When Alexa Borgman stepped onto her first college campus as a college athlete, something was missing: Her family.
When Borgman transferred closer to home, something was missing: Athletics.
But the West Ottawa graduate didn’t give up on either important factor in her life, eventually joining Grace Christian University as a two-sport athlete in Grand Rapids.
“I started off at Albion, playing volleyball, then I transferred to Davenport and did online classes. I had an offer from Grace and they told me there was always a spot for basketball if I wanted it,” Borgman said. “I decided that was best, then the volleyball coach saw my highlights and wanted me to play, so I started doing both. I like being closer to home. I am really a homebody.
“I feel very lucky and I am very happy to be in this position.”
Borgman redshirted last year and is looking forward.
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“I redshirted and was on the sidelines all year for both sports. I was putting in the same work that everyone else was but wasn’t able to play,” she said. “It lit a fire under me. This is my time and I want to start.”
Very few athletes from the area have been strong enough and good enough to take on two sports at the collegiate level.
“It is kind of crazy to have to balance all that I am doing right now. I take online classes and work as a full-time nanny, then I have four hours of practice a day, going right from volleyball practice to basketball practice,” Borgman said. “It is a lot of work to put in, but I became a lot mentally tougher and more competitive playing both at the same time. I love playing sports, the thrill of everything that I get to do during a game makes me so happy. I don’t know where I would be without sports. I wouldn’t be who I am.”
Borgman grew into her 6-foot-1 frame in high school, but it took until her junior year in basketball and senior year in volleyball to reach the next level as a competitor.
“Volleyball, my junior year I didn’t get much playing time. But senior year I played all the time and I built up more confidence in myself and started doing a lot of things I wouldn’t have done,” she said. “For basketball, it was junior year and we had a really good team. We beat Grand Haven when they were ranked No. 2 in the state. We just couldn’t wait to get to the next game.”
That is how Borgman feels at Grace, whether it be a game, practice or a workout.
Weight training comes into play in college and Borgman has utilized that to improve on her flexibility and leaping ability.
“I have a lot higher vertical than I did in high school. I got a lot stronger both physically and mentally, and I have a lot more confidence in this atmosphere at college,” she said. “VertiMax, box jumps with weights, squats. It all helps. In high school, I really couldn’t get off the ground. They used to joke that they could only slip a piece of paper under my feet when I jumped.”
Adding that leaping ability to a 6-1 frame with an even wider wingspan will help Borgman become a huge factor in both sports at Grace.
“For volleyball, I am able to see over the block now. My arms are completely over the net now. I can see the whole floor over the block and see where I need to swing instead of just hitting into the block and hoping it goes over. Defensively it helps my block. There is nothing more fun than putting up a block and watching it go straight down,” she said.
“For basketball, it helps a lot with rebounds and blocking shots.”
Grace has made the NCCAA national tournament in both sports and Borgman looks to lead the next group of teams to the same level as they challenge for a national championship.
“We lost in regionals in volleyball, but for basketball, we have gone to nationals the past four years. I was there watching and I am so ready to contribute,” she said. “It would be a dream come true if I could get there again for both sports.”