Welcome to Campus, Sport:

So, you’ve moved your belongings into your shiny new room and said goodbye to your loved ones. Now, you’re flipping through the pages of this Primer wondering what you’ll do with your free time this year. For those of you who enjoy sports and recreation, UC Santa Cruz has a variety of athletic facilities to meet all your fitness needs while you adjust to your new home.

UCSC has two gyms: OPERS East Field House near Stevenson College, and West Gym near the College Eight Café. 

OPERS East has multiple fields, a 17-lane pool, a yoga and dance studio, as well as indoor and outdoor basketball courts. OPERS West has a single basketball court with the Slug’s championship banners adorning each wall, and rows of exercise machines overlooking the court from an indoor balcony. 

During the pandemic, the fitness centers were closed or limited, meaning a person needed to make an appointment to use the facility. However, as students return to campus, the fitness center is opening with a new set of requirements. In addition to scanning an active Slug membership ID, patrons must also complete a symptom questionnaire before entering any gym facility. At the end of August, all gym-goers will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. However, this may be subject to change as the quarter progresses.

Your Slug membership ID can be found on the GoSlugs app as the barcode under “Membership ID”

Athletics Just for You:

Banana slugs of all skill levels can participate in both recreational and competitive sports leagues. Times are posted on the UCSC recreation website for pickup sports such as basketball, futsol, or volleyball. Alternatively, there are club teams and leagues for many other sports, including rugby and soccer.

If you’re looking to learn new skills or participate in a structured class, OPERS has both scheduled or open dance and yoga classes available. In the East Gym’s main building, you can rent a surfboard or kayak to see the beauty of Santa Cruz’s beaches and Monterey Bay.

For athletic director Sue Harriman, the UCSC athletics program is defined by creating space for all students to thrive. “Everyone can participate in some form and level of athletic-related activity,” Harriman said.

“As a department, we support that culture and strive to develop opportunities for everyone so they have pride in themselves and for our Banana Slug community.”

A Little Section on the Big League:

UCSC isn’t known for being an athletics school, but Santa Cruz is home to some very strong Division III programs.

“All teams have made considerable improvements over the past three years,” Harriman said. “The Athletics Department’s success is measured according to the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup Standings. We went from #168 in 2018-19 to #64 currently.” 

UCSC men’s volleyball has had the most recent success after competing in the 2019 national championship, eventually losing to SUNY New Paltz. Boasting a win percentage of 67 percent over the last five years, the team plays highflying and hard-hitting games in both the West Gym on campus and Kaiser Permanente Arena downtown. The team is coming off a season that saw them go 7-2, which they can build upon when play resumes this spring. 

Women’s volleyball is also on the rise. Despite barely securing a winning record, they successfully defended home court, finishing the season with a 7-1 record in their most recent season’s home games. With both men’s and women’s volleyball improving over the past few years, it would seem the slugs are beginning to climb higher. 

The women’s soccer team became prominent in 2019, with a 13-4-2 record and only one loss at home. Unfortunately, the pandemic stopped the team from building on their success in the 2020 season. Having risen from the ashes of consistent losing seasons, the women’s soccer team will be looking to show their most recent season was more than a fluke.

With deep playoff runs recently in the rearview, bolstered by a schoolwide focus on defending home court, UCSC’s varsity teams have begun a positive swing. This year will show whether or not they can let the good times roll.

Competitive Club Sports

  • Ballroom Dance
  • Fencing
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Ice Hockey
  • Men’s+Women’s Lacrosse
  • Men’s+Women’s Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Men’s+Women’s Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Surfing
  • Triathlon
  • Men’s+Women’s Ultimate
  • Men’s+Women’s Competitive Water Polo

Recreation Club Sports

  • Cross Country
  • Backpacking
  • Badminton
  • Camp Kesem
  • Dance Team
  • Grappling
  • Judo
  • Muay Thai
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Tango
  • Volleyball