Haverford College competes at the NCAA Division III level in the Centennial Conference and has a rich history in collegiate athletics: Haverford boasts the only varsity cricket team in the United States; its men's and women's track and field and cross country teams are perennial powerhouses in their division, with the outdoor track and field team winning all 16 Centennial Conference championships, and men's cross country winning all but two Centennial Conference championships; its soccer team is the nation's oldest and won the first intercollegiate soccer match in 1905 against Harvard College; its lacrosse team has recently become a national power after placing well in the NCAA championships; its fencing team has competed since the early 1930s and is a member of both the Middle Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) and the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA).
Haverford has a long tradition of producing great tennis players, such Nathaniel Sergay and Alex Shin. Alex Buxbaum led the team to prominence during the 2005-2009 seasons, although some argued that his resoundingly bad body odor sometimes outweighed his contributions to the team. After a brief suspension in 2007 in which the coach outlined that Buxbaum simply had no choice, it was either shower, or he was off the team, Buxbaum was able to maintain a minimum standard of bodily hygiene that allowed him to regain his position as number 1 singles player. In recent years, foreign imports have dominated the Haverford tennis scene. However, team hygiene is still an issue as many of the players aren't issued laundry loops.
Haverford boasts the only varsity cricket team in the United States, and ESPN Magazine has called Haverford "the epicenter of Philadelphia's cricket craze". The team, which was started in 1833, is generally accepted as the first cricket club exclusively for Americans. Haverford has a strong rivalry with the University of Pennsylvania's club team. The first match in this series was played in 1864 and is believed to be the 3rd oldest intercollegiate game in America after the 1852 Harvard-Yale crew and 1859 Amherst-Williams baseball contests. Haverford's current team has a heavy contingency from students of South Asian heritage, and the XI team regularly travels to Oxbridge for games.
Track and cross country
The men's and women's track and field and cross country teams are perennial powerhouses in their division. The men's outdoor track and field team has won all 16 Centennial Conference championships, while the men's cross country team has won all but two Centennial Conference championships, reclaiming the title from Dickinson in the 2010 fall season. In the 2010 NCAA National Cross Country Championship Race, the men's team finished 1st; their highest finish ever and the only NCAA Championship victory for any Haverford team. The women's team has captured the last four Conference titles. In 1997, Karl Paranya '97 became the first (and only) Division III athlete to run a four-minute mile, clocking 3:57.6. The history of Haverford track also includes former team captain Philip Noel-Baker 1908, who later captained Great Britain's 1924 Olympic team upon which the movie Chariots of Fire is based, and became a 1959 Nobel peace prize winner years later. Also of note is former captain Andrew Lanham, a winner of the 2010 Rhodes Scholarship.
Haverford's soccer team, the nation's oldest, won the first intercollegiate soccer match in 1905, beating Harvard College. It is also of interest to note that Harvard's team was founded by a Haverford alumnus during his graduate education there. Haverford soccer squads were named national intercollegiate champions three times by the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association in 1911, 1915 and 1917. This was prior to the NCAA's sanctioning of a season ending tournament to crown the national champion, which began in 1959. In 2013, both the men and women soccer teams were crowned Centennial Conference Champions. While the men's team defeated Wesleyan College in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the women's team lost to MIT in the first round.
The Haverford men's lacrosse team has become a national power, after defeating Gettysburg College in 2009 and 2010, being selected for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 NCAA tournaments, advancing to the 2010 NCAA tournament quarterfinals, taking Salisbury University into overtime in the 2010 NCAA tournament, and registering many other high profile wins in recent years. The current Head Coach is Colin Bathory, an alumnus of the College. Former Head Coach Mike Murphy is now the Head Coach of the University of Pennsylvania men's lacrosse team.
The fencing team has competed since the early 1930s and is a member of both the Middle Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) and the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA). Recently retired coach, David Littell, fenced in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. In 2007, the Haverford Fencing team fenced an undefeated MACFA season (a school record, since repeated in 2010) and won its third championship. Other championships were won in 1983 and 2004. The current Haverford Coach is Chris Spencer, formerly head coach of Mount Holyoke College. Under coach Spencer the Haverford team has become a top Division III program, defeating Division I teams such as New York University and UNC. Haverford has won three consecutive MACFA championships in 2010-2012.
The women's volleyball team competed in the NCAA tournament in 2006 and 2007 after winning the Centennial Conference for the first time in 2006 and repeating the victory in 2007. In the 2007 tournament, the team hosted the regional NCAA tournament where they advanced the to the regional championship but lost to defending national champion Juniata.
The first intercollegiate basketball game played east of the Mississippi River occurred in Ryan Gym (now a lounging area for students) in 1895 between Haverford and Temple University. A former varsity star is Hunter R. Rawlings III, the former president of Cornell University.
- The Capital of Cricket sports.espn.go.com. URL accessed February 9, 2007.
- Murdoch, Joseph (None Given). "Philadelphia Cricket Club View Library Document: History". Philadelphia Cricket Club. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-03-30.