Understanding Ryerson’s Competitive Club Landscape

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By Richard Coffey

Something students may not know about Ryerson is how good its club scene is. Not the partying kind, of course—the competitive clubs students can join as part of Ryerson Athletics.

For Ryerson Athletics, sports are broken down into three tiers: varsity athletics, competitive clubs and recreational clubs. The main difference between competitive and recreational clubs is that, for the most part, recreational clubs don’t compete in organized competitions against other schools whereas competitive clubs do. 

While most of these clubs are on hiatus due to COVID-19, here is what you can expect to be  available to join once we’re back on campus. While you can practice your Frisbee throw or wrestling takedown this year, next year you can see if you have what it takes to enter the competition. 

We spoke to the leaders of Ryerson’s 17 competitive clubs to find out what their club is and why you should want to join.

Ryerson Barbell

How do you join Ryerson Barbell?

New members are welcome regardless of level of experience. Team members are comprised of athletes who compete on the national level, as well as those who are just training to better themselves.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The barbell club trains in the varsity section of the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you’re working toward?

Ryerson Barbell hosts a powerlifting meet in the spring at the MAC. According to a team representative,  “The amount of times an athlete competes is relative to how intensely they view the sport.”

Why should a student join Ryerson Barbell?

“Someone should join the barbell club if they’re looking to achieve certain strength goals or trying to learn a sport that can inspire them,” said John Nardi, a member of Ryerson Barbell.  

Checkout our feature on the Ryerson Barbell club here!

Ryerson Baseball

How do you join Ryerson Baseball?

Any full-time student may try out. The coaching staff makes selections to the roster. Naturally, this year’s tryouts have been postponed due to COVID-19. 

In a regular year, where would you be located?

Stan Wadlow Park in East York.

In a regular year,  is there an event/tournament you’re working towards?

Ryerson Baseball competes in the Ontario University Athletics Conference, the highest level of university baseball in the province. Normally, they have a regular season running early September to early October, culminating in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championship Tournament in mid-October.

 Why should a student want to join Ryerson Baseball?

“To compete at the highest level of university baseball available in the province,” said a club representative.

Ryerson Men’s Cricket

How do you join Men’s Cricket?

Anyone is welcome to join by contacting their social media pages, or emailing them.

They practice once a week through the fall semester and then usually ramp it up to two practices a week in the winter semester when the season gets busier.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The team commutes to Yashi Sports in North York to practice.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament that you’re working toward?

Men’s cricket works toward three tournaments throughout the year. The first is a national tournament held in the GTA called Canadian College Cricket (CCC) Nationals. In  the past, they have also attended a regional tournament in Detroit to determine seeding for the American College Cricket (ACC) nationals in Fort Lauderdale. All of these tournaments are a high level of play and often involve the top schools in Canada and the U.S.

Why should students want to join the cricket club?

“Students should want to join the cricket club for a different approach to sports. Cricket is a mental game and learning a game like cricket is an incredible way to move your body, while getting to know how you mentally approach a sport,” said Jamison Schulz-Franco, a member of Ryerson Men’s Cricket.

Ryerson Cross Country

How do you join Ryerson Cross Country?

Anyone can join as long as they are able to meet a timed standard.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The team usually trains at Riverdale park.

In a regular year, is there an event /tournament you’re working toward?

The main event of the year is the OUA championships.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Cross Country?

“Cross Country is an opportunity to meet new people and get good exercise,” said a Cross Country representative.

Ryerson Curling

How do you join Ryerson Curling?

Ryerson Curling is open to all registered Ryerson students. Tryouts for all who are interested typically occur at the start of October. Ryerson has both a men and women’s curling team.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

Ryerson Curling tryouts take place at Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament that you’re working toward?

This past season, the team competed at the Brock, McMaster and Laurier Curling Invitational Tournaments. The OUA Curling Championships take place in February followed by the U SPORTS Curling National Championships.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Curling?

“For an opportunity to compete in a high-level sport against the best in the province,” said a team representative.

Ryerson Dance Pak

How do you join Ryerson Dance Pak?

Any and all individuals are welcome to audition for Dance Pak. The only requirement is that they must be a registered full-time member of the university. The team holds auditions at the beginning of the fall semester.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

Dance Pak typically trains twice a week at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Topline Studio and the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC) studios.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you’re would be working towards?

Dance Pak trains to perform at OUA games, such as Ryerson basketball games, and works toward their competitive season in March which is usually made up of three competitions.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Dance Pak?

“If students have a passion for dance they should want to join our club to express their creativity and continue their training,” said Jenna Stoikos, Dance Pak captain. “Dance Pak is an environment in which dancers can truly be themselves and create long lasting friendships and relationships with teammates throughout their years at Ryerson.” 

Ryerson Dragonboat

How do you join Ryerson Dragonboat?

They welcome all Ryerson students regardless of prior paddling experience to join. Any student with a “willingness to learn and work hard to improve among a close-knit team” can succeed in the sport, according to Coach Michael Pereira. 

In a regular year, where would you be located?

During the school year, the club trains on campus and makes use of the facilities at the RAC and the MAC. Once they begin water training around May, they paddle out of Outer Harbour Dragon Boat Club near Tommy Thompson Park.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you would be working towards?

The club typically races at the Pickering Dragon Boat Festival, Toronto Women’s Dragon Boat Festival, the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival on the Toronto Island and GWN Dragon Boat Challenge at Marilyn Bell Park.

Why should a student want to join your club?

“Students who join the club will make life-long friendships among a supportive community while building up their athletic ability and facing new challenges that will push them beyond where they ever thought they could go,” said Coach Pereira.

Ryerson Esports

How do you join Ryerson Esports?

Pending a tryout and approval by the manager/coach of whatever team a person is applying to, anyone can join.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

They don’t have a physical space on campus that they’re located in.

In a regular year, is there an event /tournament you’re working toward?

Since the club facilitates teams for 11 different esports titles, there are a multitude of national/continental tournaments all their teams work toward. Each team plays in one or two leagues per year with smaller independent tournaments sprinkled throughout. 

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Esports?

“Ryerson Esports provides a healthy, friendly and competitive environment for students who have an interest in competitive gaming to flourish and reach a higher standard of play. Furthermore, due to the nature of esports, our club is incredibly inclusive and accommodating,” said a member of Ryerson Esports.

Checkout our feature story on the competitive esports club here!

Ryerson Equestrian Club

How do you join Ryerson Equestrian Club?

Ryerson Equestrian Club is a place for anyone who wants to learn to ride or wants to continue riding. The club holds tryouts and students are expected to come in with a base level of experience for safety purposes. Those who want to compete must be able to jump a height of 2 meters, but do not need previous showing experience.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The club practices at Pause Awhile Equestrian Center in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario once a week. They also host their annual themed show at Pause Awhile. 

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you would be working towards?

The season starts in September and goes to March,. This year, due to COVID-19, shows will begin in January with practices starting this month. The club rides with the Ontario Collegiate Equestrian Association (OCEA). Finals are at the end of the season and they compete with all the other finalists from other zones in the OCEA.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Equestrian Club?

“This is a great opportunity for students to get out of the city and pursue something new, meet new friends or get back into riding!” said Sophie Babins, co-captain of the Equestrian Club.

Ryerson Women’s Fastpitch

How do you join Ryerson Women’s Fastpitch?

Every year they hold tryouts in the spring and summer for girls who want to join the team.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The team is located on different softball fields around Toronto.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you’re working toward?

In the regular season, the club starts with an exhibition tournament on their first weekend. Throughout the season they work towards provincials against the other university teams.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Fastpitch?

“Our club is a great way to socialize with girls from different programs and different years. We are all extremely close and look forward to our time together on and off the field,” said Quinn Daniels, a member of the club.

Ryerson Rugby

How do you join Ryerson Rugby?

Rugby is open to full-time Ryerson students under the age of 25 with OUA eligibility. They have training/practices and games in the Scholars League.

In a regular year, where would you be located?  

Ryerson Rugby trains at Cherry Beach Field.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you would be working towards?  

Ryerson Rugby competes in the Scholars League against schools from around Ontario.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Rugby? 

“An opportunity to continue or start playing rugby and meet new people in a team environment,” according to Robert Brohman, the coach of Ryerson Rugby.

Ryerson Squash

How do you join Ryerson Squash? 

Any community member can try out to become a Ryerson Squash player. The squash-specific criteria for the tryout will vary depending on the level of skill needed by the team around the time of the tryout.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The squash courts in the RAC. 

Why should a student want to join your Ryerson Squash?  

“If anyone has a passion for squash and enjoys the competitive nature of sports, this is the right place to be,” said Sameh Elgamel, a member of Ryerson Squash.

Ryerson Men’s Ultimate Frisbee

How do you join Ryerson Men’s Ultimate Frisbee?

They have open tryouts at the beginning of every year and encourage those who have played ultimate frisbee before to come out and work hard at tryouts because anything can happen!

In a regular year, where would you be located?

“Normally, we’ve practiced in North York or at Riverdale Park on the other side of the DVP, but we’ve also been known to throw in the [Kerr] Quad during the week mid-day informally,”  said Colin Darling, Ryerson Men’s Ultimate Frisbee president.

Is there an event/tournament that you’re is working toward?

The club usually competes in three tournaments in the fall which comprises the entirety of the season. The first is in late September in Burlington and is called Steeltown. The next is Easterns in Belleville and the goal in these tournaments is to qualify to be in the top eight at nationals in mid-fall, which normally takes place in Brampton or Ottawa. This past year, the club qualified for the top eight for the first time in their history and came 2nd in the country, beating teams at Queen’s and McGill along the way.

Why should a student want to join Ultimate Frisbee?

“A student should want to join our team to stay fit, to grow their love of the sport of ultimate and to compete against some of the top ultimate players in the country,” said a team representative. 

Ryerson Women’s Ultimate Frisbee

How do you join Ryerson Women’s Ultimate Frisbee?

Any Ryerson student can join.  Normally, they host tryouts in early September, practice twice a week from September to mid-October and compete at three regional tournaments.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

They usually practice at a field near Ryerson, but are currently practicing at Earlscourt Park.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you would be working towards?

They compete at three tournaments in their fall season: Steeltown (regional tournament), Canadian Eastern University Ultimate Championships and Canadian University Ultimate Championships.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Women’s Ultimate Frisbee?

“We provide a good mix of competitive play and development. Since we’re not competing at any tournaments this season, we’re looking to connect to any Ryerson students interested in playing ultimate,” said Kayla Zhu, president of Ryerson Women’s Ultimate Frisbee.

Ryerson Table Tennis

How do you join Ryerson Table Tennis?

Table Tennis is available for anyone to join. They encourage players to follow them on their Facebook group to stay updated on tournaments as well as coaching opportunities.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

The team hosts drop-ins for table tennis every week. Last winter semester they hosted drop-ins on Wednesdays from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. at the RAC.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament that you’re working toward?

The tournaments usually take place in the winter semester. Ryerson competes in the Great Lakes Regional Division Tournament of the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Table Tennis?

“For an entertaining and relaxing experience that can also get very competitive,” said Daner Carita, vice-president of the Table Tennis Club.

Ryerson Track and Field

How do you join Ryerson Track and Field?

Anyone can join, but not all athletes are selected to compete at OUAs. 

In a regular year, where would you be located?

Training is done at the indoor facility at York University.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament that you’re working toward?

The goal is to win the OUA Championships in mid-February.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Track and Field?
“A student should join Track and Field for a great way to stay in shape,” said a Track and Field representative. 

Ryerson Wrestling

How do you join Ryerson Wrestling Club?

Wrestling is open to all students that are “ready to put in the commitment,” according to Coach John Cho. The club practices three times a week.

In a regular year, where would you be located?

Wrestling practices take place off-campus at One Danforth Avenue.

In a regular year, is there an event/tournament you would be working towards?

Ryerson hosts a November tournament at Kerr Hall. In January, Ryerson participates in typically one tournament every week. The team then competes in the OUA Championships, followed by the U SPORTS Championships.

Why should a student want to join Ryerson Wrestling?

“Wrestling gives good athletes new opportunities and is a difficult but rewarding sport,” said Coach Cho.

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