All-Athlete Welcome Back Inspires Student-Athletes, Builds Community
LA JOLLA, Calif. – The University of California San Diego athletic department hosted its annual All-Athlete Welcome Back in RIMAC Arena on Monday night. The event brought around 600 student-athletes to the newly renovated arena.
Following an introduction from Athletic Director Earl Edwards, the athletes took their yearly group picture in the new RIMAC stands. For the freshmen, it was a special moment that commemorated their first time with all of the UC San Diego athletes together.
“I thought it was awesome being able to get all the athletes in one place,” said freshman softball player Kinley Kyro. “We’re getting to build that sense of community.”
Another highlight of the evening was the opportunity to hear from Paul “The Ultimate” Vaden. The retired boxer showed his short film Vaden Versus, which chronicles how he overcame a series of deaths inside and outside the ring that significantly impacted his life. After the film, the athletes had the chance to hear Vaden elaborate on his experiences.
“We’ve never had a guest speaker like that come, so it was a different perspective,” Chris Hansen of the men’s basketball team said about Vaden. “It was cool to have someone who’s been through it all come to impart his wisdom on us. It was a special opportunity that we don’t get the chance to have every day.”
Kyro agreed that the chance to hear from Vaden and see Vaden Versus at the All-Athlete Welcome Back was unforgettable.
“The video was awesome,” Kyro said. “I enjoyed watching his story, seeing how he overcame what occurred and how that can apply to us young athletes in the program."
The All-Athlete Welcome Back is part of a busy week for the student-athletes. With the sense of community among the athletes and the inspiration of Vaden in the back of their minds, they will start the 2018-19 academic year on Thursday.
About UC San Diego Athletics With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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