June 2, 2023

NCAA’s Division III Week, April 1-7

UMW Eagle AthletesMary Beth Mathews, Faculty Athletics Representative and professor of religious studies, shared the following about the NCAA’s Division III week, which runs from April 1-7:

Because UMW is a DIII institution, our student-athletes receive no athletic scholarships whatsoever. They play for the love of the game and the way that sports complement their academic work. The camaraderie, competition, and sense of accomplishment all help fuel the student-athletes’ experiences. Like UMW students who excel in debate, theatre, music, and other activities, UMW student-athletes are driven by a passion for what they do and a love of the opportunities that UMW affords them.

You’ve likely heard of some of the individual competitors or teams through announcements on social media or in the press. I’d like to highlight one individual, Amanda St. Cyr, a senior Psychology major, who plays on our nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse team. Amanda wrote eloquently about how she manages to excel in the classroom and on the pitch, while facing a medical condition:

As I reflect on my experience at UMW, I recognize being a DIII student-athlete has shaped my everyday routine. As we can all relate, every day is a balancing act. It requires constant planning, responsibility, and the ability to overcome adversity.

The combination of athletics, academics, and being a Type-1 diabetic has influenced my ability to adjust and adapt to adverse situations. In my experience, no day is the same. I am constantly having to monitor and correct my glucose levels throughout a day filled with classes, lift, practice, competition, and academic assignments. My greatest takeaway from my collegiate career has been the importance of showing up. Showing up–focused and ready to contribute full effort and provide the best attitude to the given situation. I’ve learned that attitude is everything. Whether it pertains to managing emotional control throughout high and low points, or how one views hardships or successes, one’s attitude can truly impact outcomes. As my Head Coach, Caitlin Moore, says regularly “you are either positive or negative, never neutral.” If one is simply going through the motions, they are hindering not only themselves, but others as well.

I am extremely grateful for the continued support from my coaches, teammates, trainers, and UMW staff. Without their understanding, guidance, and constant belief in my capabilities, my opportunities would have been limited. UMW provides a great sense of community and belongingness. I full heartedly believe the balance between academics and athletics at the DIII level gives student-athletes the ideal college experience. I appreciate the unique aspect of Division 3, which is that student-athletes participate for the sole reason that they have passion for the game.

If you’d like to hear UMW student-athletes themselves, click on the attached audio files, all of which are DIII public service announcements recorded by UMW students and airing this week on local radio station B 101.5. Thank you for your support of the academic/athletic experience here at UMW, and thanks to our student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and faculty liaisons!