Roundtable: What varsity sport should UConn add?

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Being a Division I university, UConn has a variety of men’s and women’s sports, but not every sport is offered here at the varsity level. For example, UConn currently has a women’s volleyball team, but no varsity men’s team; however the men’s club volleyball team is very competitive. If UConn were to add a varsity sport, what should it be? The DC sports section has their advice for the athletic department:  

Men’s Cross Country 

Cole Stefan 
Staff Writer 
He/him/his 
cole.stefan@uconn.edu 

Coming from a guy that ran three years of high school cross country, I think it would be very cool if UConn reinstated their men’s cross country program. Imagine how elite the track and field program would be with the addition of this team; not only would we dominate the track and field events, we would also dominate the distance events from the one mile to the 5K. Having a balanced attack of Olympic athletes in all assets of the sport would help us recruit more highly-talented players than we already have and boost our overall athletics department. If we had to reinstate the program immediately, we could start with the members of the club cross country team and incorporate some of the distance runners from the track program as well, thus giving us a balanced roster full of experienced runners. If the team needs a place to host meets, I know that Wickham Park is a great place as the CIAC hosts the state championships and state open there. 

Fencing 

Sam Zelin 
Staff Writer 
He/him/his 
sam.zelin@uconn.edu 

Call me biased, I’m the president of the UConn fencing club, but I think there is a serious case for an NCAA fencing roster at this school. For starters, UConn fencers were able to win bouts against Brandeis, Sacred Heart, MIT and Vassar at last Saturday’s NEIFC Championship, with all of those schools being from the NCAA. For sure, UConn wouldn’t be a top varsity roster right out of the gate, but considering that the team currently only has one official practice a week, some more school support could change that. On another note, UConn entering NCAA fencing could mean a possibility of building a conference in the Big East. Currently, St. John’s is the only Big East school with a fencing program, but perhaps the Huskies could get the ball rolling. Overall, UConn fencing already competes with NCAA schools due to the nature of how college fencing works, so why not make it more of an even playing field for us? 

Headis 

Stratton Stave 
Staff Writer 
He/him/his 
stratton.stave@uconn.edu 

I’m going to double down on my obscure sport pick from a few weeks ago and go with Headis as a sport that UConn should consider adding. Headis is a newly created sport that is like table tennis, but played with a softer, small pumpkin-sized ball you hit with your head. Although UConn doesn’t even have table tennis, Headis is a perfectly viable option to serve as an addition. With the sport still in its infancy, UConn adding it would help it explode. The one major difficulty would be that there are no other varsity schools to compete with, but why not make an agreement with the other 10 Big East schools to create the first ever Headis Conference? On top of that, women’s basketball teams make alterations to their mascots and names for the sport, with Baylor being called the “Lady Bears” instead of just the “Bears.” For UConn, instead of the “Huskies,” we would be the “Headskies.” 

Men’s Lacrosse 

Jonathan Synott 
Sports Editor 
He/him/his 
jonathan.synott@uconn.edu 

Hear me out. We already have a very successful women’s lacrosse program, why not add a men’s program? I love the chemistry that the men’s and women’s basketball teams have together on First Night and feel like there needs to be more men’s and women’s programs playing the same sport. Lacrosse is a relatively newer sport but is still growing, creeping up on baseball as a spring sport of choice. From a pure monetary standpoint, this would be an ideal move from the university, as a Business Insider article from 2017 showed that men’s lax brings in the seventh most revenue amongst all Division I sports on average. Plus, there are only 74 Division I schools that currently have a lacrosse team, giving UConn a jumpstart on most other universities to create a solid and reputable program like we have for the women’s team. With lacrosse increasing in popularity, it’s time to hop on the bandwagon now with the addition of a men’s team. 

Gymnastics is an extremely tough and competitive sport and aside from Brown University, New England unfortunately doesn’t have any universities that sponsor the sport. This is exactly why UConn should consider adding it to their collection. Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Gymnastics 

Taylor Coonan 
Associate Sports Editor 
She/her/hers
taylor.coonan@uconn.edu 

We really could have had Sunisa Lee, American Olympic gymnast, on campus. Instead, she committed to Auburn University as a gymnast, but how amazing would that be, to have more Olympians here in Storrs? Gymnastics is such a tough, competitive sport and it requires years of training that could be very well appreciated at UConn. New England is almost exclusive in not having Division I universities with gymnastics programs. Brown University is the only one that sponsors the sport, as most schools with teams are in the south or midwest. Gymnastics is very well respected in America due to the success of athletes like Lee, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman (who is from Massachusetts) and Laurie Hernandez. Along with Brody Malone, Yul Moldauer and Sam Mikulak, America alone is home to a talented population of gymnasts and there are so many more incredible athletes across the world that could come to UConn to compete and learn if UConn had a team. So many UConn athletes grew up with the dream of becoming a Husky and representing Connecticut as a student-athlete, and UConn could increase that scope to include gymnasts. With how prominent of a sport gymnastics is all over the globe, we could be seeing quite a few more Olympians on Fairfield Way.  

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