With each year, new students are recruited into the Albion athletic program with hopes of contributing to a successful season. This season, women’s track and field and softball have high expectations in their most notable recruits, their coaches.
At the beginning of the year Christina Finch, women’s softball coach, and Steve Allison, women’s track and field coach, were chosen to coach their respective sports, offering new philosophies to developing success. Both came from winning programs, and both have carried their approaches to Albion. Finch came from Madonna University and Allison from the University of Spring Arbor.
For Finch, who picked up the coaching job after coming off an NAIA conference championship season as the top hitter from Madonna University, winning stems to making sure that players are prepared to perform under pressure. Finch has centered her practices on creating game like situations to make her players more confident in their execution.
“We always tell our girls that whoever makes the least mistakes is going to win,” Finch said. “We put them in these situations in practice so when they see them in a game, they’ve already faced them, and they are better prepared.”
The softball team opened the season with a rocky start, posting a 3-7 cumulative record on their trip to Kissimmee, Fla. But the team has since improved, winning five of their last 10 with a 5-3 home record, after gaining a win Alma College for the first time since 2003.
Players, however, are aware of the road ahead and are focused on placing top four in the conference to reach their goal of making the post-season tournament.
“Beating Alma was definitely one of our goals, but were not satisfied with where we’re at yet,” said Amanda Rapelje, East Lansing senior.
“We’re really going to have to work hard to make the top four in the MIAA for the tournament.”
Allison in the other hand, who coached seven national champions in his time as assistant coach at Spring Arbor University, has put an emphasis on creating team comradery to reach the team’s goal of placing top three in the conference.
Allison has encouraged his upperclassmen to make it easy on the newcomers to merge into the system. The plan as well includes finding recruits who would make good teammate and athletes.
“I would like to maintain the number of athletes we have at Albion, while focusing on recruiting quality team members, “Allison said. “It takes athletes with both ability and leadership skills to make a program successful.”
The upperclassmen on the Lady Britons squad have made a conscious effort to follow Allison’s tactics up to this point in the season.
“The women on the team have taken great strides to involve each other with our lives by talking to each other throughout practice,” said Erica Nichols, Greenville junior. “So far I think our team has done an excellent job of coming together and each day provides us with more opportunities to reach our team goals.”
As of right now Allison’s approach has created positive results for the Track and Field program.
The team has placed within the top three in three of their four meets.
This has helped the Britons open up to Allison’s philosophies and become comfortable with his coaching style in the short time that he has been on campus.
“Coach Allison has been fitting in just great, it’s almost like he’s been here for years,” said Dori Williams, Williamston senior.
Both Finch and Allison have put a high emphasis on placing high in the conference and are confident in their chances if the teams perform to their potential.
With only a few weeks remaining in the spring season, the softball team is currently in seventh place in the MIAA.
Women’s track and field will have their first league competition, the MIAA Jamboree, this weekend.