Utah Club Sports: A Year in Review


Abu Sufian Muhammad Asib

University of Utah freshman and Utes lacrosse team attacker Drew Tyler Bradbury looks to pass during an NCAA game vs. the Jacksonville Dolphins in Salt Lake City on March 6, 2021. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


The University of Utah has slowly established itself as a nationally recognized brand in college athletics due to the performance of the school’s varsity sports teams in the past couple decades. Despite the school’s Division I programs, do not overlook the school’s 21 club sports teams.

While none of the club sports teams have won a national championship, it is still worth exploring some of the notable feats you might not have heard about in the Utah sports community this school year.

One of the fan-favorite sports clubs at the U is the club hockey program. While Utah football was spending the fall pursuing a Pac-12 championship, the men’s hockey team put together one of the best seasons in their long history. Although the season was characterized by a series of highs and lows, the men’s hockey team finished the season ranked No. 20 in the nation.

The U’s women’s hockey team is still considered the newcomer on the block. Nevertheless, in just their second full season as a program, the women’s club hockey team nearly doubled the size of their roster and added a new coach, Braeden Yeo, daughter of the Philadelphia Flyers’ current interim head coach Mike Yeo.

Another sports club with an impressive feat this year was the club alpine ski team. Around the same time the varsity ski team secured another national championship, the women’s club alpine ski team quietly finished second at the Western Region Championships, as the men’s alpine ski team secured third in the same competition.

The club hockey program and alpine ski team are only the tip of the iceberg for club teams that had notable seasons this school year. Additionally, club ultimate frisbee, wakeboarding and kendo teams are all worth checking out next year.

Arguably the biggest story to come out of the U’s club sports community this season was the revival of the men’s lacrosse program. The men’s lacrosse program, originally founded in 1979, has had a presence on campus for several decades, competing in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association before officially becoming a varsity sport in 2019.

The transition from a school club to a varsity sport was overall considered a victory for the lacrosse club as an organization, but not necessarily for most of its members. While the club’s top players were finally given the chance to play the sport at a Division I level, the team could only take roughly up to 40 players, a fraction of the club’s well over 100 members.

Due to a rule put in place by the MCLA, the varsity league which Utah now belongs to, universities were not allowed to have both a Division I team and a club team. Because of this, a majority of the surprisingly large Utah lacrosse community was ultimately stripped of the opportunity to play an organized version of the sport in college.

Among those impacted by the club’s transition were U students and lacrosse fanatics Michaelis Linardakis and Connor Kuhl. To solve this issue, in 2019 Linardakis and Kuhl began organizing practices and pickup games on campus to keep the club alive and keep the lacrosse community at the U together, even if they couldn’t play games.

“We began with the moonshot goal of creating another MCLA Lacrosse team at the University of Utah once again,” Linardakis said. “It was not an easy task. Our first practice which was literally just a pickup game with like 14 guys.”

Over time, the club started to gain traction. Prior to the 2021-22 season, the club finally received its big break, as the MCLA lifted their rule which meant the club could start competing again. When it was officially announced that the club could start competing in the MCLA, the team quickly gained traction.

“I saw literally 160 people sign up for tryouts,” Linardakis said. “It was heartwarming to see that many dudes with talent show up.”

In their first season this year, the men’s club lacrosse team currently sits at No. 4 in the MCLA Division II national rankings, and will likely be moving up to Division I next year.


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