KINGSTOWN, SVG (BreadFruit News) – One young woman who recently graduated from a university in the US while on a full athletics scholarship is thanking renowned coach Mike ‘Mercy’ Ollivierre for believing in her.
In a Facebook post, she said:
“When I first started track and field, I never imagined the doors it would open for me. Since I was small, I was always active. My family probably knew running was for me, especially, since I use to run away from getting lashes.”
“I navigated high school pretty much still active. I was in the drama club, cadets, and I even played soccer for a local club.”
Like most young people her age, Sorenya Miller was lost as to her purpose or destiny but the intuition of revered coach Mercy Ollivierre who returned to St Vincent after a long successful stint in Jamaica was right as he normally is.
“One thing though, I never had any sense of who I wanted to become. You know some people when they’re in school, they are set on being a doctor, teacher, nurse etc. But not me, I was pretty much going with the motion until I met Mike Mercy Ollivierre. Coach saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. He told me that I had potential but potential in what?”
“So I began training with him in form 4. The commute to Arnos vale was a little bit rough since I was coming from the leeward side of the island and I didn’t have the funds. So I only went twice a week or when I saved up my break money to go. However, it got better when I went to community College because I was closer to the track.”
Miller spoke about her determination to rise above the obstacles she confronted.
“Still a bit aimless but I definitely wanted to know what potential this man was talking about. I may have noticed that I was a good athlete when I won a couple races at community college. I felt like a boss eh, until I went away for my first OECS games and I literally watched the race from the back. Yeah, I came last, but I was determined to get better.”
“After I finished community college, I still continued to train. Many wondered why I was still doing it when I clearly wasn’t going anywhere. But running gave me a sense of purpose. I really wanted to be better and I had a great training group. Respect to them ITDAT guys. We laughed, trained, ate popsicles and died together in practices.”
“I felt like I belonged to that group and around those people because everyone was so positive.”
Her preparation was not only on the track but required academic discipline which included sitting SATs which is a prerequisite to matriculate at most universities in the U.S.
Believing now that she was destined to more, to greatness, though still undefined, she said she took the SAT exam twice “because I didn’t get a good grade the first time.”
“I had to get money to go to regional track meets just so I could get my times down. Thank God for my family and their support with my ventures. I’m hard-headed and once I make up my mind that’s it.”
“I also had to balance the work life and training life. All my money literally went into transportation, training, gym and food. But I was determined to get out. At this point I started to email coaches in the U.S and rarely got responses. My times still weren’t good enough.”
She thanked her family and her support base for supporting her throughout her journey. And while many would have been ecstatic with an 80% scholarship, Sorenya notes that she was not able to pay for the balance.
Her friend who she named as ‘Jummone’ encouraged her to be open and honest with her recruiter who as faith would have it saw an increase in his budget which allowed him to offer a full 100% scholarship giving her the opportunity to pursue her studies and her athletics career.
Her simple message to anyone who will listen is that while you may not have someone who sees your destiny, “don’t let that deter you from achieving your goals. If you want something go for it, others may not see your vision and that’s fine. You’re living your life and not there’s.”
“I wasn’t the fastest and I was average in school work but I was determined. It took one person to see my potential and make me believe that I’m destined for greatness. One day I hope to inspire others like how coach inspired me.”
Last year, Ms Miller graduated Benedict College Summa Cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and left as the most outstanding female track and field athlete for the 2018/19 season.