Bring on the Antourage: NCAA Sports at UCI
Sports are pretty big here at UCI even with us not having a football team. Yeah, I was surprised too; without any kind of tailgate culture students still come out in full force for our sport games. But at UCI, our other sports really do exhibit just as much hype and spirit that you normally see at universities that do have football teams. Both our women’s and men’s teams work extremely hard over the years to maintain their Division 1 label. If you saw some of these games you’d be impressed by how our players become some of the best in the country. These teams include nine women’s teams in basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track & field, soccer, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo. We also have nine men’s sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo.
Among all of these sports, our teams have won 28 national titles. Some of our individual players also have national championships to their name, with 64 students winning in their respective sports. These playoff games get pretty intense, so our spirit team and student section lead the cheering to support our teams.
I remember during my freshman year I went with some friends to Women’s Volleyball game against USC and let me tell you, when I left that game my ears were still ringing. Every touch on the ball was met by our student section screaming their heads off in support of our team. I was worried that when we won the game the student section would try to rush the court and congratulate the team on a hard fought win - that's how hyperactive the Antourage gets during home games.
We also have some extremely athletic Division I student-athletes that have garnered some award-worthy mentions over the years. Our Division I program over the last several decades has put out 56 Olympic athletes and 500 All-American athletes.
Some of our sports teams even get recognized by professional teams, with several of our baseball players being drafted. We even have professional women’s and men’s soccer teams come to scrimmage our teams during their preseason. Beyond that, both our men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball teams get invited to international tournaments in places like China and Korea.
From my experience, the games that usually draw in the most students tend to be our basketball and volleyball games. Our most hyped game of the year is usually Men’s volleyball versus UCLA. The rivalry between the two schools draws huge amounts of fans from either side to cheer them on. That game is definitely one to watch as two teams are very evenly matched, so you never know who will win. Every time I go to that game I meet up with some of my friends from UCLA and we just cheer for a good game because we know that the two teams are so good that if one team wins, the other will probably win in the next one. But that doesn’t stop any of us from trying to hype up our own school’s teams because of how competitive the each school is.
That being said, most of our sports carry huge followings and that can be proven at games when the amount of UCI shirts and chants is like a wave of energy that surrounds the students in the game and watching. If you really want to feel how energetic and powerful UCI’s student population can be I recommend going to a game a experiencing it for yourself.