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Formosa native signs letter of intent with DePaul University

Formosa native and Sacred Heart High School student Billie Martin has signed her letter of intent to attend DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois this fall. Martin will compete with the university’s women’s track and field team. (Contributed Photo)

Billie Martin is taking

her track and field skills to the NCAA

FORMOSA – A local athlete is taking her talent south of the border this coming fall.

Billie Martin signed her letter of intent to attend DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois last week.

Martin, 18, is a Formosa native and is currently a Grade 12 student at Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton. She will be attending DePaul in the fall on an academic and athletic scholarship as a member of the university’s women’s track and field team.

DePaul’s track and field team competes in the NCAA Division I Big East Conference. Members of the Big East include Butler, Creighton, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier universities, and Providence College.

“I’m really excited,” Martin told the Herald-Times.

The road to DePaul began only four years ago for Martin when she began school at Sacred Heart.

“I just thought I would try it,” she said of her decision to try track and field.

Martin, like many local students, participated in track and field events in elementary school. She was drawn to the throwing events, which high school track and field has a wider variety of.

“I’m definitely not a runner or a jumper,” she said. “Having the opportunity to do more throwing events sparked my interest and I thought I would give it a go.”

As a member of Sacred Heart’s track and field team, Martin competes in shotput and discus. She found immediate success in those events, qualifying for OFSAA every year in school and finishing in the top eight in her events.

However, two years ago while at OFSAA, she met Randy Millar, a coach with the Saugeen Track and Field Club in Port Elgin. Millar invited her to come to the club, a decision she doesn’t regret.

“Once I was there, he introduced me to hammer throw,” said Martin. “It’s now my main event and I absolutely adore it; I think it’s the best event out of all of them.”

Martin also competes in indoor weight throw during the winter months with Saugeen.

Being a top track and field athlete in Ontario gave Martin options when it came to universities, however DePaul was her preferred school based on what Millar told her about the school and track program, as well as her experience during a school visit last fall.

“I got talking with them and went down there in October,” she said. “It’s a great community, it felt comfortable to me… DePaul felt homey to me, which is what I wanted (in a school).”

Aside from university life and the excitement of competing against other top-level student athletes, Martin is excited about living in Chicago and all that city life brings with it.

“I have been (in Formosa) since I was little and have never lived in a city,” she said. “It’s going to be a different experience for me… I’m super excited to meet the people and go touring around. It’s a lovely place and I loved it so much when I went (for the visit).”

Before she begins her time at DePaul, Martin still has her senior year of track and field with Sacred Heart to complete. Her goal for this season is a podium finish at OFSAA.

“I want to be on that podium this year,” she said.

Martin acknowledged that she has been able to get this opportunity to compete in the NCAA because of the support of her friends, family and coaches.

“My mom (Heidi) and my dad (Ryan), my siblings (Rhys, Taylor and Hartley)… they’re so supportive. Also, my coaches Randy Miller and Glenn Elliott. They’re the ones that push me to do my best and they’re there all of the time for practices and competitions. Really, without them, I wouldn’t be going where I’m going,” said Martin. “My friends and school are all so supportive. That’s where I got my start – at Sacred Heart – and that developed into the opportunity that I have been given now.”