The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Commanding on and off the Court

Photo by Texas A&M Athletics

Alyssa Michalke transitions from Commander of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets to an NCAA athlete playing Division I basketball.

Nearly 140 years after Texas A&M opened its doors, the Corps of Cadets had its first female Commander: Alyssa Michalke. Upon the conclusion of her duties, the College Station native displayed some hidden talents that will come to realization this basketball season.
Before most college students are even thinking about getting out of bed, Michalke would stand in front of thousands of men and women, commanding orders to the Corps of Cadets. At a university so steeped in tradition, Alyssa Michalke has found ways to go against the grain during her entire collegiate career.
Before her stint as Commander, Michalke served as Corps Sergeant Major as a junior and was a member of the Ross Volunteers. She was also named Most Outstanding Freshman and Most Outstanding Sophomore foin her company and brigade. As the first female Commander in A&M history, she has paved the way for her and many other students that wish to go against the norm. Michalke is now the most recent addition to Texas A&M’s women’s basketball team under Coach Gary Blair.
“My freshman year I saw they were going to have tryouts,” Michalke said. “I was already in the Corps and I said, ‘You know what, I’ve already committed to the Corps. I’m going to stick it out with the Corps and see how it goes.’ Through God’s blessing I ended up being chosen to lead the Corps, which was awesome. I knew I had this extra semester and knew if they had tryouts, I’d go give it a shot — the worst they could tell me was no. I decided to come on out, Coach Blair’s coaching staff brought me on and I’m just really grateful for that.”
After four years in the Corps, Michalke is now experiencing her first semester as a non-reg. Before her days as Commander, Michalke established strong roots in competitive athletics. The 5-foot-7 walk on was an All-State and District MVP at Schulenburg High School, where she led the Lady Horns to just one district loss over her junior and senior years. She was a four-sport athlete being selected as an All-District softball catcher along with lettering in golf and cross country. Michalke said there is plenty she learned and misses from the Corps that contributed to her journey in becoming a collegiate athlete.
“Just the camaraderie,” Michalke said. “I was kind of nervous knowing these girls are just amazing athletes and I thought they’d be so superior and just run me out of the building. But they’ve been so supportive and so cohesive and welcoming. I missed the camaraderie after the Corps because I was just a student for the first half of the semester. I missed that sense of teamwork that belongs in the Corps and sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself.”
Despite her inexperience in college-level sports, Michalke has been welcomed with open arms in Reed Arena. The coaches and players can’t say enough about how her strong presence, which has already had a positive influence on the team in just the two weeks that she’s been there. Team captain senior forward Taylor Cooper said Michalke is someone who can lead on and off the court.
“Alyssa is great for us,” Cooper said. “The moment since she stepped in here she’s been a leader. Her being in the Corps, she already has the background. Off the court I think she brings a lot of responsibility. When she speaks she’s one of those people where everybody listens. She has one of those voices where everybody respects what she says and what she has to bring.”
A strong foundation in the Corps helped the former commander develop many qualities that she awaits to apply during the basketball season. After a balancing act between school and extracurricular responsibilities as a commander, Michalke said the hard work and time management is all too familiar.
“A lot of that is just about self-discipline, knowing when you need to study, how much you need to study,” Michalke said. “Especially for these two past weeks that I’ve been here it’s been really fast-paced and a really big learning curve for me. When I was in the Corps it was grades and Corps and now it’s grades and basketball.”

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