Alma College football remains undefeated

KYLE SCHECK
PHOTOGRAPHER

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

11/7/2022

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

EMMA FIGLEWICZ
PHOTOGRAPHER

MEGAN NEELEY
COPY EDITOR

10/24/2022

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

REYNA EDWARDS
STAFF WRITER

10/24/2022

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 Alma.edu.

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

KYLE SCHECK
PHOTOGRAPHER

MEGAN NEELEY
COPY EDITOR

10/3/2022

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.

Spectators bring controversy to campus

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

On Feb. 15, the Alma College athletic department announced that, starting Feb. 17, limited spectators from outside the Alma community would be permitted to attend indoor sporting events.

Every student-athlete will be allowed to have up to two parents or guardians at home contests in Art Smith Arena. These spots are non-transferable, meaning that only parents or guardians are able to utilize them. They are required to reserve their spots for upcoming games ahead of time.

Alma College students, staff and faculty are also permitted to attend home basketball and volleyball games. Only 30 campus community members are allowed into the arena, with 60 parents allowed.

The Alma College spirit squad and dance team are also allowed in the arena and able to perform when the teams aren’t occupying the court.

“When I heard that there would be a bit of spectators allowed, I was excited to be honest,” said Emma VanDeusen (‘22), a member of the spirit squad.

“We really try to hype up the crowd, which then hopefully hypes up the players. [Performing on Feb. 17] definitely felt different than [pre-pandemic], but it felt as close to normal as anything has in almost a year.”

The spirit squad performed in the bleachers at the men’s basketball game against Hope College on Feb. 17. The dance team also had their separate area in the arena, and in an effort to promote social distancing, neither group intermingled.

“My coaches, the dance team coaches, Sarah Dehring and Kiana Verdugo have all worked really hard to make sure we are in a space dedicated just to us to ensure we are kept safe,” said VanDeusen.

“With the extensive testing that is done, I do feel safe. Sports teams are being tested three times [a week], which feels like a lot but it’s to make sure we can participate in sports safely.”

The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association voted on Feb. 12 to grant institutional discretion to allow spectators at indoor venues. Alma College athletics must follow rules and regulations set by the MIAA.

Despite the leniency granted to athletics, performing arts do not have to comply with these same policies. Dance company, theatre, choir and band performances are still not permitted to have audience members outside the campus community, as per Alma College. Instead, these events are live-streamed for parents and guardians to watch.

Some events in the arts have been able to have members of the campus community watch in-person, but others have not.

“Honestly, it’s been really difficult [because] up until this year, my family has never missed a dance concert of mine,” said Meredith Bowles (‘21).

“It’s weird not seeing them in the audience.”

Spectators being allowed at indoor sporting events but not at the performing arts has created a divide on campus.

“I’ve seen a lot of controversy, so I want to start out by saying I’m not blaming the sports or attacking the sports in any way,” said Bowles.

“I know it’s not the athletes’ fault. However, it’s personally really frustrating to me that the school didn’t even consider approving outside people to come to [performances in the arts] the same time they approved sporting events.”

Some students are wondering if allowing spectators on campus will add to the spread of the Coronavirus, as the expectations of the spectators aren’t outlined to the campus community.

“Now [that] they’re allowing parents on campus for events, are they getting tested?” asked Leo West (‘22).

“Are they even gonna be held to mask rules?”

Additionally, students are upset that sports teams are able to travel off-campus for games and matches, but students who aren’t involved in athletics are not permitted to travel more than 10 miles outside of Alma.

“Baseball can go to Louisiana, but I can’t go to my friend’s dorm room,” said West.

“I have nothing against the baseball team, but the policy that allows them to do all that is backwards.” As coronavirus cases on campus are currently low, the campus community hopes that numbers remain this way despite spectators being allowed on campus for events. If numbers remain low, the potential grows for audience members to be able to attend performing arts events in the future, and for students to be able to travel outside the Alma community.

Buccaneers win Super Bowl, make history

AISHWARYA SINGH
STAFF WRITER

WESTON HIRVELA
GRAPHIC CREATOR

On Feb. 7 this year, two of the best teams for the National Football Conference and American Football Conference respectively played the Super Bowl under conditions unprecedented in its 52-year history.

The Super Bowl attracts millions of viewers less for the game and more for the experience and the ads in what remains media’s greatest marketing showcase, with advertisers paying roughly $5.5 million for each 30-second spot.

The annual championship of the National Football League culminated in the first week of February with 91.6 million viewers who tuned in to their TVs to watch, making it the lowest number of viewers for the Super Bowl since 2007 which sat at 93.2 million viewers on television.

Many have attributed the poor ratings to the lack of a competitive game which almost always draws in greater views.

A straightforward game like the one we saw between The National Football Conference champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs failed to captivate audiences with mystery and unpredictability the way past games have. This was visible in the result of the game, a shocking 31–9 win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This year’s game started with a note to the audiences delivered by the NFL. The public-service announcement was regarding the NFL’s financial commitment to a campaign against systemic racism. Despite the NFL’s well meaning attempt at addressing America’s recent reckoning with its racist history, the organization’s failure to make any reference to Colin Kaepernick- the civil rights activist and football quarterback- felt like an oversight to many.

In what can be considered a lowlight of the game, Kansas City, despite entering the game perfectly capable of winning, undid their prospects of winning because of their offensive oversights and significant penalties.

In what was a rather anticlimactic game for the Chiefs, led by Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown despite their frantic efforts and lost by double-digits, making them also the third Super Bowl team to not score a touchdown. Not just that, but by the end of the four hours, the Chiefs had committed 11 penalties, including a record eight penalties in the first half.

On a brighter note, for the Buccaneers, their victory set their name in history by making them the only other team (with the Baltimore Ravens) to be undefeated in multiple Super Bowls.

Veteran quarterback Tom Brady was awarded his record fifth MVP also making him the oldest player to receive the honor.

“This was the first time I ever watched the Super Bowl because this is my first year in the United States. As an Indian, I’ve only known of the Super Bowl from American TV shows,” said Aditya Shankar (’24). To be here, live the passion people have for the game and watch it firsthand made me feel as though I am part of a cultural moment unique to this country. It was a very interesting game to watch, at least for a Super Bowl rookie like me, but the disappointment in the eyes of my peers was visible. It’s an incredibly unique game with a lot of moving parts and it takes a while to understand, but once I took notes of the basics, I knew I’d be joining the madness yet again next year”, he continued.

Despite the ups and downs of this Super Bowl season and the unprecedented conditions of a global pandemic under which the game was played, Super Bowl will be back in February of next year to capture the hearts and minds of millions of Americans once again and perhaps provide to its audiences a more dynamic game that will soar ratings like the past.

Athletics in the time of a pandemic

HADEN GROSS
STAFF WRITER

As student’s return to a snow-covered campus, many athletes have begun gearing up for their sporting seasons. While athletics look a bit different this year, proud scots are still ready to go out and give their all for the mighty tartan and maroon. With this sporting season, comes a new insurgence of COVID testing for athletes as they embark on their journeys.

The new wave of COVID testing is divided into roughly two sections, containing various levels of testing the athletes are subjected to. Students who participate in non-contact sports will have 25 percent of their team randomly selected for testing once a week. Those in contact sports will be tested three times a week to ensure maximum safety to those on campus. All student athletes will be tested three days prior to their away games.

The COVID test that the students will take will be the rapid test: meaning students will get their results within 24 to 36 hours of taking it. This rapid test was met with controversy in the past few months as many sources have claimed that the test is less effective.

When asking up and coming football players how they felt about the ramped-up testing, we were met with a few responses.

“I don’t feel as if the rapid testing is nearly as effective as the other tests, but it almost feels pointless considering students are still leaving campus and breaking the rules,” Said Bennett Hendrickson (24’), “However, the test still provides an important safety measure as student athletes begin their seasons.”

Some athletes have already been tested numerous times since their return to campus. Either being tested via the nasal swab, or the saliva tests. Athletes are chosen at random, and then are able to pick from the various time slots to be tested.

“I have been tested three times within the last two weeks, and while it seems a tad excessive, I understand the need for increased testing,” Said Luke Cooper (23’), “As long as we [athletes] get to play this year, I will continue to get tested as much as they need me to.”

Due to the pandemic, outdoor sports such as football have had their seasons moved to the spring, giving their athletes a colder environment then they are used to.

“It sucks that we will be playing in the cold weather, but we as a team will adapt and survive to meet this season’s challenges” Said Hendrickson.

While other sports like cross country have been only able to practice, whereas the various dance team and companies have had to alter their routines in ordinance to social distancing guidelines. Winter sports have been moved back and are now running into the spring sporting seasons. Coupled with these changes, athletes have also had shortened or altered season to reduce the spread of COVID.

“Even though the season is shortened, it still feels great to get to be able to get on the field and play the sport that we love,” Said Cooper, “The school has done everything within their power to minimize risk and it is better to miss a couple of football games than for someone to get seriously ill when it could have been easily prevented.”

Although the sports have been altered to fit the many rules and guidelines of COVID-19, students are still optimistic and hopeful as they embark on their sporting seasons.

“Albeit the strange season, I am so hyped to get some dubs with the boys!” Said Hendrickson, with a laugh when asked if he was excited for the upcoming football season.

It is a hope that all student athletes carry the same optimism that Hendrickson has.

Inside look at Alma Athletics

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

With sports’ seasons put on hold and social gatherings limited on campus, Alma College’s Athletic Department seeks to find new ways to keep student-athletes connected, even when they are off the field. One new way is through the use of the latest form of communication during this disconnected time: video.

While student-athletes may have to wait to put on their uniforms and see the field, the Athletic Department, along with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), has created a new way to get to know the athletes beyond their jerseys. In the new weekly video series posted to YouTube, Inside Scots Sports, each video takes a deeper look into the lives of some of Alma’s athletes.

“Our Inside Scots Sports videos are made to give athletes and faculty something to look forward to during this troubling time with no athletic events,” said SAAC Social Media Coordinator and host of the show, Hunter Nash(’22). “We aim to show that there is more to our student athletes here at Alma than just being an athlete. In saying that, I try to focus my questions not only on what made the athlete or faculty member come to Alma but what sparked their love for sports and competition in the first place!”

In these videos, each episode focuses on interviewing a student-athlete or even a college staff member within the Athletic Department. When interviewing, Nash dives into more than just questions about the athlete and their sport. Each video centers around getting to know the student-athlete on a more personal level rather than just being a number on the field.

“The idea for these videos was to give our community more information about our athletes here on campus to solidify a bond that athletes across campus all have with each other,” said Nash. “We want all athletes to look at the Athletic Department as a community where they can reach out to anyone if need be!”

With the aim being to strengthen the athletic community, it is no surprise that the push behind the formation of the videos stems from the Athletic Department’s own Sports Information Director, Matt Moran. The concept for the videos started as an idea to increase not only a sense of family amongst athletes, but to introduce the Alma community to the variety of students, who make up Alma’s 27 different sports’ teams. All Moran had to do was pitch the idea, find a host, and the rest was history.

“The idea is something I came up with as I wanted to feature our student-athletes more on a personal level,” said Moran. “I was suggested to reach out to Hunter because he has a passion for these kinds of projects. Hunter basically took the idea and ran with it by coming up with the name of the show and deciding what questions would be asked. I then worked with Hunter as well as our Assistant AD Kiana Verdugo on how we would go about putting it all together.”

When it comes to the production of these videos, Nash was eager to accept the challenge as the host with his interests in the business field and wanting to focus on his professionalism in public speaking. In each seven to ten-minute-long video, Nash interviews a different student-athlete to not only get to know them as an athlete, but a student as well through his wide array of witty questions.

“A typical video consists of some easy questions to get to know why the individual started playing their sport and how they found their way to Alma,” said Nash. “I then like to get into some questions about them so that myself and the community can learn more behind their name on their jersey. I then like to keep it light and fun by throwing in some weird and out of the box

questions to make it interesting and something to be talked about around campus. Finally, we have a speed round to see how many quick off-the-bat questions the participant can answer in 60 seconds!”

Just like how Nash switches up his questions to keep the interview interesting and participants on their toes, he also looks to interview student-athletes from all across the athletic community. This is notable in the videos posted, which consist of interviews featuring Men’s Soccer junior, Jarod Arendsen(’22), Volleyball and Softball Junior, Haley Ullrich(’22) and Men’s Golf and Tennis senior, Tait Morrissey(’21).

“I started the first couple interviews by interviewing individuals from other sports teams that I know, but it is completely open to anyone who wants to participate, so if you want to be on the show….Send me an email!” said Nash. “However, if I do not get volunteers, then I plan to make my way through the Athletic Department and hit someone from every team before going back through.”

With the future of sports’ seasons up in the air, it is important to take this time to reflect on not only what these sports mean to athletes, but to acknowledge what these athletes mean to the sports and athletic community. Thanks to the Athletic Department, Moran and Nash’s push for the Inside Scots Sports videos, it helps give the community something to rally around and learn more about the athletes, who they will cheer on when sports go back into action.

“I think it’s important, especially during this time, that we feature the members of the Alma College family,” said Moran. “With no competitions going on, it gives us more time to do these projects and tell the stories of these people. At the end of the day, I hope people are entertained by them and that they learn something they never knew before about the person being featured.”

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