In fewer than two semesters at Lorain County Community College, Vanecia Billings has made a name for herself on campus as a two-sport athlete who is earning awards on the court while achieving success in the classroom.
“I know that I focus best when I’m involved in sports,” says the 18-year-old from Lorain. “I was going to have some hard classes in the diagnostic sonography program, so I knew I had to get connected with sports so I could best apply myself.”
The plan is working. She’s doing well in her classes, while also excelling in volleyball and basketball.
Dominating on the court and in the classroom
Billings was twice named Player of the Week for Division III by the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference for her aggressive play on LCCC’s women’s basketball team. In the fall semester, she dominated on the volleyball court for the Commodores, earning OCCAC All-Freshman Team Honors and All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Billings graduated from Clearview High School in 2019. While a senior there, she met LCCC adviser Cynthia Arredondo, who told her about the Students Accelerating in Learning (SAIL) program at LCCC. Students in SAIL receive financial, academic and career support. Billings had been considering going away to college but decided to stay close to home when she was approved for SAIL.
“Coming to LCCC has been a great option for me,” she says. “I love the diversity of professors and other students in my classroom. I’m learning so much in my classes, but also from everyone around me.”
Professor Vincent Granito, Ph.D., who is also head coach of the women’s basketball team, has had an especially large impact.
“Having Coach Granito in class and as a coach is awesome,” says Billings. “He has such a positive energy. Because he understands psychology, he’s able to connect uniquely with all of us on the team. He gives us each a role, and we are able to support each other.”
Billings says for her, the goal is to take on a quiet leadership role. She seeks to improve team morale by helping her teammates whenever possible.
“I see people’s expressions well,” she says. “If I can see that someone is feeling off, I’m going to go over and see what I can do to help.”
As the third of seven siblings, Billings is used to being surrounded by people, making her a natural teammate, Granito says.
“She’s a great asset on the team,” he says. “She plays hard and has established herself as a leader.”
Just as she diversifies in her athletic career, Billings plans to branch out in her professional career. After earning her associate degree in diagnostic sonography at LCCC, she plans to earn a business degree. Playing basketball at a four-year college could be part of the plan, too, she says.
“Starting at LCCC has been a comfortable way to get my feet wet with academics and athletics,” she says. “Here, we are all thriving and working hard. It’s a great first step to whatever my future may hold.”