Release courtesy of David Buck, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, The University of Findlay
FINDLAY, Ohio - In the 40 years since Title IX passed, there have been a number of standout women to compete in athletics at The University of Findlay. Arguably one of the best is former track and field star Kirby Blackley.
Blackley dominated during her time with the Oilers on the track and in the classroom. The 2008 NCAA Division II Athlete of the Year, Blackley also captured the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award as a senior, which is only given to eight student-athletes across all divisions based on athletic ability and achievement, academic achievement and character, leadership and extra-curricular activity involvement.
"I never would have had the opportunity to compete and be successful in sports had it not been for the sacrifices and struggles of those women who came before me," said Blackley. "I am very appreciative of those individuals and Title IX gave me an avenue to showcase my abilities while also allowing me the freedom of choosing what I want to do with my life."
The Cincinnati, Ohio native won two national championships as a senior in 2008 as she captured gold in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles during the outdoor competition, just a short time after suffering a serious knee injury.
"I injured my knee at the outdoor championship during my junior year, but by the grace of God I was able to come back stronger and compete for those national titles," said Blackley. "My parents instilled in me the belief of never quitting and my coaches and teammates pushed me during my recovery to the fullest extent."
Among her many accomplishments on the track, Blackley was named the 2008 Indoor and Outdoor Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, the 2008 Indoor and Outdoor Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Athlete of the Year and the 2005 GLIAC Field Athlete of the Year.
Blackley was also an Academic All-American during the 2007-08 season and won 14 GLIAC championships during her tenure with the Oilers. She was also named All-American ten times while being voted Academic All-GLIAC three times.
"I could not have asked for a better experience at The University of Findlay," said Blackley. "From the time I stepped on campus for my official visit until the day I graduated, I would not change a thing."
Currently, Blackley is serving as an associate track coach at Wayne State University and will help teach others how to perform at the highest possible level in both the athletic and academic fields of play.
"Whether in the classroom, on the track, court or field, you never want to wonder if you could have done more or live with the regret of not giving your all," said Blackley. "Stay humble because there is always someone who will come along who is bigger, faster, stronger or smarter. Listen to your teachers and coaches because their sole purpose is to help you become the best student, athlete and person that you can possibly be."
Blackley still holds four school records at UF. She holds records in indoor competition for the 55-meter hurdles (7.76) and long jump (19'04.75). In outdoor competition, Blackley is the school record holder in the long jump (20'01.75) and shares a record in the 4x100-meter relay (46.50).