Varsity faves

How ’bout that, sports fans? Nothing succeeds like success, we guess. We asked a random sample of undergraduate Pennsylvanians what their favorite varsity sports teams were, and — big surprise! — the Quaker men’s basketball and football squads topped the list of fan faves.

But with 29 varsity teams — 15 men’s squads and 14 women’s teams — our students need not be one-sport devotees. So we asked our respondents to name another favorite varsity squad. To our surprise, one respondent – Brian Belkin (W’03) – followed two of the less-hyped but most popular amateur team sports around today, lacrosse and soccer.

While six of our respondents named both of the big two sports as their favorites, everyone else had a favorite sport outside that elite group. Coming in third behind football and basketball was the Quaker women’s basketball squad — no doubt a reflection of the sport’s growing popularity overall, of the Penn team’s improving fortunes and of the enthusiasm generated by the recently completed Women’s Final Four in Philadelphia.

And while most of the teams our respondents followed were men’s teams, the women’s sports taken as a whole had a respectable following, not all of it female. And there were a few teams we couldn’t categorize by gender, as our respondents didn’t specify whether they followed the men’s or women’s teams in soccer and lacrosse. Maybe it’s because they followed both.

The final tally for each team was:

Men’s basketball: 11

Football: 8

Women’s basketball: 3

Lacrosse: 2

Men’s crew: 1

Men’s fencing: 1

Soccer: 1

Women’s squash: 1

Women’s swimming: 1

Women’s tennis: 1

Our thanks to all our respondents:

Brian Belkin, Wharton ’03

Julie Bookbinder, Engineering ’02

Litt Chen, Engineering ’03

Ryan Cheney, College ’03

Lynn Corney, College ’00

Arthur daSilva, Wharton ’01

Matt DeNardo, Engineering ’03

Jonas Fang, Engineering ’03

Jason Gavenonis, College ’03

Bob Kennedy, College ’02

Ellen King, College ’01

Alexandra Mastro, College ’03

Chris Rubino, College ’03

Lisa Toppin, Engineering ’03

Teresa Wong, Wharton ’02

—Katie Alex



Originally published on April 20, 2000