LIFE OF A DIVISION III ATHLETE

DANIKA RADEMACHER, KNIGHT WIRE GUEST WRITER

Playing a sport in college had always been one of my dreams.  It would mean having the ability to show myself that all the hard work I had put in while growing up had paid off. 

I did not care what division I played in, as long as I made it somewhere I was going to be happy.

Growing up, I had been a multi-sport athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and softball. I was one of three girls left in my grade by my senior year to still be a multi-sport athlete. I think that it is what helped me become a better overall athlete because it made me versatile and able to use skills from one sport into another.

I chose Wartburg College to continue my academic and athletics because it was a home away from home.

With the volleyball team, I had found my second family at Wartburg. The team’s atmosphere is amazing and everyone there is for each other, which makes our team chemistry even better.

In 2019, the NCAA investigated the percent of high school athletes that continue to compete at the college athletics level. Out of the nearly 8 million high school athletes, more than 480,000 compete at the collegiate level. For women’s volleyball, 3.9 percent of players continue playing at the collegiate level; 1.6 percent play at the Division III level. The Wartburg women’s volleyball team has a roster of 28 players between the varsity and junior varsity teams.

Every typical non-COVID year, our volleyball team moved in two weeks early to have our pre-season practices. During these two weeks, we practiced two or three times a day, depending on how our bodies handle the intense sessions. Each practice of pre-season lasted around two hours, with a two-hour break in between. At the end of pre-season, we had put in over 52 hours.

One of our team mottos is: person, student, athlete. Our coaches pride themselves on making this a priority. If you need to miss a practice for certain reasons, they are very understanding. However, at some points throughout the season it feels as though the term student-athlete turns into athlete-student.

Being involved in a college sport, you expect a lot of time put in, sometimes it feels as though volleyball is our priority with all the things that we must do outside of our two-hour practice. A week with no games and practicing Monday through Friday the team spends around 14.5 hours together training. That includes practice, lifting and film. A lot of our players can be found getting extra reps outside of the 14.5 hours.

Overall, I can say that I am extremely happy that I decided to continue my academic and volleyball career here at Wartburg College. Choosing to play at a Division III level was the best thing to do for my future. I am very happy that my teammates have turned into my second family and people that I can always rely on.

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