Students overlook bass fishing, rugby, paintball, unknown sports

 UNA rugby player Robert Gooch runs downfield for a potential score during a game this past weekend. Rugby, bass fishing, and paintball often go overlooked by UNA students.

There is no tailgating involved. There are no cheerleaders in attendance. In fact, most students around campus are probably unaware of the club sports at UNA. Outside of the 12 varsity sports offered at UNA, there are options for those seeking something different.

The UNA Bass Fishing Team is in its fifth season and has already seen a good deal of success. They won the 2009 Southern Collegiate Championship and finished that same year ranked nationally in the top 10. In 2010 they were ranked No. 11 nationally in FLW Magazine.

They can often be found on the Versus channel and get more television coverage than even the football team.

“The fishing team can be more competitive in Division I than some of the other sports,” said Bass Fishing Team President Mitchell Ray. “We can go down to Auburn’s or Alabama’s home lakes and beat them.”

Started by Nick Cupps and Ryan Salzman, the fishing team grew into a club currently consisting of 19 members. UNA’s Bass Fishing team also helps with fishing activities around the community, including the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation’s event each year and the national championships hosted at McFarland Park in May.

UNA’s Rugby Club was started in the fall of 2010 by current senior Caleb Aldridge. Aldridge transferred from Freed-Hardeman University to UNA where he brought his passion for rugby and forged the initial movement to start the team.

Not long after the team was formed, current coach Eddie Roberts contacted the players and told them he was interested in helping.

Roberts helped build a rugby program at Lee University, and his volunteered time has helped the UNA Rugby Club become a stable athletic group at the university.

“There’s a core group of guys on this team that devote as much time to building this program as other students devote to classes,” Aldridge said.

UNARC is governed by USA Rugby and competes in Division II in the Dixie Conference during the spring semester.

UNA’s paintball team was created in the spring of 2010 by current senior Bo Bailey. They have also experienced success even as a young program, placing in the top five of every tournament they have competed in.

UNA’s paintball team competes in numerous leagues, including the Alabama Challenge Event Series, Paintball Sports Promotions, Midsouth X-ball League, and the National College Paintball League, and they have competed against many of the major universities in the Southeast.

They will be competing in the PSP World Cup Oct. 20-23, which is paintball’s biggest event, boasting hundreds of teams from all around the world.

Any student interested in these organizations is welcome to contact the respective presidents or attend one of their meetings. The Rugby Club meets in the GUC Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The Bass Fishing Team has their spring team selected, but students can contact Mitchell Ray at [email protected]

The Paintball Team is always looking for new players, and Marshall Hess can be reached at [email protected]