As the 2017-2018 school year rings in, the University of Guam’s athletic program is wasting no time in preparing for upcoming sports events.
This marks the second official year of the Triton Athletics program since disbanding more than 16 years ago.
Doug Palmer, UOG athletic director, is excited for what this school year has to offer.
He said there are many things to look forward to such as new basketball players from off-island, a new coach for the volleyball team, and the women’s soccer team defending their first championship.
However, the University’s athletic program still faces some challenges. The University was able to find some funds for the teams to give partial tuition scholarships and this will hopefully help improve the quality and quantity of our players and help retain them for the future,” Palmer said. “We are trying to build a solid sports club program out of our UOG recreation program and hopefully from the sport clubs we build more varsity programs.”
Also, Palmer said fundraising overall could be improved by making the program more attractive for sponsors and advertisers.
Additionally, Palmer explained that many of the coaches have other full time jobs, since coaching for UOG is only part-time.
According to Palmer, the program does suffer at times since almost everyone working in the athletic program has other obligations and responsibilities. The program, however, makes use of student coaches who are still fresh athletes and wanting to be professional sport coaches in the near future.
Nevertheless, Palmer said UOG is one of the few places in the world that a Sport Club player can play in the same leagues that the varsity teams play in. “Take advantage of what we have at UOG and the Island of Guam,” Palmer said. The sports currently offered are men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and both men and women’s soccer.
Men’s basketball looking to a successful season
The University of Guam’s men’s basketball team was launched in Spring 2016 after an almost 15-year hiatus. This will be their official second season and the team is making a run for a championship title.
Brent Tipton, UOG men’s basketball head coach, is excited to incorporate new strategies to lead his team to victory. “We learned valuable lessons through our experiences last season and want to do everything possible to put each of the players in a position to be successful,” Tipton said.
There are three areas Tipton plans to develop this year with his team. The first is what he refers to as an “offensive identity.” “We want to get out and run in transition, have great ball and player movement in our motion offense and provide a lot of energy on the court or on the bench,” Tipton said.
The second area is what Tipton calls “defensive identity.” “We want to get up and defend 94 feet from the basket and be very physical in our half-court defense by aggressive pressure on the ball and great help defense behind the ball,” Tipton said.
Tipton refers to the third area as “end of the year.” Commitment and lots of practice will help the team form the best versions of themselves.
Team members are also excited and determined to be victorious this season. Andrew Carlos, point guard, has been playing since the team relaunched. “I feel like the team is coming along,” Carlos said. “We finally have the size we lacked in the past seasons.” “Our goal is trying to compete for the top spots and eventually make it to the playoffs”.
Rafael Sablan, shooting guard, also shares similar sentiments about the season. “We all bring something different to this team so everyone is going to be learning along the way,” Sablan said. “Our goal this season is to take one game at a time and make some noise this year.”