Over half of the Albion College student body participates in one of 23 varsity sports teams on campus. The college places an emphasis on competing at a high level in the NCAA Division III while also excelling each day in the classroom.
The vast number of student-athletes on campus have a multitude of backgrounds, including many unique players that often go unnoticed. Due to COVID-19, recent decisions regarding athletics on the collegiate, conference and national levels have changed the face of sports this fall at Albion College.
In light of that and nn order to truly appreciate all of the student-athletes who make up Albion athletics, The Pleiad’s “Beyond the Spotlight” series features a different athlete and the impact they have had on campus.
Featured in this week’s “Beyond the Spotlight” is volleyball player Kate Winter, a senior from White Lake, Mich. Winter is an economics and management major with a minor in English. In addition to being a first-year experience (FYE) mentor, Winter is the president of Alpha Xi Delta, a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Community (SAAC) and a photographer for the athletic department.
“I did a tour when I was a junior in high school. And when I came here, the girls were so welcoming and just wanted to get to know me and were asking me questions about my life,” said Winter. “The thing about this school is that you’re not only a part of a sports team, but you are your own person, and they wanted to get to know me outside of the volleyball world as well as why I was passionate to be a part of Albion’s community.”
One of Winter’s favorite things about the environment at Albion is being able to be involved in many different extracurricular activities, thereby not letting any one activity define her identity. Winter also loves the aspect of always having something to do.
In her volleyball career here at Albion, Winter has had multiple points of success, including her getting the third most blocks (39) and having the fourth most kills (190) on Albion’s team. She continued her success in her sophomore year, ending the season with the third-most blocks (45) and kills (220).
Continuing onto her junior year, Winter rose to take the spot as the player with the most kills (318). In the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), Winter had the third-highest amount of kills in the eight season matches and the fourth-highest hitting percentage. Winter was also selected by the MIAA to be on the all-MIAA team and was honored as the Britons Most Valuable Player.
“I was mentored by some of Albion’s greatest students to come through here, and I learned a lot from them, like just how they played and learned new tricks,” said Winter. “When you practice with the best, you will become better.”
Winter’s success in volleyball was not limited to her time on the court. Her sophomore and junior year, Winter saw academic success as well when she made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Winter’s senior season has been postponed to the spring semester along with all the other fall sports.
“It didn’t really come as a shock, but the thing is we weren’t bombarded like the spring sports were. We kinda had it in the back of our mind, like it potentially might happen,” said Winter. “Obviously, being a senior, you don’t want to see your normal fall season get pushed, but I think that the school and the Athletic Directors are working really hard to give us something.”
Winter is looking forward to being able to practice with her teammates again while preparing for the spring season they have ahead of them.
“Being able to practice is still something I’m going to look forward to even though competition is pushed to the spring,” said Winter. “We are super lucky that we are still able to get into the gym and be able to do the thing that we love because not doing that for five months, I’ve been thinking about playing with my team for five months. Not being able to be in the gym with them has been hard, but I have been looking forward to this moment for so long so anyway that it can happen I’ll be lucky. I should take it while I can.”
While in these uncertain times and many things changing on a day to day basis Winter has been using journaling this summer to clear her head about everything that’s going on in today’s world. Winter has even found herself looking forward to her time journaling at the end of the day, making it become her stress reliever.
“I just kinda write about my day, what’s been stressing me, and what I have to look forward to, the good and the bad,” said Winter. “It gets it all in one place and then you don’t have to worry about it again. You just write it down, get rid of it and then you’re clear.”