Release: April 27, 2011
Contact: Kevin Solan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Player Jillian Santos has excelled in academics, tennis performance
while showcasing leadership role in community involvement amidst
three-year career at BU
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Junior
Jillian Santos has played an instrumental
role in shaping the success of the Binghamton University womens
tennis team over her stellar three-year career. An innate leader
who embodies the spirit of womens tennis, Santos was elected
as Vice President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)
in the spring of 2010. She has served as an exemplary student-athlete
over her three years, earning America East All-Conference and
Academic Honor Roll accolades as a freshman and sophomore. Playing
with a dominant senior trio of Anna Edelman,
Lauren Bates and Yulia
Smirnova, Santos has quietly climbed the programs all-time
wins list to sixth in singles competition (69 wins) and seventh
in doubles play (58 wins).
you describe how you became involved with the Student Athlete
Advisory Committee (SAAC) and what some of your responsibilities
I was involved in SAAC since my freshman year. Seeing what SAAC
was all about, I was very interested in becoming more involved.
My sophomore year, I had the opportunity to participate in the
conference SAAC meeting in November with Bob Nolte (former president
of SAAC) and Cazal Arnett. There, we discussed different rules
and legislature that would apply to all the schools in the America
East. I really enjoyed learning about the SAAC groups at other
schools and gaining perspective on other things that we could
do at our school. Last spring, I was elected vice president.
Some of my responsibilities include attending extra meetings,
helping in event planning and organization. Even though we have
our assigned titles, all of the executive board members help
each other out, and we really work as a team to stay involved
and keep things organized.
participated with the mentoring program College For Every Student.
Can you elaborate on your experience with this program?
I learned about the College For Every Student program from SAAC.
Last semester I was a volunteer mentor for CFES at West Middle
School. Once a week, a group of athletes (not necessarily part
of SAAC) would go to West Middle School and talk to a group of
students, about homework or whatever was on their mind really.
I got involved in it a little later than the start date, so I
was only able to make it a few times but it was a nice experience.
winter, you were a presenter for the STARSportsmanship program.
What was that program all about?
Every SAAC group in the conference has done a sportsmanship presentation
of some sort. The name of the program is STARSportmanship program.
SAAC had tried to do this last year, but there was a lot of weather
related issues. So this year we decided to do it with students
from West Middle School since we had already been working with
them. It was really nice to see familiar faces as I recognized
some of the students from mentoring. During their visit, they
received signed posters of the men's and women's basketball teams.
They heard our presentation about what sportsmanship is. They
also had pizza and got to watch the men's basketball game.
With a major
in psychology, what are your career aspirations?
I think I would be best fit in a career in education. I would
like to be a counselor or an elementary school teacher. I really
enjoy working with children. I do plan on attending graduate
school, I just don't know where yet.
tennis program posted the highest combined GPA among all teams
at Binghamton during the Spring 2009 semester (3.47). How does
the team manage to balance school and athletics so effectively?
We are very proud of our accomplishment last spring semester.
All of us on the team are very dedicated to our schoolwork. We
know that school comes first. We realize that we are lucky enough
to be a part of a team, but we also know that tennis is not a
means to an end. Education and maintaining our grades is our
first priority as a student-athlete.
been your key to success personally in attaining such good grades
while competing for a Division I tennis program?
My key to success in managing my grades while competing is time
management. Organization is crucial to getting everything done
on time and efficiently. I am constantly making to do lists.
My planner is always by my side. I have a big calendar posted
above my desk letting me know when everything is due. I think
trying to stay ahead and using your time efficiently is the most
important thing. If I know I don't have practice or class, but
there is a tournament/competition in the upcoming weekend, I
will try to get all my work done before then. It can be stressful
and overwhelming sometimes, but I try to stay on schedule as
much as possible.
the team adjusted to first-year head coach Libby McGovern?
The team has adjusted to our new coach, Libby, extremely well.
The transition from a male coach to a female coach was very smooth
and it seems to be beneficial for us. We each have an open relationship
with our new coach enabling us to remain committed and work hard
towards our goals. All of our starters have returned this year
and we came so close to winning conference last year, maybe this
change will give us the push we need.
sports did you play growing up?
When I was younger, I participated in dance and gymnastics. I
really loved gymnastics and was sad when I had to stop because
it was too expensive to do both gymnastics and tennis. But tennis
worked out well for me. In my senior year of high school, I made
the varsity volleyball team and I really learned to love and
appreciate the sport. I wish I had joined earlier in high school
and was able to play more, but I always knew that tennis was
my main sport to focus on.
individuals have helped shape your game over the years?
All of my previous coaches have helped shape my game. My first
tennis coach is named Joseph Donnay. He spent hours and hours
working with me. I learned a lot over the years with him. He
still comes to some of the tournaments and matches that are close
to home. My other coach Marvin Dent is really knowledgeable about
the sport. He helped me with different strategies while on the
court. I also owe many thanks to our former Coach Mike Stevens.
I learned so much while he was our coach here at Binghamton.
I improved so much getting more consistent in singles and becoming
much more confident in doubles. Coach Stevens was very encouraging
to me and really took the time to help me harness my game. Other
than my coaches, my family and friends have been an incredible
support group who has helped shape my game tremendously. Most
importantly, my teammates have had a huge role in shaping my
game. When I first came to Binghamton, Anna Edelman, Lauren Bates,
and Yulia Smirnova were known as a very dominant freshman trio.
They all had great records playing at 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
My main goal was just to keep up with them and I have really
learned so much from them. Anna has taught me about playing smarter
using different spins. Lauren taught me about high percentage
playing. Yulia taught me a lot about how far hard work and determination
will get you. I really learned something new every day since
I have been a part of the team. There have been many people who
have added to my success and I thank everyone for all of their
your role models, both athletically and personally?
My athletic role model is Kim Clijsters. She is a former number
1 player who has won the US Open in 2005, 2009, and 2010. She
is my favorite tennis player and there are parts of her game
that I try to emulate. She is my favorite tennis player for many
reasons other than her athletic talent. She was once known to
be the nicest player on the pro-tour. She defies that old saying
that nice guys finish last. Her work ethic also proved to me
that if you don't give up and keep working hard at something,
you can achieve your goal. She lost in the finals of four majors
(all very close) before winning her first major. Many people
thought she would never win a major because of her nerves. But
she pushed through and was able to win three majors and counting.
I hope that our team can take something from her. We have come
so close to winning conference. If we keep pushing ourselves
and keep working hard, I know our time will come and we will
win! Kim Clijsters is also involved in many charities and has
a family. She seems to have her priorities straight and is a
well-rounded person overall.
My sister is also my role model.
She also played on the tennis team here at Binghamton University
for a year. She influenced my decision in coming to Binghamton
because she loved it so much. She just wanted me to have the
same opportunities that she had. She moved to California after
she graduated with a major in asian-american studies and is attending
graduate school at San Francisco State, while teaching. She is
a language arts and religion teacher for grades 6-8. Over the
summer, I worked at her school as an assistant teacher and my
eyes were really opened to the world of education. I think my
sister is one of the bravest and strongest people I know. She
is intelligent, independent, and passionate. She is very caring
and has a big heart. I love her so much. She is my best friend
and I only hope to be able to follow in her footsteps.
best part about playing tennis at Binghamton University?
There is no best part of playing tennis at Binghamton University.
All of it, every single part of it has been an unbelievable experience
for me that I would never trade. I feel so privileged to be on
the tennis team here. I get to do something I love everyday,
while going to school. I am so lucky to be a part of an athletic
community that really supports each other. I just love competing.
I love representing my school. I love practicing. I love my teammates.
I love meeting new people. I love getting involved and making
a difference. I love being a Bearcat.