King's student-athletes receive medals for track and field
April 5, 2019
Written by Leo Aul, Communications Intern
King’s student-athletes Scott Billings and Sara Villani of the Western Mustangs track and field team received medals in their respective events at the U Sports track and field National Championships. Billings won the bronze medal in men’s triple jump with a personal best jump of 14.52m. Villani won the silver medal in women’s shot put with a personal best throw of 15.45m.
“I got a euphoric feeling when I won my medal, mostly because I technically quit track but then I came back and was just able to jump a new personal best. Once I got that big jump, I ran over to my coach and gave him a big hug. I was so happy that even if I didn’t win the medal or came in last, I would have enjoyed the day. The fact that I won a medal just made that day even more memorable,” says Billings, third year student in Sociology with a minor in History at King’s.
Dr. Don Kerr, Professor of Sociology at King’s who taught Billings, shared how proud he is of his Billings' accomplishments. "Scott is a highly engaged student and a pleasure to teach. I continue to be impressed by how many of our students manage to balance their studies with their sport. This leads to a well-balanced life overall, both academics and athletics. Wonderful to see,” Dr. Kerr says. Billings adds, “Professor Kerr talked to me about track and field all the time and he’s always super supportive of what I do. When I was to go to U Sports, I told him I was going to miss the class and he gave me the full notes and was very sympathetic of my situation.”
Sara Villani, a fourth year student in Thanatology and Psychology student at King’s, says “When nationals came around, I never experienced that kind of pressure being high ranked and expecting to get silver behind Olympic medalist Brittany Crew. The pressure got to me by opening with a foul, completing a 13.00m throw to a 15.45m throw. I was so happy that I kept going despite the messy start. I did my job and did what I was supposed to do and executed it well. Having the experience of training with the team helped push me to continuously improve.”
Dr. Lynda Hutchinson, Professor of Psychology at King’s who taught Sara shared how proud she is of her student’s accomplishments. “During Educational Psychology, Sara would describe these deep connections she made between content from our course and her involvement in sports (as an athlete or coach). As a varsity athlete, Sara had the added the task of having to coordinate her academic and athletic goals, and that can be challenging due to the demands of both. I think Sara has been academically successful because she has been working hard to develop and apply effective learning strategies. Congratulations Sara!” Hutchinson says.
“In my Psych of Education class at King’s, Professor Hutchinson was very supportive of me trying new experiences, like when I wanted to try bobsledding. She was very helpful in supporting me to reschedule an exam and supportive of me not giving up on my goals,” says Villani.
Billings, Villani, and the track and field team have been very successful each year in achieving both academic and athletic goals. This sport involves competing as individuals but, as Billings and Villani shared, it is important to have a team to help push you to the next level.
Pictured above is track and field athletes Sara Villani (left), Jordan Mabbott (middle), and Scott Billings (right).