Lipscomb University

04/17/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/16/2024 23:55

Graduate Spotlight: Borland balances academic goals with setting records on the track

Graduate Spotlight: Borland balances academic goals with setting records on the track

Kim Chaudoin | 04/17/2024

With graduation on the horizon, Colbi Borland, a distance runner for the Bison cross country and track & field teams, is reflecting on a successful academic career and an exciting experience as a student athlete.

In May, she will graduate from Lipscomb University with an undergraduate degree in dietetics. Although she sees the finish line in sight, Borland is ready to keep going the distance as she uses her Covid-19 year of eligibility to continue running for the Bisons and enrolling in Lipscomb's graduate education program to earn a teacher licensure this fall.

"At the beginning of fall semester, I discovered that my passion is to be an elementary teacher. I have always loved being around children and knew I wanted to work with them in some way," shares Borland. "I loved my time studying dietetics but felt this constant call that I was meant to pursue teaching. It's a great opportunity to pursue licensure while using my final year of eligibility."

A native of Sunbury, Ohio, Borland chose Lipscomb when looking for her college home because of its unique blend of athletics, academics and faith-a decision catalyzed by engaging interactions with the university's cross country coach and team members.

"I wanted to run cross country and track at the collegiate level but also was looking for a school that not only focused on athletics and academics but also faith," she explains. "After talking to Coach (Nick) Polk and meeting the girls on the team, I knew that Lipscomb felt like home and was where the Lord wanted me to be."

Borland chose to pursue a degree in nutrition because it blended her passion for helping people with her interest in nutrition and the different ways it impacts everyone. Entering Lipscomb in fall 2020, she did so in the midst of the global pandemic and did not know what to expect of campus life.

"As a freshman in 2020, I was really unsure what my college experience would be like, especially considering the limitations brought by the pandemic," she recalls. "However, I was fortunate enough to have the most amazing professors in the nutrition department that made a constant effort to get to know me as a student and person."

Since that time, Borland has flourished as she has balanced a rigorous academic schedule with the demands of being a NCAA Division I athlete.

I knew that Lipscomb felt like home and was where the Lord wanted me to be. - Colbi Borland

"I definitely have had to develop better time management skills over the past few years, especially in season when we are traveling every other weekend," she says. "At times, it gets overwhelming trying to prioritize school and running. However, it is manageable, and I have had the most amazing experience being a part of the program. Being a part of this program has truly been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I am so grateful even when the days get busy."

Borland has enjoyed success as a student athlete. She was a member of the women's cross country team that made program history in November as they claimed its first team at-large bid to the NCAA Div. 1 National Cross Country Championships where they finished No. 11 in the nation. She has set many records of her own. During the 2022 track & field season, she won first place in the 3000m at the PNC Bank Bellarmine Classic with a 9:34.25, the second-fastest time in women's indoor program history, and took first place in the 3000m at the Outdoor Music City Challenge with a personal best time of 9:31.06, the second-fastest time in women's outdoor program history. In March, she set a new program record in the 10,000M race at the Raleigh Relays coming in first in the ASUN by more than three minutes.

"I love being a student athlete because it gives me the opportunity to not only continue pursuing the sport that I love and compete with my amazing teammates, but also gives me the opportunity to learn and receive a higher education," she explains. "Along with this, being a student athlete has taught me many valuable lessons that I will carry with me forever, such as organization, time management, focus and finding balance."

Throughout her academic and athletic journey, Borland has been deeply inspired by her teammates and coaches. "My teammates inspire me every day and I am constantly pushed by them to improve. They are my best friends, and being able to do life with them, even at 6 a.m. practices, brings me so much joy," she says.

The support from her coaches and the flexibility of her professors, especially during travel for competitions, has been invaluable.

"I am so thankful for all of the people I have met here at Lipscomb, they all have truly shaped my experience here," Borland shares. "I have been able to grow in so many ways since first stepping foot on campus. Lipscomb and the community here have given me the opportunity and support to grow as a student, an athlete and also in my faith all of which have changed my life in so many ways."

"Coach Polk has impacted me so much by simply believing in me and investing so much in our program and helping us grow as athletes," she continues. "The nutrition professors have also impacted me in so many ways. I love them so much and appreciate everything they have done for me and how flexible they are when it comes to my schedule as an athlete."

Reflecting on her imminent graduation, Borland shares a mix of emotions. "It feels bittersweet. It truly feels like yesterday that I made my college decision," she says. "I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I reflect on my time at Lipscomb, but am so excited for the future and next steps."