Scots Women’s Swim and Dive receive All-American Academic Honors




On Feb 3 the Alma College Women’s Swim and Dive team was named as a CSCAA All-American team for the Fall 2022 semester with a combined GPA of 3.6.

“I am so proud of the women’s team in and out of the pool, their ability to balance academics, practice, competitions and still ha ve time to have fun . . . I have the utmost respect for all the women and their hard work” said Nick Polzin head coach of the swim and dive team.

Not only did the women get the highest academic honors nationally in the swim circuit, they also had the highest GPA in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), where they compete.

“It’s never easy being a student athlete at a Division 3 level,” said Grace Ludema (26’). “I’ve only been here for one semester and made academics my number one priority, sometimes it would be so much easier to come back after practice and just go to sleep, but the standard that the women’s team has for their academics is a driving force for my academic performance.”

This isn’t the first time that the Alma College Swim and Dive team has been in the academic spotlight. The Women’s team received the same CSCAA Academic award for their performance in Fall 2020

“Being a part of two all American squads is an honor, the first one [in 2020] was a challenge, because it was my first semester here at Alma. Classes were online and it was hard at times to find the motivation to put in the effort with a busy swim schedule,” said Abby Taylor (24’).

The men’s Swim and Dive team is also looking to match what the women’s team has been doing both in and out of the pool.

“Seeing the way that the women balance their swim and school is inspiring,” said Eli Mull (26’). “I could see the men’s team becoming the academic weapons that the women are. I see a bright future for the men in the pool and in the classroom. Good grades and winning meets are no doubt in our future.”

The women’s team had an impressive 3.6 GPA as a group which is .6 over the minimum 3.0 needed collectively to receive the award. The women showed their drive competing exhaustively twice a day starting with practice at 6 AM followed by class and another practice later, leaving them with little time for school work. Impressively they still found a way.

The women’s activity in the classroom also reflects what coach Nick Polzin preaches in his team values.

“The values I build this team on are dependability, respect and growth. The women have exceeded my expectations challenging themselves to improve and grow in the classroom, at practices and in life. They have motivation and discipline and make sure everyday is dedicated to improving,” said Polzin.

Even though the lady Scots have ended their season in the pool this past weekend at the MIAA championships with season and personal best times, they will continue to work hard in the classroom and look to receive national honors yet again.

The Alma College Division III Experience



The Three D’s: Discover, Develop and Dedicate, according to the official website of NCAA Division III sports, specifies student athletes should be “encouraged to pursue their interests and passions beyond the classroom and field of play… to discover themselves.”

The NCAA Division III website also relays that the “emphasis on participating [in] activities outside of the classroom” is a “hallmark of the Division III experience.” Alma College athletics, on the other hand, seems to be getting this mixed up with the ultimate American philosophy: sport equals life, and coaches don’t seem to be helping.

Yes, we athletes work incredibly hard, we strive to do our very best–on the field, in the pool or on the court–but no matter how bad we wish we were; we aren’t Olympians here at Alma College.

Instead, we’re students, first and foremost, trying to discover, develop and dedicate ourselves to things that will help us thrive in the rapidly approaching future of life outside a college campus. However, this has become difficult for Alma athletes as coaches have been known for cutting students for participating in other organizations, and baseball and softball are notorious for their late- night practices, all while athletes’ GPAs slip through the cracks. While coaches are notorious for using the line, “communication is key,” when explaining how athletes can approach them with any absences from practices they may need, it often feels like a cover up to distract others from what really happens.

How is communication key when some athletes are only allotted one absence throughout the duration of their season? How is communication key when coaches begin to cut athletes who join Fraternity Sorority Life (FSL) because their focus is no longer tunnel vision for their sport?

Sports cannot equal life at a Division III college–something most athletes may not want to face, and something coaches often don’t want to admit.

While FSL may get a bad rap because of the partying atmosphere associated with the organizations, the networking done through alumni and administrators makes any FSL event worth attending- -something athletics cannot provide students on the deep level that FSL does.

Coaches should be encouraging students to make connections for their careers through FSL and other activities rather than threatening cuts like what allegedly happened on the softball team.

“I think a lot of coaches here believe that their athletes being involved in other things is going to take away from their athletic commitment and drive…[but] athletes should at least get a chance to

prove that they can handle being an athlete and being involved in other things like FSL,” said Cassidy Smith (‘26), a former member of the softball team.

Furthermore, practice times matter. They matter for mental health, physical health and the ability of the athlete to function. College students are recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, but how is this possible when practices run until 11 p.m.

“Students should have ample opportunities throughout the week to prioritize school. They shouldn’t be practicing so late at night that it will impact them when they attend classes the next day… This is unacceptable,” said Raegan Stambaugh (‘23), SAAC president.

While sport equals life to coaches, a Division III school shouldn’t be allowing this emphasis; yet, it is notable to mention the team with one of, if not the highest collective team GPA has one of the worst training facilities and is not on the list of construction updates, nor will they benefit from the new athletic facility coming to campus.

A Division III school should not be blatantly ignoring the team with such a high GPA. The very value of a Division III experience is “student first,” so why aren’t we rewarding the highest achieving academic athletes?

Even on the surface level, GPA concerns are continuously seeming to be thrown to the side when athletes start to slip in the classroom. “I think it is important to address that… there are various athletic staff who are able to see athletes’ grades and yet when those students seem to be struggling there is not any follow through or any implementation of a plan,” said Stambaugh.

Yes, while student athletes can attend study tables with their teammates, it is a very lax system that does not give the student any other help than a designated, yet hardly required, study time.

“An NCAA Division III school should aim to provide a well-rounded collegiate experience that involves a balance of rigorous academics, competitive athletics and the opportunity to pursue a multitude of other co-curricular opportunities,” said Stambaugh.

And she’s exactly right as it is what we all signed up for when we athletes committed to Alma. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate whether student athletes are able to have the full Division III experience at Alma College.

National Girls & Women in Sports Day



On Jan 28., Alma College celebrated the 37th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day during a women’s basketball victory and a women’s swim meet both against Kalamazoo College.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a celebration of females in all levels of sports put on by the Women’s Sport Foundation and colleges all around the United States.

Even though there are plenty of influential female athletes to look up to, there is still a gender gap existing in the world of athletics.

According to the University of Minnesota report, in the media, women make up 40 percent of professional athletes, but only four percent of media coverage is dedicated to women’s sports.

According to National Public Radio, in 2022, only 24 percent of institutions’ athletic budget went tow ards women’s sports, and only 16 percent of scholarship funds were allotted to women’s sports. This is 179 million dollars less than the funds allotted to men.

Even before college, there are fewer opportunities for women in high school sports. With 1.4 million fewer opportunities in high school sports than men, it makes sense why girls are twice as likely to drop out of sports by the age of fourteen.

Thankfully, there is a lot being done to change this. This year’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day–coming after the 50 year anniversary of Title IX –looked to kick off the next 50 years of equality and opportunity for all.

Every year, Alma College and schools across the United States team up with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) topromote female excellence in sports.

“At the moment, there is an under-representation and appreciation for women in the sports industry, and the Women’s Sport Foundation look to be catalysts of change,” said Abby Haag (‘25).

“[The WSF is] the ally, advocate and catalyst for tomorrow’s leaders. We exist to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. Our mission is to enable all girls and women to reach their potential in sports and life… Sure, that’s a long way to go but we’re not gonna stop until we get there,” said Billie Jean King, founder of the Women’s Sport Foundation.

Here at Alma College, not only was there a swim meet and a basketball doubleheader, but in the morning the Alma College Dance team hosted a clinic for 30 girls, there was an open gym session where kids could try out various sports with student athletes and there was an alumni reception where former female athletes came and received recognition for their contributions, too.

“I’m always celebrating women in sports every day of the year, and on Saturday it was great to see past, present and future Scots come together to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day,” said Kiana Verdugo, Associate Athletic Director for Operations and Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator.

During the week of Jan. 28, colleges and organizations around the United States are hosting events with the WSF that promote the next generation of female athletes. For more information about the WSF and the events of this year’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day, visit their website at https://www. womenssportsfoundation. org/.

Alma College football wins first-round of playoffs



On Nov. 19, the Alma College Scots gained a 41- 21 victory over Mount St. Joseph, still making the 2022-2023 team undefeated.

The Scots took the MIAA championship title on Saturday, Nov. 12 against the Albion College Brits. Much anticipation was building up on campus regarding the Nov. 19 game against the Mount St. Joseph Lions, with the Alma College Athletics social media platforms promoting the slogan, “Win or Go Home”.

Offensively, the Scots were led by QB Carter St. John (‘26) and RB Eddie Williams (‘‘26). The former threw for 2 touchdowns, and the latter contributed 2 rushing and 1 receiving touchdown.”

An anonymous donor provided a great monetary amount to cover the costs of students wishing to get tickets to the event. While Alma College has a policy in place that allows students to be admitted into games for free, the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires that all guests pay for entry as part of their tournament hosting requirements. 

“I have a lot of good friends on the team, and I know a lot of the staff well, so it’s really exciting to watch their success and cheer them on,” said Payton Miller (’23), who is Student Supervisor and Broadcasting Coordinator for Alma College Athletics.

“If I could describe this year’s team in one word it would be relentless. This team has worked so hard all year and continues to put in the work to improve. It can be seen through our first 10-0 record in school history, conference awards, and individual player accomplishments,” said Miller.

“I love watching our men compete on the field. They play with unbelievable passion and love for this sport,” said Head Football Coach Jason Couch, who has coached the Alma Scots since 2018. “[The team has] completely bought in to the process of improving every day, [to winning each day]. We have 28 seniors committed to our KILTstyle culture.”

“Cherish our time together. We are one of 32 teams left in the country playing Division III football,” said Couch when asked what advice he had for the team. 

Another proud Scot is Michigan Senator Gary Peters, an Alma College alum from the class of 1980 who was present on Nov. 19 for the opening coin toss.

Peters shared his school spirit over his social media platforms during the week in a video with colleague and rival Mount St. Joseph alum, Senator Rob Portman. “We are undefeated for the first time in 128 years. We are now in the playoffs for the national championship and we’re going to beat your team,” said Peters to Portman. Along with Senator Gary Peters, many other alumni traveled and tuned in to the game to show their school pride.

A notable aspect of the football team’s season so far is the excitement of the fans. “I’m super excited to just be in the game day environment and have a cool experience like this at Bahlke Field,” said Miller. Based on the turnout at the game and the number of viewers over the livestream, along with the atmosphere created, the Nov. 19 game had the feel of a second homecoming.

The team also appreciates the support. “Come to the game. Have fun, make it a party. It’s going to be cold, but warm up by jumping around and yelling for the Scots,” said Couch. The Scots won the first game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 2022 Division III Football Championship and are now advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

“Alma just won 41- 21, their first playoff game victory in the history of the school and now they continue to go forward on their way to the national championship,” said Peters, following up with another post on his official Instagram page.

The team will play again on Nov. 26 against the Aurora University Spartans from Aurora, Illinois, but the time and the location of the game are yet to be announced by the NCAA.

Alma College football remains undefeated




Following a 30-10 victory against Adrian College on Nov. 5, the Alma College football team remains undefeated.

Coming back from their 5-5 record in the 2021 season, the Scots have won all nine of their games so far this year. This is the first time Alma College football has gone 9-0 in the program’s 128-year history.

If the Scots win their tenth game on Nov. 12 against Albion College, they will guarantee their spot in the MIAA Championship.

Jason Couch, Alma College head football coach, is happy to see his players’ and coaches’ hard work paying off.

“I think it means a lot, not only to our players but our alumni and campus community.  For the players and coaches, it validates the countless hours of commitment they have given since our last game in 2021,” said Couch.

For Couch, their success this season extends past the Alma College community. “Gaining respect within the conference [is important] and our players do a great job motivating one another,” said Couch.

“There are days I’m tired but when I get out to practice and feel the energy of others I’m rejuvenated. Attitudes and energy are contagious and I love the atmosphere of our practices.”

Zachary Riepma, assistant coach – offensive coordinator is proud of how hard the team has worked toward their goal this season.

“It has never been about the destination, but the process and the journey of ‘climbing the mountain.’ CLIMB stands for Commitment, Leadership, Intensity, Maturity and Belief,” said Riepma.

Finishing his career as a Scot, William Hampton (’23) is excited to be a part of Alma College history.

“I can’t even begin to put in words what a MIAA Championship will mean to me, this program and this community,” said Hampton.

Hampton is proud of the Scots for surpassing expectations. “We were picked preseason to finish 6th in the conference. Alma football hasn’t won a conference championship in 18 years so it would be special,” said Hampton.

Hampton feels that the team owes a lot to Couch for their success this season. “Knowing that I was a part of Coach Couch’s first recruiting class and to get him a Conference Championship would mean the world to me,” said Couch.

“He’s a great coach but, an even better man that wants to see his players not only succeed on the field but as well as off the field,” said Couch. “This would mean so much to past, present and future Scots.”

Sage Kraai (’23) does feel a sense of pressure to finish the season strong, but uses this as motivation.

“Being undefeated is a lot of fun, but it places a large target on us. Everyone wants to beat us and is doing everything in their power to beat us,” said Kraai. “I don’t think it creates too much stress for us players. We like to have the chip on our shoulders. We have been preparing for this moment.”

Water polo club coming to Alma College




Alma College has numerous athletic teams, clubs and other extracurricular activities available to students. In the coming weeks, Alma College will introduce a water polo club.

“Interested in water polo? You should be,” the recruitment flier said. “We welcome any level of water polo experience.”

Madison Humphrey (‘24) is President and Calvin Huggler (‘24) is Vice President. “I would say my hope as [Vice President is] to help create a foundation for the club that will ensure future Alma College students will be able to participate in these sorts of activities,” said Huggler.

“I’m most excited . . . to learn a sport that’s new to me and offers [me] an opportunity to connect with other club members in a competitive environment,” said Huggler.

The mission statement of the Alma College Water Polo Club is “to create a comfortable and enjoyable social organization in which Alma College students can be introduced and become well versed in the fundamentals of water polo as a sport.”

The mission statement also emphasizes that students will “display sportsmanship and encouraging attitudes, especially when playing in a competitive and goal-driven atmosphere.”

If you are an Alma College student, there are two requirements to become a member. First, all members must demonstrate swimming ability. This can be done by swimming a full, twenty-five-yard length of the pool without any assistance.

It is also required that all members have their own swimwear. Members should utilize a full-piece swimsuit rather than two-piece swimwear. The constitution adds that swim caps are also highly recommended.

As stated in the club’s constitution, no dues are required for membership. However, “members are required to attend the club meetings at least two times a month to be considered a full-time club member.” Attendance will be factored into a member’s playing time if the club were to take part in a game or scrimmage.

Many students are very excited by the opportunity to participate in the Alma College Water Polo Club. “It will be a nice throwback to my high school days of playing water polo for Groves,” said Jack Knoper (‘26).

“It feels like a little piece of home is being brought to campus.”

“As a member of the swim team, I cannot wait to try water polo. It seems like a fun game-style extension of my sport,” said Andrew Ludden (‘24).

Although many are excited, the club leadership might have a difficult time encouraging Alma’s extraordinarily involved student body to make time for water polo.

“I have a lot of prior obligations,” said Kylie Demarets (‘25). Other students like Demarets explained water polo may be lower on their priorities of clubs to join because it is not viewed as strongly as a resume builder.

“Although the teamwork and goal orientation of the club would be great to add to my resume, I just do not believe that I have time to add this club to my already busy schedule. I look forward to seeing their meeting times, though,” said Ryan Gray (‘25).

Regardless of the doubts in terms of scheduling, many students are looking forward to trying water polo for the first time or reliving their high school game days.

Students hoping to join the Alma College Water Polo Club can visit their Instagram page, @almawaterpoloclub, for more information.

Winter sports introduced by Throwdown in A-Town



It is that time of year again in Alma where winter sports are starting up. To hype up the students for the new sports season, Alma College introduces the Winter Sports teams by kicking off the season with the Throwdown in A-Town.

This year’s Throwdown was on Thursday Oct. 20 from 9pm to 11pm in the Art Smith Arena.

Going to the Throwdown in A-Town is a great way for Alma College’s students to show their excitement for the winter sports season and support Alma College Winter Athletics. Students had the chance to win prizes, participate in a raffle and see entertainment from some of our winter sports.

“The first 100 students  [received] a door prize, Spirit Squad, Dance, and Cheer/STUNT [performed], the men’s basketball team  [did] a dunk contest, the women’s basketball team [did] a 3-point shooting competition and the remainder of winter sports [had to] compete in a competition.”

“Throughout the event we [gave] out prizes, and students [had] the opportunity to enter a raffle to shoot a half-court shot for a TV”, said Kiana Verdugo, the Associate Athletic Director at Alma College.

During the Throwdown, the student athletes introduce their teams, performed and engaged in some lighthearted competition.

“I am most excited about the pre-game portion of the Throwdown….It also means that it is the start of our season”, said Alina Malinowski (’23), a member of Alma College’s Spirit Squad.

The Throwdown in A-town has occurred for the last 10 years at Alma College. “Throwdown in A-Town is a kickoff to the winter sports seasons and aims to generate excitement and support on campus. It is modeled after Midnight Madness that a lot of other schools do”, said Verdugo.

Student athletes get a chance to show their support for one another at the Throwdown.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to perform again! Seeing all the support from other teams means so much! Last year, I remember being able to feel the excitement and unconditional support from my fellow student athletes throughout the whole event”, said Ella Squier (’25), a member of the Alma College Dance Team.

At this year’s Throwdown, Alma College’s Women’s Basketball Team won the 3-point shooting competition and received Alma College merch as a prize.

The TV raffle was not won, so there will be an opportunity for that to be offered at an upcoming Alma College Basketball game. To find more information regarding this year’s Basketball game schedule, visit

The student athletes really enjoyed the Throwdown in A-Town this year and are already pumped for the Throwdowns in the years to come.

“My favorite memory was the hip-hop performance with the Dance Team. Seeing the students, coaches, and professors get excited and smile while we were dancing meant so much. I think this event is a ton of fun and I hope it continues past even my four years here”, said Squier.

“My favorite part of Throwdown was the head, knees, shoulders, and cup game. It’s fun to see other sports teams get competitive with one another. The last round is always my favorite because the crowd gets so excited and involved”, said Hanna Scott ’23, a member of the Alma College Dance Team.

Alma College Scots athletics update




Football has had many successful wins in recent weeks, notably beating Martin Luther College during the Homecoming game. However, football players are not the only successful Scots on campus.

Men’s Soccer has played a total of seven games after beating Anderson University on Sept. 10. The team has two wins and five losses so far.

“The team is really on its way to finding its identity. The squad is beginning to gel and get comfortable with one another… I think that our play shows it. The bond this team has is second to none,” said Ethan Vollstedt (‘23), the captain of Alma College Men’s Soccer.

While the team faced tough competition, it resulted in nothing but growth. “We are just a few ticks away from rounding a very special corner and achiev[ing] our goal of getting back into the MIAA playoffs,” said Vollstedt.

Women’s soccer has been busy traveling to Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois. They currently have a record of one win, two losses and two tied games.

“I think our season is off to a great start! We have great team chemistry and are having a lot of fun playing fearless soccer,” said Lily Stephan (‘23) of the women’s team and the MIAA Offensive Player of the Week, named on Sept. 26.

The Alma College Women’s Soccer Team also won their first game of conference play on Sept. 28. “We started conference play strong with a win today which will help us build momentum for the rest of the season,” said Stephan.

Recently, Alma College Women’s Golf hosted the MIAA Jamboree. This is the third MIAA Tournament of the season. They completed the tournament with 323 points, the lowest score of the season.

“I am super proud of how our team has been doing so far this season. Our [first-years] have really stepped up and played a big role on our team. I look forward to finishing the season strong and continuing to push each other to be better every day,” said Morgan Yates (‘23).

Yates tied for the medalist position at the MIAA Jamboree. Of even more importance, Yates has been named back-to-back MIAA Golfer of the Week.

“I personally have put in a lot of work this summer and fall and I am happy to see it pay off. My family, coaches and team have been really supportive, and I will continue to improve,” said Yates.

Next, tennis has been on the road having played in Indiana in recent weeks. Unfortunately, the women’s team fell to both St. Francis and Manchester University. The men’s team also fell to St. Francis but defeated Manchester University with a monumental nine to zero score.

“So far, I think we have started off with some good opponents that made some of us really fight to win our matches. Hopefully, that fight will continue throughout our fall and spring seasons, and we can bring home some wins,” said Laney Voisinet (‘26), a first-year on the women’s tennis team.

Swim season is also off to a strong start with practices having begun on Sept. 19. As swimming is a sport with a longer season, it is important to keep the positive energy going into the first meet on Oct. 8 at Saginaw Valley State University.

“I feel like this is going to be a special year. We have a lot of energy and excitement coming into the season, and I know that will help us in late fall and into winter,” said Nick Polzin, the head Alma College Swim and Dive coach.

E-sports, a sport typically left out of the spotlight, won their two games against Marietta College on Sept. 3. They had some close losses against Mount Vernon Nazarene, Valparaiso and Bethel College on Sept. 10.

Alma College Baseball has seen many successes during Fall Ball. On Sunday, Sept. 27, the team beat Mid-Michigan College in a doubleheader with a resounding score of 22 to one and 21 to three in each game respectively.

Finally, Cross Country has had strong showings at their first three invitationals. The men’s team finished sixth of eight on Sept. 2, seventh of 10 on Sept. 10 and fourteenth of 24 on Sept. 17. The women’s team finished fifth of six, ninth of 12 and tenth of 24 on the same respective dates.

As the Scots face tough competition, they hope students will come support them in their sporting endeavors. Students can find sporting information on the Alma Scots website. “[We] would love to see everyone at our next home game!” said Vollstedt.

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