By Eileen Flynn ’20
Providence College has been known for its Division I sports teams for the past several decades. Many students make their decisions to attend PC because they want to be a fan in the crowd cheering on the men’s basketball team or chanting “yes!” in the middle of the student section at a Friday night hockey game. There is something about competitive sports that brings people together and adds to the college experience.
For some, watching people play sports does not quite cut it. Those who were high school athletes may be itching to play the sport they love for just a while longer. PC’s club sports program invites students of all grades to competitively play a sport, representing the Friars on the field.
A few club sports teams have grabbed the attention of the student body. Women’s club lacrosse was founded in 2015 and quickly became Division Champions of the East in 2016 and 2017. Men’s hockey is another veteran club, which has won the Governor Cup several times over the past couple of years.
John Buckley ’20, president and captain of the defending Division II Men’s Club Lacrosse National Championship team, is a perfect example of how club sports can positively impact life at PC. Buckley says, “I am very grateful for the memories I made while playing lacrosse competitively with my teammates. As we get ready to start the new season, the team is excited for the new challenge of being defending champions.”
A championship title has to start somewhere and luckily at PC it is not difficult to start a new club team. A group of interested athletes who are willing to put in the work to start the process is enough. Once there is enough interest for a certain sport, PC club sports director Chris Schmidt will help you along the path towards creating an official team competing against other schools.
Over the past year, club sports have continued to grow; three new sports have been added to the list of teams: field hockey, women’s ice hockey, and women’s softball. “Expansion is important because it allows our program to serve more students. Overall, the club sports program has more than doubled in size over the last six years,” Schmidt says.
Now there are over 20 club sports available, some more competitive than others. Men’s and women’s soccer are teams that call for tryouts, while racquetball, running, and sailing are open for beginners.
When creating the team, Schmidt wants the students to become the leaders. He knows it takes a lot of work, but students are learning the behind-the-scenes finances, scheduling, and logistics of creating and maintaining a team.
Last year, field hockey became an official club sport and Julia Crowley ’20 said it was definitely worth the effort she and her teammates put in over the past couple of years. Crowley said, “The upperclassmen have been with this team since freshman year and we were so excited to greet the incoming freshmen this fall with an official club. The freshmen are so passionate about this sport, which makes all our hard work worth it.” Meeting other students who share the love of field hockey helps make not only freshman year better, but the whole college experience better.
Jasmine Gaudreau ’20 is familiar with the feeling of gratitude for a club sports team at PC. Ever since freshman year, Gaudreau has hoped that there would someday be a women’s club ice hockey team at PC. This upcoming season, Gaudreau is proud to say that she is the captain of a full team roster competing in a season of 15 games. She said, “This past week we had tryouts and I couldn’t be more excited about the season. I can’t wait to play my senior year with girls who enjoy hockey as much as I do.” The addition of a women’s club ice hockey team makes for a better year for not only Gaudreau, but for the three other seniors on the team as well.
Women’s softball was the third team this year to join the list of new club sports. They have successfully hosted tryouts and already have a fall schedule ahead of them. Mia Gheduzzi ’21 is excited to play her favorite sport in the middle of the campus at Glay Field, and thinks this new team will bring an opportunity for her classmates to not only participate, but also enjoy watching.
According to Schmidt, about 15 percent of the undergraduate population participates in club sports, and the numbers are only rising. In order to keep up with the increasing participants, the Club Sports Council has been created in order to assist teams with the ongoing process of maintaining a club sport. Matt Carlson ’20, a new member of the executive board, says, “It is great to see so many people still so eager to play the sport they loved in high school. I am glad I get to help improve the Club Sports Council and provide a good base for club sports for years to come.”