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 soccer player Ashlyn Wetzel, a junior from Stevensville. Wetzel is a kinesiology major with a biology minor. In addition to being a member of the Wilson Institute
for Medicine, Wetzel is also part of the Albion Exercise Science Club.
“I wanted to go to a smaller school because I wanted to play soccer but I didn’t want it to overtake my whole college career,” said Wetzel. “I wanted to focus on getting a degree on time for my main thing and I still obviously wanted to play soccer.”
Wetzel said that, upon her first visit to campus, she could tell Albion fit her vision of where she wanted to spend the next four years.
“I came to Albion, and I liked the community,” said Wetzel. “I just felt like it fit.”
Since making the decision to spend her college years at Albion, Wetzel has been met with many opportunities. Wetzel said that one of her favorite things Albion has given her is newfound freedom and the chance to meet new people.
“I came here to meet new people,” said Wetzel. “I wanted to get away from everyone I knew in high school. So, definitely my favorite thing is meeting the people here and becoming close and going on adventures with them.”
Prior to college, Wetzel’s athletic career was not without challenges. In high school, Wetzel tore her medial collateral ligament (MCL), had a couple of concussions and patella tendonitis.
“When I tore my MCL I was really worried about it not becoming stronger because it was on my left leg and I’m right-footed, so it’s already at a disadvantage,” said Wetzel. “Like how am I going to get my left stronger than my right when my right’s my dominant?”
Despite the injuries she has dealt with, Wetzel says she doesn’t let them serve as an excuse to slack or not work her hardest. She said that she deals with the emotional side of injury by keeping composure and pushing through. She has applied this mindset to the challenges that COVID-19 has imposed on her athletic career as well.
“When I first heard that our season was being postponed, I was like, ‘Well that sucks,’” said Wetzel. “But it kind of gave me a chance to better myself before we start[ed the season], because every preseason I manage to pull something or I’m never prepared but because we are in the spring. I feel like I have this whole fall to prepare myself.”
Though COVID-19 postponed the women’s soccer season, which typically plays in the fall, to the spring. The team is excited to kick off the season on March 18 at Kalamazoo at 4 p.m.