‘A volleyball battle of mud’

UTA students dressed in pink pose for photo at Oozeball tournament

More than 400 muddy students and hundreds more spectators gathered on the west side of campus to play in or watch Oozeball, UTA’s sloppiest, muddiest tradition.

Haley Wehr stood on the sidelines trying to stay clean and avoid the mud. She said she wanted to support her fellow members in the student organization Freshmen Leaders on Campus.

“It’s definitely fun to watch my friends play, even though I hope I don’t get muddy,” said Wehr, who brought festive posters to the event to cheer on her friends.

UTA student Landen Schlattweiler plays in Oozeball tournament
Landen Schlattweiler

For those playing, however, not getting muddy simply wasn’t an option. Shirts dripped, shoes squished and mud splattered onto every surface. The Muddy Oozers—dressed in matching neon pink—was a team of UTA freshmen who met on Snapchat looking for other Mavericks to form a team.

“We wore the bright pink specifically to stand out, and to see whether by the end of tournament anyone could see any pink on our shirts anymore,” said Landen Schlattweiler, an aerospace engineering major. “We came to play fast, play hard and give it all we’ve got.”

Caked with mud from head to toe, the volleyball players fought their way through 10 mud pits in a competition to see who would be crowned champion. Esmeralda Lepe-Gonzalez, a UTA sophomore studying nursing, said she was playing Oozeball for her second year in a row.

UTA student Esmeralda Lepe-Gonzalez plays Oozeball
Esmeralda Lepe-Gonzalez

“I feel like I have all the mud on me,” she said. “It’s fun to come together with my sorority sisters and unite as a team, whether we win or lose.”

The popular campus-wide mud volleyball tournament first started at UTA in 1989. Josh Hale, assistant director for sport programs, said without student workers from the Department of Campus Recreation, the event would not be possible.

“They are out here officiating games, updating brackets and taking care of each game’s scores,” Hale said. “It’s great to see everyone come out for an afternoon of fun and compete in a volleyball battle of the mud. It’s a UTA tradition unlike any other.”

UTA students play the game of oozeball , volleyball played in mud. A player dives into the mud, causing it to splash all around.

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