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 spring 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 golfer Sam Hibbs, a junior from Jackson. In addition to being Albion’s only pre-optometry student, Hibbs is also a Briton Path mentor, a member of the Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine and the men’s golf team SAAC representative.
“I knew that if I came to Albion, I would get a good education but also have fun while playing golf,” said Hibbs.
Before coming to Albion, Hibbs had worked with Assistant Golf Coach Jake Maas, which gave Hibbs the opportunity to see how his career would continue at Albion.
“It was pretty much a done deal for me to play golf there just because the coaches were so nice,” said Hibbs.
Hibbs said that coming to Albion has helped him continue to grow as a golfer and cited learning how to be patient as the most important lesson he has learned thus far at Albion.
“In high school, I would try to get help from other swing coaches, and I was a bit impatient with just how the process worked,” said Hibbs. “Coach Maas really helped me to focus on my mentality a lot better. He taught me to be patient and know that things will eventually come for me and just wait for one day for it to all click together.”
In the spirit of patience, entering his junior year, Hibbs learned that his third golf season would be postponed until the spring due to COVID-19.
“I was a little bummed,” said Hibbs. “I was bummed because I was really excited for my junior year, but I guess it ended up being okay now that I can actually practice through the fall and the winter and be warmed up and ready to go in the spring. I just kept my head high and tried to focus on the positives.”
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, practices had to be split into pods of ten or less athletes, creating the necessity for both a morning and afternoon practice session. Hibbs was placed in the morning session.
“When I was there, I was really trying to pump everyone up to get excited and ready to grind out the session,” said Hibbs.
In order to keep spirits high among the team in the fall semester, the team played an intersquad tournament every weekend. Each week, a player would be put up against another teammate, and whoever won moved onto the next round the next weekend.
“I’m just trying to keep the energy high,” said Hibbs.
Hibbs will be back in action on March 27 with the rest of the golf team to start their season against Olivet College at Meadlist golf Club in Marshall.