While we may not have football games broadcast on ESPN or athletic gear sold in every sporting goods store in the state, athletics are a big deal here at Alma College. The reality is, when coming to a Division III school you don’t expect sports to be on par with those of the Division I teams. Those schools have the resources to make a big deal of their sports – recruiting, marketing, runtime on large TV networks and radio shows.
When asked why they chose a D3 school over a D1 school, most Alma athletes’ answers were “academics.”
Marie Zill, a junior education major from Chelsea, Mich., said “I came to Alma instead of a D1 school because I knew that academics was an important part of my life. Softball has become a release of energy for me rather than something I stress out about. Deciding to come here is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. At Alma I have been given the opportunity to discover my passions and get to know my professors rather than being constantly being on the road for a sport and simply being a number. Being close to my professors has made softball less stressful because most of my professors understand when I have to leave for a game and are willing to catch me up.”
As far as sports are concerned on campus, seasons are beginning to come to a close for most of the fall sports teams. Football has two games remaining – Nov. 9 at Kalamazoo College and Nov. 16 at home at 1 p.m. Men’s and Women’s Cross Country will be wrapping up their seasons with the Great Lakes Regional meet on Nov. 16 hosted by Calvin College, and finally the Nov. 23, D-III National Championships at Hanover College. The golf teams finished up in October with the women’s team taking 5th place overall at the MIAA championships and men’s taking a 5th place overall at its 8th and final Jamboree on Oct. 7 hosted by Calvin College. Men’s soccer ended its season with a 1-2 loss against Hope College to make their overall record 9-8-1 and women’s soccer will play in the MIAA Semi-finals today (11/7) against Hope right here in Alma at Scotland Yard. (Check our social media for updates on that!) Last but not least, volleyball finished on Nov. 1with an away match at Trine University, where the team had an end record of 13-14.
Cross Country runner Talon Morris ’14 reflected on the season with a vivid memory of the weather conditions: “Even though our past two races, (The Oberlin Invite and The MIAA Championships at Hope College) have had rain, mud (a lot of mud), and spongy/soft running conditions, we’ve managed to get our fastest times at them. We definitely look forward to running a dry course at The Regional Meet at Calvin College on Nov. 16.”
Now that those sports are ending and most practices are heading indoors, a whole bunch of winter sports have begun practicing and games/competitions will be beginning shortly. The sports you have to look forward to are men’s and women’s basketball, cheerleading, swimming & diving, women’s bowling and wrestling.
All of these teams have begun practicing and wrestling has even had its first match; The Alma vs. Scots wrestle-off. Casimer Strzynski ’15, a wrestler from Ludington, Mich., has a good feeling about this season. “Over the past two years the team has turned a lot of heads—now everyone is watching and we’re excited to prove ourselves,” said Strzynski. “Each year we have taken leaps and bounds in the talent category; now we just have to perform. If we can perform above expectations like we have the past two years, the things the wrestling team will do this year will shock you.”
Alma may not be a part of the Big 10 or have football players regularly heading off to the NFL, but we have athletes with passion and heart for both the game and for academics. We have team players, who are well-rounded and involved in other things besides athletics. Our athletes are able to work as Resident Assistants, participate in Greek Life and honors societies, work as tutors and in other jobs on campus, and so much more.
If frequenting sporting events isn’t exactly your thing, I suggest getting out and giving it a try. Sporting events are always a good time here at Alma because they bring together people from all different organizations and groups on campus. Who knows, you might even get to see Scotty shake his tailfeather!