Scripps is known for its rigorous academics, and its incredibly talented student-athletes are making a name for the College, too. Students involved in the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) athletics program, a partnership between Scripps, Claremont McKenna, and Harvey Mudd Colleges, are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Conference, which includes 180,000 student-athletes at 450 institutions. Scripps students have the opportunity to play 11 varsity sports, including basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. The program offers a competitive athletic environment while still allowing players to prioritize their studies.
The ability to participate in CMS athletics is one of the many opportunities that come with being part of the Claremont consortium. Scripps student-athletes make lasting connections with their own community, as well as with students from across The Claremont Colleges.
“As an athlete at Scripps, I have been able to create a balance between a traditional Scripps experience and a 5C experience,” says Laura Broderick ’18, a runner who recently placed in the top-10 at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Cross Country Championships.
“Many of my teammates do not go to Scripps, so I am not as hesitant to take classes off campus or to spend time at the other colleges,” says Broderick. “At the same time, having these off-campus experiences has made me appreciate how supportive and encouraging the Scripps community is.”
CMS softball coach Betsy Hipple believes the three-college team provides a one-of-a-kind environment for the athletes to grow together. “We love the dynamics of our joint athletic program because it allows our team members to bring different academic experiences to our dugout and our collective weave.”
While academics are the priority for Scripps athletes, many find that the skills they gain while playing sports translates to the work they do outside of their teams. According to Jennifer Lehr ’17, a member of the cross country team, “the discipline it takes to run 12 miles on a Sunday morning when the sun is just rising is oddly similar to the kind of discipline it takes to grind out essays, problem sets, and long readings,” she says. “As a student athlete, you kind of get to kill two birds with one stone. Both experiences make you sharper, more determined, and more confident in your own abilities if you put an honest effort in.”
Women’s soccer coach Keri Sanchez has seen many valuable skills develop in her players as they have worked together and grown as teams. “You learn to accept and work with people who are different than you yet share a common passion. You learn how to thrive under pressure. You learn to be unselfish. You learn to be persistent, resilient, dedicated, and committed.”
The hard work and dedication Scripps student-athletes put into their respective sports clearly pay off. For the past seven years, CMS has been at the top of the women’s all-sports standings for SCIAC and contributed to the whole CMS program winning the SCIAC All-Sports Trophy for 26 of the last 30 years. The fact that CMS has the ability to draw from three different pools of athletes means that its teams are consistently some of the best in the league. As Sanchez says, “I do not believe our team dynamics change any from being composed of students from three schools. I think it is an advantage to be able to recruit players interested in one of the three schools versus recruiting to one school specifically.”
What many Scripps athletes say, however, is that the connections they form with their teammates is one of the most significant things they take away from their college experience. Soccer player Mia Siracusa ’17 finds this to be the most rewarding aspect of playing a sport at Scripps. “I felt like I had a family from the beginning, especially because it was a fall sport. I feel tremendous support from my team.”
Softball player Abigail Metsch ’19 also felt a strong sense of community coming in as a first-year student. “My teammates are some of the most uplifting, intelligent, motivated, genuine people I have ever met in my life, and they have all made such a huge effort to reach out to me and make sure my transition into college was a smooth and happy one.”
Championship titles aside, it is the friendships and life skills these athletes gain that make balancing sports and schoolwork all worth it at the end of the day.
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