What do you get when you cross a boat, two horses and the new Taylor Swift song?
You get the unusual sight by Westhampton Lake, where a few of University of Richmond’s club teams promoted their sports in a event planned by Seth Thomas, assistant director for sports.
Two horses, Sam and Murphy, were brought to campus by the equestrian team to catch the interest of students walking around campus. The ice hockey team played Taylor Swift tunes to attract new recruits. The crew team took a dip in the lake to showcase their skills.
“It was definitely a shock for people to see horses right by the commons, but it was fun to see everyone’s reactions,” Emily Arches, equestrian team president, said. “Some people were scared initially, but after a little, they pet them and really enjoyed themselves.”
On the other side of campus, the men’s rugby and soccer teams did drills and scrimmaged with prospective players on the intramural fields. The rugby team ended the event with a team ice bucket challenge as part of the viral sensation to raise awareness for ALS.
The event was held to allow team members to promote Richmond’s championship-level club sports teams, which include crew, equestrian, men’s ice hockey, men’s rugby and men’s soccer club teams, Thomas said. Because these teams have met 15 criteria established by the Sport Club Council, they are distinguished as championship level — the highest of three classifications of sports clubs.
Richmond’s crew, equestrian and men’s ice hockey teams are the most-funded championship club teams at Richmond, Thomas said, but the teams often lack visibility because they practice and compete off campus.
For example, the crew team practices four to five days a week at Rocketts Landing off campus, Matt Sorensen, crew team member, said. The equestrian team practices at a barn about 30 minutes from campus and competes all over the region, rider Sara Hagberg said.
In the past, club team members have exclusively used Facebook and word-of-mouth to recruit new athletes each year, Jared Ingersoll, ice hockey team president, said. Because these tools make it difficult to reach a large audience, Thomas wanted to hold an event that would get students’ attention.
“It’s completely up to the members to recruit new athletes,” Thomas said, “so we did this promotion to help them get athletes to sign up and join.”
Thomas and many club team members considered the event a success and planned to continue it in the future. Several new players signed up for a championship club team during the event, Thomas said. Interested athletes were able to sign up via OrgSync on iPads.
“I would say it was really successful,” Arches said. “All the students that came by just to even pet Murphy and Sam really enjoyed it.”