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.
Featured in this week’s “Beyond the Spotlight” is Equestrian rider and psychology major Marty Cash, a junior from Canton, Mich.
Albion came onto Cash’s radar when, in 2016, she came across a news article about the new Held Equestrian Center that Albion had just built.
“The academics were strong here,” said Cash. “I was actually considering many academically competitive colleges, but it was honestly the Equestrian Center that was a selling point for me.”
Cash is dedicated to her studies. Albion’s ability to challenge her academically and the ability to allow her to continue her equestrian career is what brought Cash to Albion.
“My major was my first priority, but this was really like the deal setter for me,” said Cash.
Cash grew up riding horses most of her life and she knew that she wanted to go to college somewhere where she could bring her horse, Ty, with her.
Coming into college there were some things that Cash needed to adapt to even though she had a very successful career before coming to Albion.
“A big thing I came into collegiate athletics with was that I was very much a perfectionist, strong desire to be successful and just really put forth 100% all the time,” said Cash. “And so, I came in with a pretty successful reputation within the horse world. I won one world champion title and five national champion titles. I felt a lot of pressure coming in as a freshman.”
Going into her junior year, Cash has learned how to handle the pressure she faced when she first arrived on campus.
“I learned that sometimes, it’s okay to make a mistake and to not beat myself up over it and to just keep focusing on the aspects that I can control and working hard,” said Cash. “And constantly striving to be the best version of myself even though it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m getting first place every single time.”
Just like every other rider, Cash has dealt with her number of falls, but last summer, Cash had her first fall that led to an injury. Due to her fall, Cash tore all of the ligaments in her right elbow.
“I honestly was a little intimidated to get back on afterwards, because I had never taken a fall like that. It kind of had me rattled, but honestly for me it was my coach, Coach Adam,” said Cash. “He was really there to support me and encouraged me to keep working through it, even though I did feel really intimidated getting back on.”
Cash is now looking forward to hopefully getting back to competition in the spring. She hopes to recreate the plans that were cut short due to COVID-19 canceling completions last March.
“Last was probably my most successful riding season yet,” said Cash. “I had qualified to compete at the IHSA Nationals. I was very very excited to go. I made some major improvements in my riding from my first year here at Albion.”