Wrestler Ladd earns All-American status

By John Durga

Staff Writer

A national title is the highest level of victory a college athlete can achieve. Winning this puts them at the very pinnacle of their competition. Brendan Ladd (’20) gave himself the opportunity to be the best of the best. Entering the national tournament Ladd was 33-5 on his season. This was one win short of the Alma College record for wins in a season.  

Ladd started his nationals debut keeping the audience on the edge of their seats winning a 6-5 decision in the very last seconds of the match. He continued on to defeat the sixth and third seeded wrestlers in his following matches.  

“Ladd does a really good job capitalizing on situations,” coach Jeremiah Tobias said. “He doesn’t worry so much about the small things.”  

After his wins at the national tournament Ladd became the winningest wrestler in a single season. Along with that record he became the fifth All-American in Alma College wrestling history.  

Ladd entered the tournament unseeded but that did not seem to bother him.  

“It gives me a chance to get my first match out of the way and get the nerves out,” Ladd said. “It allows me to get the feeling of the atmosphere and just be ready for the next one.”  

Ladd started in the preliminary round, defeating Delaware Valley’s Ambacher in a 6-5 decision after a takedown with just seconds remaining. He won a 11-3 major decision over Johnsons & Wales’ Ferinde and a 15-8 decision over Elmhurst’s Mcauliffe.  

The winners moved on, earning All-American status. Ladd lost by pinfall to finalist Ben Brisman of Ithaca, then fell in a rematch with Millikin’s Chris Williams in a 4-2 sudden victory.  

Ladd ended the day with a chance at fifth place, but dropped his final match of the season to the two-seed in the 141-pound bracket, giving him sixth.  

As a sophomore Ladd is the top wrestler for Alma. He will continue to improve and lead the wrestling program to new heights.   

Scots track gets six firsts at Aquinas meet

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Alma College Track and Field had a very successful outing at the Aquinas Little Meet on Feb. 9. The Scots had six individual wins at the meet including three for the men and women respectively. This showing also earned two Scots MIAA Player of the Week honors.

Torres Ingraham (’21) was honored after he claimed two of the three victories for the men, doing so in the 60-meter dash, finishing in 7.12 seconds, and the long jump, landing in the pit at 6.76 meters. Ingraham reset the Alma College 60-meter dash with his 7.12 second time.

“Being player of the week as a freshman is such a blessing. It really shows my hard work towards my craft,” said Ingraham. “Despite me already holding the record in the 60, I plan to attempt to break my own record every time I step on the track to compete.”

“It does make me feel a little special,” said Blaire Showers (’19). “Last year alum Kaitlyn Arnold received it a few times, but because she had gotten it multiple weeks in a row and she was such an outstanding runner, I never really stopped to think about how neat of an award it is to get.”

Showers was named MIAA Player of the Week for leading the Scots to a victory in the 4×400-meter relay, running her 400-meter portion in just 65 seconds, while also taking the runner-up spot in the 800-meter run. Her 65 second time was just shy of her personal best.

“We gained some confidence tonight that what we’re doing in practice is paying off,” said head coach Matt Chovanec “We have two weeks until the conference indoor meet and our focus will continue to be about getting better every day.”

The Scots will look to continue their success as their season carries on towards the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 24 starting at 9:30 AM.

“I plan on continuing to get better by keeping up with my regular training regimen of running and lifting,” said Showers. “I will possibly be bumping up my weekly mileage going into the spring time.”

Wrestling coach inducted in to the National Hall of Fame

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Alma College Wrestling is a decades old program that has seen vast amounts of success through the last 10 years. Many of those years were coached under Alma wresling coach Todd Hibbs.  

Hibbs built Alma’s wrestling program up to a frequent top 25 team in division three peaking in sixth in 2016 according to d3wrestle.com. 

Hibbs also molded his team in to an elite program academically. The Scots were recognized three times by the NWCA with a team grade-point average of 3.5 or higher under his coaching.  

As a former assistant coach under Coach Hibbs I was able to observe the ins and outs of building and maintaining a successful program,” said Jeremiah Tobias. “I feel fortunate to have him as a mentor and friend.” 

Throughout his coaching career, Hibbs posted a dual-meet record of 106-53-2, only posting a losing record in his first season at Alma College. 

“Coach Hibbs was able to truly put himself in his athletes’ shoes,” said Taylor Mcphail (’18). “Having been a Division 3 wrestler, he knew what I was going through in my highest and lowest points of the season.” 

Hibbs also played a big part in Alma College’s athletic facilities advancing. He worked with the Alma College Advancement Office raising nearly $4 million for the new additions to Alma College’s athletic facilities. It included the Hatcher Wrestling Room, the Sherman Strength and Conditioning Facility, a new area for the cheerleading and STUNT team, as well as new coaching offices and a coaches’ locker room. 

“Coach Hibbs has spent many years supporting the sport of wrestling through his coaching, writing and announcing,” said Tobias. 

“He has helped rebuild and re-establish a program here in the state of Michigan. By doing this he was able to provide guidance for many young men as they transitioned into adult hood.” 

Coach Hibbs was a success at other schools as well. His career at Mount Union College produced two NCAA Division three All-Americans as well as three Ohio Athletic Conference Championships. He was also inducted in to Mount Union’s Hall of Fame. 

Hibbs has coached at conference rival Olivet College. He rebuilt their program to a top ten team nationally. He was also a candidate for NCAA Coach of the Year in 2006 when his team notched a 16-1-1 record. He was eventually promoted to the vice president for institutional development from 2009-2011. 

Hibbs is to be inducted in to Michigan Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and has been awarded the Lifetime Service Award. He has received numerous other awards from the individual colleges that he has coached at. 

“Regardless of coach being in the hall of fame,” said Mcphail, “he will always be on my personal wall of fame of people I want to be like.” 

For those wanting to attend the ceremony it will occur during the chapter’s annual banquet at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor on May 20. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Men’s basketball looks to team leaders

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Alma College basketball players are off to a 6-12 start, but a lot of thought centers around close losses that easily could have been turned into victories.  

Three of the setbacks were lost by less than five points. That, along with injuries, have plagued the Scots, who only have five seniors on the roster. Those seniors have offered leadership early in the season. 

In their last game, Rob Holmes (’19) ended with a career high 26 points as well as a personal best five three pointers. Kevin Scheibert (’19) also had a good outing posting 16 points and seven rebounds.  

These seniors have been performing at a high level this entire season. 

“Scheibert and Holmes have really stepped up their play the last five games,” said Head Basketball Coach Sam Hargraves. “They’re playing with the urgency and toughness you love and expect from seniors whose careers are nearing the end.” 

Scheibert has been averaging 14 points and 8.3 rebounds through conference play, as well as contributing on defense –almost a steal per game.  

Hargraves notes Scheibert as a leader and the team’s own personal hype man going by the nickname “K-Fly.” Scheibert also led his team to a win against conference Adrian College with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

“Senior year makes every game mean a little bit more to me,” said Scheibert. “A lot of times on the road I have to remind myself that this is probably the last time I’ll be playing in this gym. Home games are definitely ones that I try to soak in as much as possible. There’s nothing like playing in Art Smith with a rowdy student section.” 

Holmes has also been good for the Scots in his senior season. He is averaging almost four rebounds and 12 points. He has been an on and off starter for the Scots’ this season and is out performing his previous contributions significantly. 

The seniors aren’t the only ones contributing to the Scots success.  

Ryan Stevens (’21) dished out his 100th assist on the season against Adrian College. Kevin Gamble (’20) has also performed well averaging 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. 

The Scots next home game falls on Feb. 3, where they will take on the fifth ranked Albion College in a conference match up. 

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Spring sports start season training

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Spring is just around the corner and athletes that compete in spring athletics are ramping up and getting ready.  

Alma College has baseball, lacrosse, tennis, track and softball teams competing in the spring. With over 100 athletes preparing strategies, what is important to each individual varies.  

The college recently added a brand new weight room its staff strength and conditioning coaches that are available to it’s athletes every day during the work week. These resources give preparing athletes a lot of opportunity and guidance to be as ready as possible for their upcoming season.  

“Fall sports are all kind of jealous,” said Tyler Mrock (’19).  “We spend the summer at home on our own lifting at hometown gyms while spring sports get to take advantage of all the things Alma has to offer.” 

Preparing does not just begin with the new year for spring sport athletes. All are on these athletes are on training programs in the fall that are administered by their coaches. Many of those same athletes are also in the weight room and watching film to learn their game.  

“Our guys have been following a pretty specific plan since our fall practice ended, and should be prepared for these final  five weeks or so before we open up our 2018 season. We are eager for practice to start and get our guys competing for opportunities,” said Jake Sabol, head baseball coach.  

Some especially enthused athletes also take it upon themselves to take on extra practice outside the team attempting to gain an edge.  

“I began training for this season in June,” said Connor Alley (’20). “To be in peak shape you have to not only work hard but also not take time off and fall backward.”  

One of a coach’s main tasks is to decide what practice and training techniques will help the team be best prepared. This varies between sports and coaches.  

“The most important thing that I do to prepare myself for a new season is to make sure that I have the right mindset. Meaning I am ready to lead by example, I am ready to put the players and our goals first, and put everything else on a shelf,” said Adam Nycz, assistant men’s lacrosse coach.  

As spring continues to get closer, the athletes and coaches will continue to prepare for warmer weather and the schedule to begin. 

“We were able to train at four different facilities while we were down there (in Flordia for training) and we even had the chance to do an ocean swim by the pier in Deerfield Beach,” explained Jason Lintjer, head swim and dive coach.

Football hires grad as head coach

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Jason Couch, an Alma College graduate who previously led the football program at Romeo High School since 2003, is the new Scot head Coach.  

“It is my honor to return to Alma College as the head football coach.” said Couch. Couch played for the Scots from 1993-1996. 

As and offesive lineman he earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First Team accolades and was named an honorable mention All-American. As well he was given the Al Borgman Award for being best offensive lineman.  

Under previous head football coach Greg Psconda, the Scots held a 20-40 record over six seasons. The squad posted a 4-6 record last season.  

“We hate see coach P (Psconda) go,” said Dylan Zaborowski (’18). “The seniors spent our entire career with him but I hope the team finds success under a new coach.”  

In his 15- year tenure at Romeo High School, Couch posted one state championship as well as 14 playoff appearances. He also was voted the Detroit Lions Coach of the Year and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Division 1 Football Coach of the Year when he lead Romeo to the state title in 2015.  

“We are thrilled to welcome coach Couch and his family back to Alma,” said athletic director Steven Rackley. 

“He has displayed great success at the highest level of high school football in Michigan and he has all the qualities we looked for in our next head football coach.”  

The Scots football team begins their season when they travel to Berea, Ohio, to face Baldwin Wallace University on Aug.. 30. Their first home bout is on Sept. 8  when the Scots will face non-conference opponent Manchester University.  

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