Are you new to Case Western Reserve University? Did you participate in high school sports? Here at CWRU, we have a multitude of athletic opportunities for any level of competition and seriousness you desire. CWRU competes in the University Athletic Association (UAA) at the NCAA Division III level with the likes of The University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University and New York University. Although the Spartans do not outshine their Michigan State University counterpart (also nicknamed the Spartans), the program boasts strong football, baseball and softball teams.
Starting in the fall, the football team will look to best their program-best 11-1 record and win another championship in the President’s Athletic Conference (PAC). The team is led by Head Coach Greg Debeljak in his 15th season at the helm. Debeljak is the most accomplished coach in CWRU football history and is the only coach with over 100 wins.
The baseball team won the first sole UAA championship of the school’s history, in a season highlighted by All-American fourth-year second basemen, Rocco Maue winning the UAA Position Player of the Year award. The softball team followed suit, earning a trip all the way to the NCAA Division III finals. The women tied for fifth overall in the nation, which is the best finish for any team in school history.
Not only are the Spartans dominating on the field and court, they are also thriving in the classroom. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams earned United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association All-Academic awards, with the men with the fourth highest GPA average out of Division III schools and the women ranking sixth. Additionally, the wrestling team earned the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association DIII Scholar Award for having the eighth highest team GPA in the nation.
CWRU teams have also gone international over the summer to scrimmage against other teams and bond while traveling overseas. The football team travelled to Italy and Switzerland and the volleyball team travelled to Spain.
One can still participate in sports without being a varsity athlete. The school’s intramural program boasts 25 different events, spanning five team sports, including volleyball, basketball, flag football, softball and soccer. There were 1,500 unique participants in intramural sports. Sign up information is posted around residential halls and on the intramurals webpage. Keep an eye out for the sports you want to compete in with your peers.
Think intramurals are too short and want a bigger commitment? There are sixteen different student-led club sports on campus, ranging from soccer and ultimate frisbee to niche sports like quidditch and water polo. Club sports also compete at tournaments across the country, with Women’s 8+ crew team winning gold at the Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship. The men’s club volleyball team also won the POVL North Division championship.
Students have varying reasons for joining and staying in club sports.
Second-year student and Club Ultimate player Brian Lin “[enjoys] how the game of Ultimate is very community based and spirited” and even “[took on] a [leadership] role because [he] truly wants to promote an underrated sport that [he has] a deep passion for to the greater community.”
Second-year student Naomi Kane “joined club soccer because [she] was looking to play at a higher level without the commitment of a varsity team.” She committed to the club because of “relationships [she] built with teammates and the authentic camaraderie the team had…and the fact that she has an entire team that has [her] back means an incredible amount to [her].”