To end the 2021-2022 LMU Club Sports seasons, the organization held its 13th annual Club Sports Awards. This was the first year club athletics at LMU have experienced some sort of normalcy since the pandemic cut their year short in 2020.
Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to men’s ice hockey senior Austin Billings.
“I didn’t really know I was elected as a possibility to win it. So it was very surprising and nice to hear people voted for me, ”said Billings.
As captain of the team, Billings led the Lions to a historic season on the ice, finishing the season 19-7-1 while winning a conference title. Their historic season didn’t stop at just a 6-0 conference record – the squad used their momentum to pull off big upsets on the big stages.
“My favorite moment was when we won our first game in regionals against East Texas Baptist because it was our first win in regionals history. The team really dug deep and we pulled out a big upset, ”said Billings.
Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to senior Leila Robinson from women’s soccer.
“I felt very grateful. I felt very honored. I had nominated some of my teammates and to be selected among them was really special because I really look up to them as athletes too. I put a lot of work into the club – it felt nice to get recognized, ”said Robinson.
Robinson has been a part of the team since her freshman year. She had played soccer all through high school and was going to play in college, but she decided not to. She thought playing club soccer would be a good way to continue playing as well as meet new people. Since then, Robinson has become one of the senior leaders on the executive board.
Women’s club soccer didn’t have their ideal season this year, but they focused on their highs and the memories they made with each other.
“It’s been a tough season – we play a lot of big schools so we had some tough losses. We did beat [California State University] Channel Islands maybe a month ago now. That was probably the best moment of the season. We played really well for the whole game too – it was really rewarding, ”said Robinson.
Athlete of the Year wasn’t the only award Billings and Robinson took home from the awards. Billings and the men’s ice hockey team won Sport Club of the Year.
“I always knew we would win best club [Sport Club of the Year]. In my opinion, we should be labeled higher than a ‘club’ team due to the fact that we are out of state every 3 weeks and are on the ice almost the same amount of time we are in the classroom during the weeks, “said Billings. “Tyler [Goeckner-Zoeller]our GM runs our team and scheduling perfectly so we are very organized and we have great students who come fill the stands. “
Robinson was also awarded Club Officer of the Year for her leadership in women’s club soccer.
“It’s so special, It’s so awesome. When I think about it I can’t stop smiling – which is kind of cheesy. I put a lot of time into the team – it was really hard missing two years with the pandemic. Trying to bring the club out of the pandemic and still get a lot of girls to join and keep people attending was definitely challenging. Me, Christine [Wooler]Anabelle [Franks] and the other e-board members all worked really hard, ”said Robinson.
Both Billings and Robinson are in their last years with their respective teams and have big hopes for the direction of their program heads.
“I have a lot of hope. I think we can only go up from this season – a lot of room for growth. We elected what’s going to be a really good e-board, we have like a bigger e-board for next year, ”said Robinson.
“The team we left behind is set up for so much success compared to the team my class and I walked into my freshman year. They really will surpass the late normal record and performance of LMU hockey regardless of our record-breaking season this year. They will just continue to break records, ”said Billings. “I would say enjoy every single practice, flight layover, gym days and bag skate because once they are gone, even the non-glamorous events you will miss. Cherish it as long as you can because it will go so fast. “