For many college athletes, the start of a new school year means the start of a new sports season. There are thousands of student-athletes in the country, who put in a lot of effort and hard work to do well both in the classroom and on the field. While most sports fans know the best teams and biggest names in college football, there are many other teams and players that also get national recognition. Although there are dozens of sports taking place in the fall season, this article will feature just a few of the sports that will be played over the next couple of months.
Men's Soccer: Every fall, hundreds of teams from dozens of conferences compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Much like in basketball, the college soccer season ends with a major tournament. The winner of this tournament wins the College Cup and is the national champion. The tournament has taken place since 1959. Last year, Maryland won the tournament for the second time in four years. Maryland players trained very hard and were extremely determined. Other recent College Cup winners include Wake Forest in 2007 and the University of California-Santa Barbara in 2006.
Women's Soccer: Women's soccer teams also compete for a spot in the year-end NCAA Tournament and a chance to win the College Cup. The women's tournament has been taking place since 1982 and North Carolina has by far been the most dominating team. The Tar Heels have won 19 College Cups in just 27 years! Some of the most famous women's soccer players went to North Carolina, including Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Lindsay Tarpley.
Field Hockey: Field hockey is another women's fall sport that requires a tremendous amount of dedication and teamwork. Similar to ice hockey, field hockey players pass the ball to their teammates and try to score goals on the opposing team. Endurance is particularly important, as players are running around the field for almost the entire game. In order to be prepared for the season, field hockey athletes have to work hard. The Atlantic Coast Conference has had some very strong field hockey programs in recent years. Maryland has won three out of the last four NCAA Championships and Wake Forest won three in a row from 2002-2004. This year, Virginia is considered the country's top team.
Cross-Country: This is one of the most challenging sports. Cross-country requires athletes to race long distances, usually between four and seven miles! Runners have to be in great shape and practice often so that they have the endurance to run hard for the entire length of the race. The best men's college cross-country team in recent years has been Oregon, which won the last two NCAA Championships. Women's cross-country is equally competitive. Although Washington won last year's title, Stanford won three in a row between 2005 and 2007.
These are just a few of the sports that will be played on college campuses all over the country this fall. What they all have in common is that every student-athlete works hard and trains constantly to remain competitive throughout the long season.
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