By: Audrey Kough, Campus Sportswriter
APR. 8, 2023 - The week of Apr. 10-16 is national Division III week. This week is where colleges and universities across the country celebrate Division III athletic programs and recognize the athletes that participate in them.
The Washington & Jefferson College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is participating this week through social media. On Instagram each day, student-athletes are encouraged to share a picture that goes along with the prompt of the day. For example, on Tuesday, Apr. 11, the prompt is “Throwback Day” where athletes are supposed to post pictures of themselves playing their sport in high school.
Division III week is important to celebrate to shine a light on athletes' hard work. Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) offers 23 men and women’s NCAA varsity sports. With a variety of athletic options from sports played on the court, field, or pool, the Presidents excel in all types of competitions. Honoring Division III week, student athletes have been interviewed throughout the week, sharing their experiences in the DIII environment.
Senior women’s water polo player Jillian Curtis offers her take on being in Division III athletics for her whole college career. Curtis explains why she chose to play at the D3 level.
“I choose D3 because it allowed me to be a well-rounded individual,” said Curtis '23 “In D3, a person is encouraged to prioritize academics which is a value that I share.”
Curtis offers an inside take about what she loves about being in a D3 program.
“I love how close my team is and how we all truly want to see everyone improve,” said Curtis ’23. “We’re all dedicated to playing our best possible game.”
“I love how close my team is and how we all truly want to see everyone improve. We’re all dedicated to playing our best possible game.” - Jillian Curtis ‘23
Next, sophomore softball player, Mackenzie Boyd ‘25, offers her own perspective on Division III.
She says she chose Division III athletics because, “I know it is a smaller team and I wanted a coach and team that was going to care not only about me as a player, but as a person as well.”
Boyd said that her coaches and fellow players on the softball team care about her on and off the field, and both players and coaches are willing to help and support her in completing her goals. Boyd shares this as one of many benefits of playing at a D3 level.
“The coaches care a lot about you as a person. It’s like a family away from home,” said Boyd ’25 “Being away from your family can be scary for some, but on a smaller campus, and a smaller team, you really have a sense of family here.”
“Being away from your family can be scary for some, but on a smaller campus, and a smaller team, you really have a sense of family here.” -Mackenzie Boyd ‘25
Next, freshman men’s tennis player, Alex Duing’26, explains why he chose to go D3.
“My main reason was I could not imagine myself not playing a sport, and being by different schools to play tennis competitively for four more years was something I couldn’t pass up,” said Duing
Duing ’26 appreciates the fact that playing D3 allows him to focus on school and have a life outside of athletics, while continuing to play tennis. He says this is something that would be more difficult to do at the DII or DI level.
“I would say the fact that it is people who just really enjoy playing their sport and that it does not consume your whole life makes D3 special.” says Duing ’26.
Lastly freshman men’s lacrosse player, Anthony (AJ) Dispirito ‘26, explains the reason he chose to go D3.
“It was really important for me to be able to time manage, and Division III allows me to be able to earn my degree while simultaneously playing the sport I love,” said Dispirito.
“It was really important for me to be able to time manage, and division III allows me to be able to earn my degree while simultaneously playing the sport I love.” - AJ Dispirito ‘26