Last week, Gustavus celebrated NCAA Division III Week, which is a week to celebrate the unique Division III student-athlete experience. For forty years, Division III athletics have offered strong competition along with academic excellence and the time to pursue other interests outside of athletics.
Division III is the NCAA’s largest division, with more than 440 members, 40 conferences, and 170,000 student athletes. This special week on campus is an opportunity for those involved in Division III athletics to observe the impact of athletics on the college campus as well as on the community.
The week was jam packed with activities in which student-athletes could participate. The first activity was an etiquette dinner sponsored by Northwestern Mutual on Monday. All coaches and athletes were invited to attend this dinner. There was a good turnout for this event, which is known to be a big hit each year.
On Tuesday night, the athletic department held a team window painting contest in the cafeteria. Many of the athletic teams on campus participated in this event, including men’s football, men’s baseball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, track and field, golf, and nordic skiing.
On Thursday, the athletics department was supposed to host an event called Gustie Athletes Meet Employers (GAME), where representatives from different employers visit Gustavus to have lunch and talk with student-athletes. This year, Gustavus was scheduled to host representatives from Aerotech, ACR Homes, and Securian, but the event had to be rescheduled due to poor weather conditions.
Friday was jersey day on campus where both students and student-athletes were encouraged to wear their favorite sports jerseys. The Student Athlete Advisor Committee (SAAC) was in the cafeteria and handed out candy to all who participated in jersey day. SAAC then hosted a dance in the Dive that same evening. There was a big turnout in the Dive that night where many Gusties who were in attendance wore their favorite jerseys.
SAAC also hosted a week long service event called Pennies for Patients. There were donation cans placed around the Campus Center, Lund Center, and at all the athletic events that were present on campus. Pennies for Patients asked for loose change, which was used to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The money raised will be used to fund blood cancer research and patient programs.
The final day of Division III Week was Saturday, which was Attend a Gustie Athletic Event Day. Track and field, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and baseball were all set for action. Unfortunately, weather conditions caused many athletic events to be cancelled or postponed. For baseball, the Gusties’ double header against Hamline was postponed. The double header was played at Gustavus on Tuesday, April 16. Track and field was forced to cancel their home meet, the Lee Krough Invitational due to six inches of snow and ice covering the track. Track and field will be competing on Saturday, April 20 at the Carleton Relays in Northfield.
The weather was not an issue, however, on Saturday for the men’s and women’s tennis teams. The Gustavus men competed on Saturday against Augustana, the University of Chicago, and St. Cloud State University and won all three matches 7-2, 7-2, and 8-1. The Gustavus women won both of their matches on Saturday as well, defeating Bethel 9-0 and Saint Mary’s 8-1.
Despite the weather conditions this week, NCAA Division III week had many participants. Many students and faculty who are associated with the athletic programs on campus enjoyed the events and made it a successful week.
“Overall, it can be a tricky week with everyone coming back from Spring Break, but there was plenty of participation, which made for a successful week,” Sophomore Heather Goff said.