Diversified talent is one of the many characteristics that defines UR. Before I matriculated, I always believed the natural sciences was this school’s greatest strength, but after a year of getting to know my peers and participating in various events, I learned that the depth of skill far exceeds those preconceived boundaries.

The political science and economics departments here compete in the national rankings of other prestigious universities, the Eastman Music school rivals some of the greatest conservatories in the nation and the Simon Business school ranks high among other lauded business institutions.

However, another great aspect that I was oblivious to was the sports program. Being a member of Division III doesn’t always stand out in the mind of a new student. There’s usually the thought that if the game is not aired on ESPN, ABC or NBC, then the teams must be mediocre. But that is hardly the case.

Take for instance the men’s soccer team. Winners of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Upstate New York title for the past five years, not to mention back-to-back Flower City Championship titles.

Then there’s the basketball squad. A group of gifted, young athletes whose talent took them all the way to the Final Four tournament, the third one in the last four years.

The list goes on to include individual achievements. During the 2004-05 season, 51 players were honored for the skills in their district, among the region and the nation. Nine of them went on to be All-American.

And then there are those who not only posses skill on the field, but off it as well. A total of 32 players were honored for their academic achievement in the classrooms through the 2004-05 season. Seven were listed in ESPN The Magazine’s College Division Academic All-Americans and ten athletes made Phi Beta Kappa. Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Field Hockey and Lacrosse were honored for their high level of scholarly success.

Overall, the teams at UR exude a level of performance beyond the average talent of a Division III school. It is important to recognize this aspect as one of the many gems that the university possesses.

In hindsight, Rochester acts as a multifaceted institution geared toward achieving excellence in the fields of academia, athletics and extra-curricular. It is an institution that harbors talent from around the globe cultivating and developing those skills to a professional level.

The athletic teams here fall under that category of excellence. Recognition from throughout the nation gives testament to the degree of talent and it is within that recognition that we as students support our athletes with cheers from the stands.

Serafini can be reached at jserafini@campustimes.org.

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