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Bruins launch three new sports teams

The new Bruins underwater rugby coach Besto Val founded the American underwater rugby professional league 35 years ago and to this day remains the only player involved.
Photo: Keyla Alvarado and Arianna Rayder

Bob Jones University proudly announced three new sports coming to the Bruins lineup this upcoming academic year: frisbee golf, curling and underwater rugby.

After accumulating nearly 36 years of parking ticket funds, the university reached its goal of $17.4 million to provide the equipment and facilities necessary for these three sports. Neil Ring, the director of intercollegiate athletics, jumpstarted these programs after hearing a pitch from Bob Jones III in the fall of 1986 about introducing some new sports.

“It honestly was the perfect opportunity for our athletic program to expand and add some spice to our intercollegiate lineup,” Ring said. “I’m especially excited about our frisbee golf team. It’s something we’ve been working on for a really long time, and I think we can really compete on a national level.”

Frisbee golf athletes play across campus, with baskets located on the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium rooftop as well as in front of the Nell Sunday dorm. Trey Woodberry, a senior ministry and leadership major, awaits the fall season with anticipation.

“I’m just really pumped to throw some discs with the guys,” Woodberry said. “It’s something I have trained for my entire life.

As with all three intercollegiate sports, the Bruins offer roster spots on both men’s and women’s frisbee golf teams, and tryouts begin summer of 2022. Public Safety advises students to look out for flying frisbees as they walk to class and chapel each day.

Inspired by the Winter Olympics, curling takes its place as the second new sport BJU introduces to its intercollegiate lineup this year. Held in BJU’s new underground arena, NCCAA curling matches will feature teams from across the nation and provide a great new atmosphere for fans to cheer on their Bruins.

Jack Cofer, a sophomore business administration major, expects his curling squad to outperform the competition each and every game. “Curling is such an intense sport to be a part of and I think the fans will really be engaged,” Cofer said. “The ice calls me to play at my highest potential along with my curling team. It is also a fantastic quad workout.”

The university’s new state-of-the-art underground arena provides fans with easy access to their seats through any sidewalk tunnel entrance across campus.

Bruins curling athletes will periodically practice in between their classes, so students should not be surprised by any clamorous yells that resound from campus tunnels throughout the day. Curling fans may bring their own curling stones or brushes to be signed by Bruins players before and after matches.

Lastly, underwater rugby makes its debut this fall as students, staff and faculty alike eagerly await the chance to see the sport up-close, some for the first time. Taking place in the Davis Field House pool, underwater rugby offers an exhilarating experience for both student athletes and spectators to enjoy.

Laura Cahill, a junior English major, believes BJU has needed an underwater rugby team for a long time. “I’m delighted to be a part of history through this team of talented athletes,” Cahill said. “I think my weightlifting experience has definitely improved my game, and I trust my team to show up when I am running out of air.”

Noah Kim, a sophomore information technology major, sees the upcoming season as an opportunity to exercise his rugby skills in a subaqueous setting. “I’ve been playing rugby since I was three years old and I played year-round living in South Africa, so having the opportunity to play competitively again is a crazy feeling,” Kim said. “I should probably learn how to swim though, seeing as this time I’m playing underwater.”

The introduction of these three new sports programs rejuvenizes the Bruins’ fanbase, according to Ring. Fans may purchase frisbee golf, curling and underwater rugby merchandise at the Bruins’ shop once each season begins.

“These new programs are still in the works, but we are making great progress,” Ring said. “We’re even working on installing bleachers for underwater rugby fans, which will be used this fall as long as spectators bring their snorkels. I’m really anticipating what that will look like.”