From Staff Reports
RICHARDSON — Acts of sportsmanship in competition, on campus and within the community earned Beau Billings and Mullika Seekhieo of East Texas Baptist University and Marlee Blackwell of Belhaven recognition as the 2018-19 American Southwest Conference Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Athletes of the Year, the ASC announced Wednesday.
The ASC Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Award honors each year a male and female student-athlete who best display attributes of sportsmanship, leadership, citizenship and academic integrity in his or her athletic, academic and life pursuits. The conference Directors of Athletics present the annual awards.
Billings, a senior from Mansfield, is a three-time American Southwest Conference Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year Award winner and is an All-ASC First Team member for cross country. The three-time Academic All-Conference selection has competed in two NCAA Regional Championships and helped ETBU to their top their best program finish of third in the 2018 ASC Cross Country Championships.
This past season, Billings had three top 10 finishes, claiming eighth at the ASC Championships. In track & field, he was third in the 1,500 meter run as the Tigers finished in third place with the most points in program history. A member of the Dean’s List since his freshman year, he is also a two-time member of the President’s List and has earned an ETBU Honors Scholarship and biology scholarship.
He has led team Bible studies and workouts, volunteered his time as a distance track coach at Marshall High School for both boy’s and girl’s teams, and helped at a local pet shelter.
“Beau has exemplified sportsmanship all four years as a runner at ETBU, not only towards his team mates but to every other runner in our conference,” said Tiger coach Natalie Bach-Prather. “At one race he even sacrificed his own time to assist a runner over the finish line who had fallen. He has a good attitude no matter the circumstances, wishes people good luck, and congratulates others after each race. He has been a model student athlete, and is well deserving of the sportsmanship of the year award.”
Seekhieo, a senior from Tyler, helped ETBU to their first ASC East Division Championship and were ASC Championship runners-up this season. She was an All-ASC East Division Season Team selection this year and the Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor recipient.
She was a member of the 2017 ASC champion and has been a four-year student-athlete at ETBU. The three-time All-ASC selection helped the Tigers to their first ever NCAA Championship appearance. In the East Division, she is a four-time All-ASC First Team selection, earning three in singles play and one in doubles and has been the Player of the Week once. She has helped the Tigers into the regional rankings the past three years with the program being national ranked as high as 34th in 2017. Outside of athletics, Seekhieo has volunteered her time at several places including Crockett Elementary and Sam Houston Elementary schools, the Special Olympics, and Hear for the Hungry.
She is the vice president of the Service Sorority Delta Pi Theta, a member of the Chemistry Club, and a biology laboratory assistant.
“One of the most respectful girls and best sports players that I have ever coached,” said ETBU head coach Jeff Bramlett. “Always very positive, she plays more out balls than anyone that I have ever coached. She will never be accused of cheating. Never complains about where I play her in line up or who she plays doubles with. She is the consummate team player. Win or lose, always very respectful.”
“Beau Billings and Mullika Seekhieo have been the model ETBU student-athletes since their freshmen year as Tigers,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Ryan Erwin. “Both of them were given the ETBU ASC Medal of Honor this past year, which is a testament to how they excelled in the classroom and in competition, but also on campus as servant leaders among his peers, teammates and competitors. They have shown a heart for service and have continually served those around him in a number of ways.”