Mon. May 16th, 2022

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For student athletes, sports are an essential part of their college experience. Some students even decide to attend a university based on their sports programs and the opportunities they present.They spend months training and preparing for their seasons to begin with the ultimate goal in mind of winning a championship for their respective clubs.

 These student athletes develop a love for their sport at a young age, and spend years improving their craft and having fun while doing it.

West Chester University offers students a wide variety of opportunities to compete in sports competitions. Currently, the school offers 24 Division II sports, with many club and intramural teams available to play in as well. Sports are offered year-round, with competition occurring during the fall and spring semesters.

 West Chester’s sports programs historically have been highly successful and are consistently recognized among the best in the area. The Golden Rams have won national championships in women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, women’s swimming, women’s field hockey, women’s rugby, men’s soccer and men’s baseball.

Not only do collegiate sports allow student athletes to continue playing the sports they love, they also allow for new friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. 

“I love playing rugby for West Chester because of my team. My team is my second family and being able to play rugby alongside them has made my love for the sport grow so much more,” says third-year student Olyvia Eckard, who was a part of the 2019 team that captured the first national championship in program history. When asked to discuss the team’s bond, Eckard added, “Our bond as a team is very strong. On the field you have to trust your teammates and that comes from building relationships. The love and trust on the team is unmatched.”

Playing a college sport requires non-stop dedication and commitment towards your team and university. It is a year-round effort and it truly tests your love for the game. Scholarship Stats reports that only 7% of high school athletes go on to play at a collegiate level, and this goes to show that these athletes take their respective sports seriously and have a passion for continuing their careers.

“What I love the most about playing football is building bonds with the guys that I go to war with every Saturday”, says Ja’Den McKenzie, a running back for the Golden Rams who was named to the All-PSAC team this past season. “I started playing football around the age of four or fiveyears-old. My brothers and my sister played football too. My sister played when she was younger, she played flag and one year of pads. I was always around the game of football and I eventually fell in love with the game. One of my favorite parts about playing football is the preparation and the grind that has to go with it. My second favorite part about playing football is that it’s a physical game. My third favorite part about playing football is seeing my family, friends and fans in the stands cheering and also I get the chance to represent my school, family and all other people that came through before me.”

All of West Chester’s athletes are unique, as they come from different backgrounds, and places. However, here is at least one thing that many of the Golden Ram student athletes have in common: their love for the game.

Erick Klambara is a third-year Media & Culture major with a minor in Journalism.

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