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.
Kurt Jolly, a member of the swim team, is a senior from Chelsea, though his family recently moved to Holland. Jolly is currently double majoring in biology and economics and management. After graduation, he plans to find a career in pharmaceutical biomedical sales.
“I knew that I was going to continue my college athletics career at a division two-level, but I chose Albion because of the coaches,” said Jolly. “In high school, I knew that I had more to give, and I’ve been swimming since I was 10 years old.”
Jolly’s best two events are backstroke. He swims the 100 and 200 sprinter base. Also, he competes in the 100 fly and the 100 free. One event that has been hard for Jolly is breaststroke because of the coordination it requires.
“I’ve never been good with coordination,” said Jolly. “Swimming physically taught me that I will never be in shape the way I am midseason, but I also respect and appreciate the people around me. I have been fortunate for no major injuries. Although shoulder issues are a problem for me, I do a ton of stretching to help.”
“Every year the team is a little different, but we are family to each other,” said Jolly. “We study, hang out, and like to spend time together. As a freshman, I went with the flow, but now as a senior, I go out of my way to get to know everyone.”
Jolly holds himself to a standard of being an approachable and an accountable teammate.
“My ability to be someone that uses his words wisely and likes to play around, but at the end of the day, I know that they can count on me for anything,” said Jolly.
This attitude led him to be voted on as a captain for the swim team by his peers.
“Being captain comes with a lot of responsibility because I try to lead by example and make sure that everyone is getting their work done,” said Jolly.
In the midst of both COVID-19 and his senior year, Jolly said he feels that circumstances are unfortunate and sad, but he tries to be understanding.
“You can’t just wish away your senior year,” said Jolly. “This year has been feeling off, and practices are different due to COVID-19.”
During the pandemic, each sport has been training in pods to help with social distancing.
“We practice once a day, and in the pool, there are six people to each side. It feels off swimming, but there are times when we go on breaks because of COVID-19 scares,” said Jolly. “We enjoy the pods because it helps maintain a certain number. The swim team also meets on zoom to do workouts, and they are trying to keep their spirits high by connecting. There are many of the swimmers who live together. We have high morale, and the team enjoys everyone’s company always interacting with each other.”
In addition to being on the swim team, Jolly is a part of Delta Sigma Pi and on the executive leadership board of the fraternity. He is a part of the Wilson Institute and the president of SAAC. He is currently working three jobs on campus.
“Being able to get into leadership programs has been an amazing opportunity, said Jolly. “The chance to be the president of SAAC is great.”