National D3 week celebrates athletes

Helen Lee, Editor-in-Chief

The Wildcat Student Athletic Advisory Committee will host events to honor Division III athletes as part of the NCAA’s national Division III Week.

“Every year the NCAA likes to honor Division III athletes by holding a D3 Week. In years past, we haven’t really done anything with it, but this year we decided to get more involved with it and celebrate being a Division III athlete,” said Courtney Alley, SAAC’s president.

The SAAC’s events will also contribute to fundraising goals for the Open Arms Organization, which aims to build a track complex and soccer field in Kenya. The fundraising is a continuation of SAAC’s efforts for the 2013-2014 school year. The committee raised $855 in February, according to senior and track team captain, Alley.

“The talent show, for example, is two dollars to get in. All the proceeds go to the Open Arms Organization, which is our year-long philanthropy,” Alley said.

The events include a talent show on April 7, a coin drive throughout the week, and a barbecue for all student athletes.

Junior and swim team SAAC representative Ian Coker explained the motivations for D3 Week, saying that it’s about acknowledging all the hard work athletes put in.

“D3 week recognizes what student athletes do, and it’s nice to feel like there’s a national week dedicated to us [D3 athletes],” Coker said.

The significance of D3 Week is also about celebrating students’ lives beyond athletics, Coker said.

“The talent show is great because you’ll get to see what these teams are like off the field. You’ll see what talents they have other than their sport. It’ll be nice for students to come and recognize them as people with other talents than just athletics,” Coker said.

Alley commented on the difficulty of integrating D3 Week into the Linfield community, and expressed her expectations for the week’s success in the future.

“It’s difficult because we have all these great ideas, but everyone’s busy. So, it’s not hard to set the events up through the school. School-wise, it’s easy to get things planned. The hard part is getting athletes who can make the time to participate,” Alley said.

The SAAC president has high hopes for the week’s success, and stressed its importance.

“Of course I’d like to hope that it will grow, for it to be a big thing that people are excited about. I want people to be able to be proud that they are D3 athletes, and be excited for this opportunity to celebrate it,” Alley said.

Student athlete biographies will also be circulated by the SAAC during D3 Week. Each SAAC representative chose individuals from every team that “embodied the vision of Division III,” Alley said.

These biographies are an aspect of D3 Week that enables the SAAC to “give more attention to not necessarily the best athlete on the team, but that person who works hard academically. A lot of the time, the ‘student’ part of ‘student athlete’ gets a little bit blurred,” Alley said.

Although the NCAA has put on a National D3 Week every year since 2010, this is the first year Linfield will actively participate in it.

“The athletic department always technically has a D3 Week, but no one’s ever tried to make it a campus-wide thing before. It’s just never something that has caught on at Linfield,” said Alley.

National D3 Week will run from April 7 to April 13.

“At Linfield, where there’s such an emphasis on academics, sometimes when you’re tired and you’re practicing a lot and you’re trying to balance everything, you’re a little underappreciated as an athlete. It’s nice to know there’s a week out there when you can feel special about yourself and what you do,” Coker said.

Helen Lee can be reached at [email protected]