From clubs and organizations to intramural and varsity athletics, student life outside of the classroom at Western Washington University is packed with diversity and endless opportunities. Stop and take a look around next time you are walking through red square. The people that make up our student body are full of so much talent and individuality. When brought together as a whole these students make one incredible group of people! The student art that can be seen around campus is amazing, not to mention our phenomenal school newspaper and magazine created by our journalism students. Many are aware that WWU is home to some immensely creative individuals, but what some may not know is how much athletic talent Western has!
As you pass Red Square, you will undoubtedly notice the giant construction zone which dominates the path through campus. This sight is soon to become the new home of Western’s athletic department. The varsity programs at Western have been different this year, with home games being hosted twenty minutes from campus. Consequently, the success of our sports teams has flown under the radar. Although many are focused on studies and academia at Western, the hard work and dedication that athletes put in is vastly underappreciated while the team spirit has seemed to fade off campus despite the growing victories that our athletic teams share. Let’s take a look at some of the success from this year.
The women's cross country came in 6th at nationals kicking off this fall while the unbeatable women’s soccer team made the final four taking a trip to Florida after not losing a single game during the season. Ten athletes on the men and women’s soccer team were named part of the GNAC all-American team. Women’s volleyball made their second appearance at the final four, and finished off their season as the 5th best in Western’s history. Despite the lack of a home gym and facility for training, both men’s and women’s basketball thrived and three women earned GNAC all-star honors.
Entering into the outdoor track season, Western has nothing short of success awaiting around the corner. With three Vikings heading towards indoor nationals the team is ready to compete for the titles. It is clear that WWU’s athletics are definitely something to be proud of.
Athletes themselves testify what an amazing program we have here.
“My favorite part about belonging to the rowing team is being part of a team that pushed me to work harder,” said rower, Chloe Burns. The team aspect drives the athletes to push through hard work-outs, and difficult situations.
“My favorite part is being around people who have similar goals and having a team that is there for me during my highs and lows and being able to do the same for them. Also our shared love for food and Pinterest,” said cross country national-qualifier, Sara Tafere. Most athletes for the school put in at least 14 hours a week on top of their studies in dedication to the athletic program. This may seem like a lot, but most athletes enjoy the opportunity to compete for an amazing program.
“It’s relatively easy to balance because getting my energy out in practice and focusing on something other than JUST school helps me to be less anxious about school work, and more productive,” explained Taferre’s roommate and distance runner, Lillianna Stelling.
The sports teams as a whole contribute to the overall spirit and unity of the school and make part of being a Viking that more special. Soccer-player Emily Webster explained, “I feel a stronger connection to the school in general and to other athletes, it makes me feel like I am a part of a greater community within the university. I love competing knowing that I am representing more than just myself.”
Collectively athletes train hard to represent the school and show what it’s like to be Viking. Despite the lack of a home gym, let's not forget our athletes and how proud we are to be a part of the Western community.
We are artists. We are entrepreneurs. We are innovators. We are advocates. We are students. We are individuals yet a collective whole. We are WWU.