When people talk about Bobcat Athletics, they usually have in mind the varsity sports such as football, volleyball or the ski team. But on campus, there are well over 400 more athletes than just those who suit up on Saturdays. Plenty of club sports allow students to participate in a wide variety of activities at many different levels of competition. These sports range from lacrosse to logging, from polo to rugby. Offering something for everyone, club sports present a great way to get active and involved.
Women’s ultimate looks to build in its second year
Only recently recognized as a top level sport by the International Olympic Committee, ultimate frisbee began during the 1950s and became especially popular on college campuses. The sport — an odd combination of football, soccer and frisbee — involves passing a disc down the field into the endzone to score points without running with the frisbee.
Here at Montana State, the ultimate clubs have been around for a while. However, just last year, the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club gained recognition as an official club sport on campus. As an official club sport, the team can now compete and represent Montana State at meets and competitions.
The team practices three times a week to improve their skills. “Right now, we probably have around 30 girls [in the club], at practice we have about 15 regularly,” said Club President Lily Raymond, who is entering her second year with the club. “Last year, when we started, I was one of the new girls. We lose some girls over the winter when we practice in the gym, but we still did pretty well at sectionals — I think we took fourth last year,” Raymond continued. “It’s pretty cool, we’ve got a lot of new girls this year. Catapalooza has been a great use of our recruiting time.”
The team hasn’t yet had a chance to see the new members in real action, aside from a couple scrimmages against the men’s team here on campus. The team will travel to Missoula for the Big Sky Gunshow tournament.
“It’s the first big tournament that everyone goes to from our section.” Raymond explained. “It’s great. It’s early in the year, it’s nice out and you get to see all the new girls. You start realizing who’s the tough one, who’s the one to beat. We did pretty well last year at this event — third — and I’m looking forward to seeing the new girls compete.”
Look for the team to continue to improve as the new women get their feet underneath them. Raymond concluded, “There’s not a huge ultimate presence in Montana and that’s something we’re trying to change, especially on the women’s side in Montana. We wanted to fix that, and now, here we are.”
Fresh faces, fresh start for MSU Bobcat hockey
The sticks are taped and the skates are sharpened as the young Montana State University Bobcat hockey team hits the ice this fall. The team is going to face a lot of challenges this season, as they are comprised mostly of freshman and havea lot of learning to do. Former player and now coach for the Bobcats Corey Jewell takes over the reins this season.
In his first year he is looking to keep things simple as they move forward. “We need to work on our systems, entry and exit into zones, and covering man on man defense,” he said. As a former player on this team, he has a unique perspective of how to approach each and every game. “I know how quickly things can get negative; I have to keep it positive through the entire season.” Using his previous experience, Jewell hopes to apply his awareness of the game to ensure players are in the correct position.
With roughly two-thirds of the team being freshman, the club looks to gain valuable experience as the season, which began Oct. 9, continues. Coach Jewel is matching the team speed with physical play to overpower opponents. As the team goes through some growing pains, they will be dependent on goalie Phillip Lowther, a junior, to get them through some rough patches. A butterfly style goalie, he possesses lightning fast reflexes that keep the Cats in contention night-in and night-out.
The Bobcat hockey team plays at the Haynes Pavilion at the fairgrounds in Bozeman. The ice rink has metal bleachers around the rink where fans can get up-close and personal with the game. With consistent attendance there are typically no seats available at the games so get there early. If no seats are available, then there is plenty of standing room all around the rink right next to the boards. More of a barn than a hockey rink, the stadium can get loud fast. With screaming fans banging their hands against the boards roaring after each heat, the atmosphere makes the games fun for even the most novice of fans.
The rink opened on Monday, Sept. 28, and the Bobcats had tryouts that day and again on the following Wednesday. After the team was narrowed down, they had two practices before their first game on Friday, Oct. 9 against the Bozeman Stingers. The Stingers are a Senior A team full of former Bobcats. The game was a dogfight with the first period being used to get acquainted to the ice again. After the first period, the teams were tied at one apiece, and going into the second period you could tell each team had made some adjustments in order to create more offense. With newfound legs, the teams started to get physical with plenty of hits and penalties to go with it. Nearing the end of the third it looked like the game would go into overtime, however due to a bad shift change, Chase D’Agostino of the Stingers scored on a breakaway with three seconds left to win the game 5-4 Stingers.
The Bobcats hope to learn from this contest and use the experience to build toward success when they travel to Utah to face Brigham Young University this weekend. The Bobcats next home game will be Nov. 6 against Utah State University and then another on Nov. 7 against the University of Wyoming both at 7 p.m.
Big Sky Flyers make magic
When one thinks of club sports, one typically doesn’t think of the sport founded in fantasy world of witches and wizards. The MSU Quidditch team — founded in 2014 — gets students out and running about in a Harry Potter-esque fashion.
The rules to the game are adapted from the best-selling Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. Quidditch is a co-ed contact sport with seven players on the field. Each player plays with a broom between their legs (usually made from a PVC pipe). Three chasers score goals with volleyballs called “quaffles.” The quaffle can be advanced by passing, kicking or running with it, and goals scored are worth 10 points each. A “keeper” tries to defend the goals, while two “beaters” use dodge balls called “bludgers” to disrupt the flow of the offense. Each team also has a seeker, and is responsible for the capturing of the “snitch.” The snitch is a yellow ball attached to the waistband of a yellow-dressed neutral player who attempts to avoid capture. The snitch is worth 30 points and the game ends with the capture of the snitch.
The MSU Quidditch team, formally known as the Big Sky Flyers is in its second year and is growing rapidly. The team debuted their second season with a trip to Canada, where they played four games, losing them all, against well-established Canadian teams.
On Oct. 10 the team travelled to Utah to compete against the Crimson Elite (Utah State’s Club team) and Boise State Thestrals club teams. Although they lost both games by decent margins, the team has confidence for their future.
“Since we are new we are definitely the underdogs in the region,” player Hannah Johnston said. “Director for the Northwest Region, Kym Couch, told us our team shows a lot of potential.”
Quidditch uses its unique environment to bring together athletes and Harry Potter fans alike. “It’s a warm, welcoming environment,” Executive Board Member Tasha Lynn said. “As soon as we hit the pitch we are all one big family.”