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 in 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.
Alexis McGinley is a junior from Bellevue Mich., and she is a part of the Albion College track and field team. Currently, she is contemplating doing a double major in theater and communications.
“I visited Albion twice, and the first time was with my dad, then the second time was for an overnight,”said McGinley. “It was amazing. I absolutely loved everything about the campus. We saw how the track team went to nationals and won their conferences. Every person would stop and say hi. Right off the bat, I knew that this is where I was going to go.”
McGinley has run track since high school. Back home, her small town is a similar size to Albion. Graduating with a class of 40, McGinley had to run by herself the last two years because she was the only girl on her track team.
The head coach from the track team, Lance Coleman, began sending her recruiting letters in high school. Those letters served as her introduction to Albion. No matter where McGinley was going to further her education, she knew that she was going to be a part of that college’s track team.
Both her junior and senior years of high school, McGinley broke her ankle. Since then, she has been wearing a brace to help with stability. However, the brace started to cause more harm than good. Despite her injured left ankle, McGinley continues to run because of her love for the sport. Even with her past injuries she is stronger than ever, pushing past the limits her injury sets for her.
“For track I run the 100, 200, 4-by-1[00 meter relay], long jump and the 60. My favorite race is the 100, and I’m not a big fan of the 200,” said McGinley.
McGinley has won medals throughout her collegiate career, and she was a part of the 4-by-100 meter relay record-setting team, where she ran the second leg of the race.
Coming to Albion, McGinley’s biggest takeaway was that competitions are not always going to be against different schools. She believes that this helps the team push and compete against each other. Regardless of whether individuals are running by themselves, track is still a team sport.
“It was nice having teammates at Albion, and I love running with the girls. Every year, we get really good runners, and we are all looking forward to competition since our season last year ended early,” said McGinley.
The team dynamic changes every year depending on who is on the team, but Head Coach Coleman remains consistent. McGinley says Coleman has made this season easily adaptable to the circumstances at hand. Since the start of COVID-19, the team has been trying to stay motivated and in shape.
The track team, along with other teams on campus, is practicing in pods due to COVID-19, which involves breaking up the team into small groups four to eight people. Each group was made based off of who the athletes are around. Practices are also limited to an hour and a half, and track athletes only practice five days per week.
Team bonding is hard this year due to COVID-19, but it gives Coleman more one-on-one time with each athlete. Coleman is also planning an intersquad meet for track soon.
“I was really upset this year to find out that the season is being postponed,” said McGinley. “We were supposed to go to nationals and win. The last meet we had was in Alabama. After that they sent us home, and I was so shocked.”
Overall, the team is riding it out and adapting. McGinley is trying her best to stay positive and take one day at a time.
Although indoor track usually begins in December, this year’s competition may not happen until February.
In addition to track, McGinley has three jobs on campus. She works at the Ludington center, is a STEEP caller and is a tour guide. Some of these jobs are on hold due to COVID-19 regulations. She is also involved in Hillel and the theater department.
“The best part of my time at Albion is the track team, and being part of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. I love it so much,” said McGinley. “All my people are from Albion.”