Tufts University Athletes Discuss Why They Chose Division III

By Jo Clair

MEDFORD - The NCAA is celebrating Division III week from April 7-13.  The purpose of this week is to recognize and celebrate the impact and achievements of all student-athletes on every Division III college campus.  To capture what it means to be a student athlete here at Tufts, we asked a few of them why they chose Division III ...

Emma Roberson, Sophomore, Women’s Basketball

“I chose Tufts and Division III so that I could have a college experience that includes basketball at a competitive level, a great education, and time for extracurricular activities.  Since no one's on scholarship I get to play with people who are there because they truly love the sport and want to be there. It's easy to show up to practice every day knowing I'm playing with a group of girls who enjoy being there just as much as I do. At Tufts, I have the opportunity to continue playing the sport that I love while preparing for a future outside of basketball after graduation.”

Johann Schmidt, Senior, Men’s Swimming & Diving

“I chose Tufts because it had everything I desired in my college search - a strong sciences program with liberal arts focus, a community-involved suburban area, Division III athletics with the prospect of playing two sports, and a diverse student body, racially and geographically.

I love competing at the Division III level because it is the perfect amount of competitiveness and commitment. While I do spend about four hours a day devoted to lifts, practice, and stretching, I do not feel like my coaches or the school owns me. Additionally, there are a variety of talent levels on our own team as well as other athletes we compete against throughout the season. Never have I felt my potential has been limited. At the end of the day, I am competing with the best in the country at Nationals, many who have made the same choice to attend a Division III community. Division III NCAA's is an amazing experience that few athletes get to participate in. I have traveled to Tennessee, Indiana, and Texas, made some amazing swimming and diving friends, eaten great food, and visited fun museums and the NCAA Hall of Fame. I would not have been able to experience this at the Division I level, and I am so grateful to have been part of such a positive tournament.

I cannot imagine my life at Tufts, or any academic institution, without athletics. I have made some of my best friends through swimming and diving, as well as club soccer. I have had unforgettable memories with my coaches and teammates at dual meets and NCAA’s. And I have challenged myself beyond my ability to achieve more than I ever hoped. My decision to attend a Division III school, specifically Tufts, has been perfect. Sometimes I do not realize it, but there is no place I’d rather be.”

Alexis Harrison, Sophomore, Women’s Track & Field

“As soon as I stepped onto the Tufts University campus, I knew that it was the right school for me.  I fell in love with the campus and felt welcomed by the students. I admired the academic reputation of Tufts and its close vicinity to Boston. It was important to me to continue running track and field in college and that played a big part in my decision as well. The Tufts University Women’s Track and Field team accomplished many great feats and I wanted to be a part of that. I couldn’t have made a better decision.

I love running track and field at Tufts because the team is a family to me. Knowing that all of the hard work and effort we put in at practice every day pays off in the end is a feeling I will never tire of. I have made lifelong friends and memories while doing a sport that I’m passionate about. The lessons I’ve learned while participating on the track and field team can be applied to my everyday life. Division III sports are unique because it is a division filled with student-athletes who are dedicated to balancing their commitment to academics as well as their commitment to sports. A Division III student-athlete doesn’t play for money or for fame, but plays for the satisfaction of knowing they give 110-percent to everything they do in life. I am continually impressed by the amount of enthusiasm Tufts athletes bring to practice, their schoolwork, and their community. I am proud to be affiliated with Tufts University athletics and the Division III sports community.”

Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of student-athletes on and off the field at Fan the Fire on this Saturday, April 12.  Come see the baseball, softball, and men’s lacrosse teams in action, while recognizing the resilience of the Tufts Marathon Team and supporting the NESCAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Respect The Game initiative.