WAC is Back in Utah County

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It’s always a big deal when BYU takes on an in-state rival like the Utes or the Aggies, but Cougar fans may have to start thinking a little more about another local team starting next year.

Utah Valley University in Orem is ready to take their sports program to the next level as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. UVU is officially the conference’s newest member and will make the move starting 2013.

UVU Athletic Director Michael Jacobsen says this brings more than just sports opponents, but credibility as well.

“The WAC has a great brand,” said Jacobsen. “They’ve been around for a long time – over 50 years. There’s a huge footprint in the state of Utah in that brand.”

Jacobsen says he hopes the move to a bigger conference will improve non-conference competition as well, specifically when it comes to playing BYU more often.

“We’re four miles apart,” said Jacobsen.  “You know, we could create a great rivalry between the two schools.”

The women’s soccer team is one of many UVU teams that dominate their current Great West Conference. The move to the WAC will be a big step up, but it is one they say they are ready to take.

“We’ve talked about being the undisputed conference champions,” said sophomore defender Lexi Robison.  “We’ve won the championship every year that we’ve been in the Great West.”

The soccer team lost a close game to BYU this season 1-0 and players say the foundation for a BYU rivalry is already there.

“Since we played them this year I think it is going to be a rivalry,” said junior defender Lexi Dunn. “Just because it was such a close game and we know we can compete with them.”

The move to the WAC doesn’t necessarily mean UVU will have a football team. Jacobsen says he hasn’t ruled out the possibility, but for now they will stick with basketball, soccer, baseball, and others.

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