Class of 2011 Hall of Fame Spotlight: Jill Stamison - WMU

Class of 2011 Hall of Fame Spotlight: Jill Stamison - WMU

Provided by WMU

Jill Stamison participated in the track program here at Western Michigan University. She holds three school records in the 800-meter dash, 800-sprint medley relay and the 4x800 yard relay.  Stamison is ranked second in the 600-meter dash, 800-meter dash and the 1,000-meter run respectively.  She is ranked third in the distance medley relay and seventh in the 400-meter dash. 

Stamison was an overall well-rounded athlete.  In 1993, she was named All-American and MAC champion.   Overall in her career, she competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships and finished third in the 800-meter dash and competed in the same event at the Outdoor Championships and finished fourth.  In 1997, she competed at the USATF championships and the World Championships.  She majored in criminal justice and got a master's degree in psychology.  Stamison is from Lake Bluff, Ill. 

We recently had a chance to sit down with Jill and asked her a few questions about her career at Western and what she has been doing since she left. 

Q: Who inspired you to run track?

A: I would definitely say Florence Griffith- Joyner (Flo-Jo).   I thought she was a beautiful runner and I wanted to be like her.  She was the girl at the Olympics with one legged tights.  My step dad is my inspiration. 

Q: What was it like being a student athlete and playing at Western Michigan?

A: Being in a sport helped me get my priorities start.  It helped me keep things organized.  It made it easier to be done in four years.  Always had to be a full time student and took more credit hours to graduate on time.  It was fun and I really loved my time there.   

Q: What is your favorite memory from Western Michigan?

A: Getting together and going to parties after big meets.  That was a lot of fun.  The road trips, going to practice and bonding with girls.  The camaraderie of the team.

Q: What was your most exciting event or race?

A: I would say when I first broke the school record in the 800 for indoor track.  I struggled with confidence and racing.   When I came back for my fifth year, I dedicated myself to ending on a good note.  Each week I kept breaking the school record. Every meet I kept improving on my time.  

Q: What was it like competing in the World Championships?

A: It was so cool.  I made the world team in the 800 and went with the US team to Athens, Greece.  Unfortunately I didn't do well but it was fun.  I am of Greek descent so it was a special trip because I got to meet up with distant cousins.

Q: What have you been doing since you left Western Michigan and how long have you been doing it?

A: After Western I got sponsored by Nike and did that for two years.  I had a seven-year professional career in track and then I had two kids, Olivia (10) and David (5).  I work in a substance abuse program helping women get their lives back on track.  It is a three year program.  I coached a little at Grand Valley.  I talk about the high heel race all the time and I hold the Guinness World Record in it.  It was fun and I did it in 2008 and 2010.  It was a 150 yard dash in three inch heels.  

Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out you were being inducted into the WMU Athletic Hall of Fame and what does it mean to you?

A: I was so excited.  It's been a while and didn't think I would get in.  I am so thankful.  I was super excited and very honored. I'm very proud of it.

Q: What advice would you give to other student athletes?

A: Definitely have fun and make great friends you will have for life.  Just stick it out because there will be hard times with school and pressure for coaches.  You will look back and be grateful that you stuck with it.  Just having a commitment is important.

Q: What do you miss most about Western Michigan?

A: I miss the simplicity of just being a student and an athlete.  I miss the simplicity that's all you have to do is go to school and meets. I also miss the freedom of not having much responsibility. 

Jill would like to thank Western Michigan for their support and giving her this opportunity to be honored for her success and all that she has done at Western. Go Broncos!!!