Sports teams to look out for

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether it’s overhearing a conversation on the subway, seeing someone repping their team colours, or watching a game in a sports bar with a panoramic view of more screens than you could possibly take in at once, sport permeates nearly every facet of our lives. The university boasts some of the best amateur sport in the country and some of the best athletes in the world — the best part is that U of T students can attend Varsity Blues regular season games free of charge.

The Varsity Blues make up a total of 44 teams competing in 26 different sports, which can make finding a team to follow or a sporting event to attend very overwhelming. The following is a brief look at the standout teams and players to keep an eye on this year:

One of our most decorated teams last year was women’s volleyball, whose home games are held at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. They are the defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canada Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champs, winning the CIS banner for the first time since 1976. Following their 19–0 undefeated season, the team was awarded the OUA Team of the Year Award, and Alina Dormann was awarded the CIS Rookie of the Year Award.

In swimming, both the men and women posted unparalleled seasons, each winning the CIS banner this past year. Blues swimmer Kylie Masse also qualified to represent Canada in the 100m backstroke at the Rio Olympics and holds the Canadian record in the same event.

Despite winning only three of their eight games last season, Blues football will forever be a must-see. Attending a post-secondary football game is a rite of passage and Varsity Stadium is a venue steeped in football history. The stadium used to be the home field for the Toronto Argonauts and hosted some of the most legendary Grey Cup games — notably the 1950 ‘Mud Bowl’, where bad weather and field conditions covered the players in mud from head to toe by the end of the game.

U of T track events will also be great to watch. The women’s team successfully defended their CIS title last year, while the men brought home the OUA banner to hang in our halls, earning their first CIS podium finish in over 20 years.

Watching varsity sports is not only a show of support for your school and fellow students — it is a fun and rewarding diversion from academic stress. While we may not be a Pac-12 school, the calibre of our teams and athletes make Varsity Blues games a worthy way to spend your night out.