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Ancient Heroism Meets Modern Day Championships At the University of West Florida

By Pamela Sosnowski

Those participating in sports at University of West Florida are not just athletes; they're Argonauts. "According to Greek legend, the mythic crew of the ship Argo under the leadership of Jason embarked on a long, perilous voyage to capture and retrieve the golden fleece," explains Dave Scott, the Athletic Director. "These renowned heroes were called Argonauts. In 1967, the UWF student body selected the heroic Argonauts as their mascot, launching their own voyage of excellence that, to this day, continues to push boundaries." Some of the values fostered by the school's Argonauts include integrity, academic success, sportsmanship, and character.

Since its founding nearly 50 years ago, the UWF Athletics department has earned 84 Gulf South Conference championships, and the baseball, men's golf, women's soccer, softball and men's tennis teams have won eight combined national championships. Seven men's teams and eight women's teams compete at the university. "A number of teams are having strong success right now with men's golf currently ranked number one in the country; women's golf, swimming, and diving are each ranked ninth as well," says Scott.

Whether you're a UWF alumni or not, anyone is welcome to become a member of the Argonaut Athletic Club, a campus organization that provides philanthropic and scholarship support to the college's student athletes. Individuals, families, and corporations are among the club's members, and their annual donations support 15 competing teams. In addition to supporting the athletic programs, membership also boosts attendance at sporting events and drives school spirit.

Making attendance free for all UWF students to attend sporting events also helps fill seats and bleachers at games. "We also have a program in place that rewards students for attending games," says Scott. "The Argo Armada Rewards application is a geo-location mobile app that rewards University of West Florida students for attending games. Students can check-in at events using the app to gain points and earn prizes and discounts from local businesses. The app is available to all Argonaut supporters, but only UWF students are eligible to receive prizes."

On February 27, the UWF softball team will host its annual Strike-Out Cancer game to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the American Cancer Society, and the first 300 fans will receive a free UWF Go Fight For the Cure t-shirt.

Appropriately, the official mascot for UWF is Argie the Argonaut, a tall blue figure dressed like an ancient gladiator that promotes the teams, gets the crowds stoked, and cheers on the players. It's this fighting spirit and sense of community that is sure to bring continued success to the UWF Argonauts.

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