team until coming to USU.
“I decided to play because I grew up loving the game but never had the opportunity to play because my high school didn’t have the sport,” he said.
Lyons said being on a club sports team in college is different than any experience he has had before.
“In high school there were few athletes that stood out on the field and now being on this team there is talent everywhere. I love the team aspect of the sport and the brotherhood we have developed with each other over the years and over the season,” he said.
Lyons has loved being involved with the lacrosse program because of the opportunities it has given him outside of the classroom experience.
“I have learned a lot about myself and about how valuable experiences can be in life. Being able to develop friendships with guys from all over the country is truly something special,” he said.
Lyons feels club sports are a great opportunity for USU students and he encourages others to get involved.
“Lacrosse and club sports isn’t just a game, it is an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and hold yourself accountable for your actions,” Lyons said. “Playing a club sport gave me more than an opportunity to play lacrosse but to have experiences and develop skills I’ll use throughout my life.”