A Small School Setting with a Big Athletic Feel

Colgate Athletics

By Kate Archer
03/04/2015
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By Kate Archer
Unigo Campus Rep at Colgate University

Colgate Homecoming BonfireColgate University has a pretty impressive athletic resume, especially if you consider its size. With only 2,700 students in attendance, Colgate boasts a remarkable twenty-five Division I teams, a golf course that’s ranked in the top five collegiate courses in the nation, and the number two spot on the list of America’s Fittest Colleges, according to Men’s Fitness Magazine. As is the case with many small schools, athletic attendance can sometimes leave much to be desired. However, for annual favorites, namely Homecoming Weekend and the Colgate-Cornell Ice Hockey game, Colgate students are never short on spirit.

Homecoming marks a weekend unlike any other at Colgate. Alumni of all ages flock back to Hamilton to see old friends, watch some football, and party like it’s, well, whatever year they may have graduated. A pep rally complete with a 40-foot bonfire is always held the night before the football game, and tailgate picks up the celebration again the next morning. The unflagging Colgate spirit was truly showcased this year – the football game was cancelled, but that didn’t stop our pep rally and it certainly didn’t slow down our tailgating.

The Colgate Raiders vs. Cornell Big Red Ice Hockey Game is without a doubt the most anticipated face-off of the year. Our “better dead than red” mentality is never more apparent than in the moment when students throw hundreds of packs of Big Red gum onto the ice before the game. The actual psych-out factor of this tradition is undetermined, but we like to think we’re pretty intimidating. Students wait in line for hours to get tickets and Starr Rink is always packed with fans, including the likes of my roommate, who chose to wear her pride on her stomach in the form of body paint freshman year. If only every student could be so dedicated.

Colgate Homecoming SignAlthough there is a high level of excitement surrounding athletics at Colgate, not every event is as well attended as Colgate-Cornell. Erin Fenn, a senior co-captain of the Women’s Tennis Team, shares her impression of the general attitude towards athletics on campus.

“After four years here, I’ve learned that lack of attendance is not synonymous with a lack of appreciation. Students are always immediately interested when they find out that I play for the
tennis team, but the reality is that between class, clubs, jobs, sports and social commitments they simply do not have time to make it to every match, game or meet.”

Colgate students truly seem to do it all and do it well, and it is this inherent balance that draws many athletes to Colgate. Tom Riley, a senior forward on the Colgate Men’s Ice Hockey Team, adeptly captured Colgate’s double draw for student-athletes. “Colgate offers both education and athletics at a top level, and that’s not something you’ll find at every school. Throw in the chance to win a national hockey championship and I was sold.”

Colgate VolleyballJackie Adlam, senior co-captain of the Colgate Women’s Volleyball Team, credited many of the same reasons for her ultimate choice to suit up for the Raiders. “Academically it was a perfect fit, the people here seemed genuine and real, and of course, the fact that it was Division I as well as one of the best degrees with which one could possibly graduate played a huge role in my decision.”

Jackie acknowledges that it’s not always easy balancing all the different roles she plays on a daily basis, but has never looked back about her decision to play for the volleyball team.

“Playing a sport here has introduced me to a healthy culture of fitness and discipline, as well as helped me to make friends with whom I will forever remain close. It has been one of the best aspects of going to a school like Colgate, and nothing makes me more proud than to say that I was a Division I athlete at this school.”

No matter each individual student’s level of involvement, Colgate’s Division I program brings excitement, diversity, and a heightened sense of community to the campus. Whether you’re MVP of the football game, or champion of the tailgate, athletics are without a doubt an integral part of the Colgate experience.

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