The Franklin & Marshall scholar-athlete profile features a Diplomat who personifies what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete. The F&M campus is filled with dedicated, passionate, and talented student-athletes who have interesting stories to tell – and it's our goal to let those stories be heard. To be chosen as a scholar-athlete of the month, F&M student-athletes must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and community service, or have a noteworthy story that stretches beyond the realm of athletic competition.
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Alyssa Ward is a multi-tasking stalwart of the Franklin & Marshall College women's track team, but she finds time for numerous activities that do not involve competing for points.
She is a member of the Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow, a group in which members learn leadership skills while receiving mentoring. She is also an officer in Hair Junkies, a loose-knit organization that encourages students to discuss and evaluate healthy hairstyles.
Alyssa spent a full semester in Japan during the fall of 2016 where she studied the Japanese language while working an internship for a company called Japan For Stability. Athletics still played a major role in her life during the time she spent abroad, as Alyssa joined a soccer and volleyball club.
The opportunity also provided her with some crucial recovery time from her traditional year-round sport - track.
"It was great being in Japan during that semester because it allowed me to rest my body and also casually play the sports I competed in during high school.
Japanese is her minor. Her major, which she developed herself, is environmental studies and economics.
"I have really enjoyed F&M," said Ward, a native of Teaneck, N.J. "It's a small campus, but there's a lot of diversity and a lot to do.
"I've made good friends here, and have met some wonderful people. At dinner, I might be eating with someone from Nepal, or Ukraine, or Argentina."
If Alyssa is versatile as a student, she is also multi-talented as an athlete.
The 5-foot-6-inch senior participates in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, the 200 meters, and the 4x100-meter relay.
She owns the school record in the long jump (18'5") and the triple jump (37'8.75").
"I go where I am needed," said Alyssa. "I consider myself a jumper who is capable of running. I do what I can to help the team."
In the 2017 outdoor season, she was formidable. Alyssa accounted for three individual gold medals at the CC Championships, sweeping the jumping events in addition to running the anchor leg for the 4x100-meter relay to total four golds on the weekend. She began the Championships by winning the long jump with a distance of 5.61 meters (18'-5"), destroying the school record by 10.25 inches and bettering her season best by more than half a meter. That same day, she topped the podium again in the high jump, adding another season-best effort of 1.62 meters (5'- 3.75").
The following day, Ward completed her sweep in the triple jump, winning by more than a foot with a distance of 11.24 meters (36'-10.5") before finishing the weekend in the 4x100. For her efforts, she was named the CC Outstanding Field Performer of the Year, marking the second consecutive year that a Diplomat has won the award after Rebecca Swisher also earned the distinction in 2016.
An outstanding performer at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., she said about her transition to F&M, "I chose the College because it was affordable, close to Amtrak, track records were good goals to break, and academics were great. With track I know I can jump further or faster, and it's all about my individual effort, but I can push my teammates to do better than they have done before."
Alyssa's father is a financial advisor, and her mother likely qualifies as her biggest fan. She has two sisters, 13 and 20. "My parents have been so helpful and supportive," said Alyssa. One of the reasons she likes the location of Lancaster is she can get on an Amtrak train, and return to Teaneck to see her family often.
Alyssa says that when the season starts, she works out about two hours per day. She has been a key member of the women's track program for her entire career here.
"It's September to May, and I love the sport," said Alyssa, who plans on going to graduate school. "I try to stay on top of everything, not falling behind but keeping up with classes, activities, and sports so I can get everything done."