After many years of arduous attempts at making conference tournaments, K’s athletic teams are now competing in the MIAA tournament in nearly all their varsity sports. This is not only beneficial to the athletes competing day in and day out, but it also has an effect on K’s community climate altogether.
Roughly 25 percent of the students at Kalamazoo College play a varsity sport collegiately. This number does not include men’s club lacrosse or either of the Frisbee teams. With at least one fourth of the campus being involved in athletics, it can be seen how a positive performance in one sport or another can have a lasting impact on the campus community. Athletic Director Kristen Smith says, “It’s really important the role athletic experience plays on a small liberal arts campus.”
MIAA statistics have shown that playoff and conference championship games draw much larger crowds than regular season events. At K, this has proven to be the case whether the playoff game is at home (in Kalamazoo) or elsewhere. In the winter, the women’s basketball team made the conference tournament for the first time ever. The College filled up two vans of students that went away to Hope to support the team. Coach Katie Miller says, “It really means a lot to the girls when our students are out and in support.”
This was not the only case of increased support in recent years. For senior night this winter, the natatorium was overflowing with students wanting to support both the men and women swimmers and divers.
These strong crowds have become commonplace for K sports in recent years, as the athletics department has become more and more successful with each waning year. One student, sophomore Tim Antel’17 says, “If you have a successful program in any sport you are able to draw in recruits and those recruits are students too. They will all add to the campus community.”
Another benefit of having the more successful sports teams on campus is the benefit of giving students a reason to go to games. Many people will tell you it’s not fun to go watch your friends lose, but that is becoming less and less the case now at K.
In an example long set by the tennis team (77 years in the making), the other K sports teams are following the trend of competing for MIAA championships.