EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Brittney Gibbs is a Cougar on the move. And that's the way the junior, an integral member of the SIUE women's track team, likes it. She always seems to be in the middle of things.
The Toronto, Ontario, Canada, native is a prominent part of the Kimmel Leadership Awards Ceremony, set for 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 24 in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom on the SIUE campus. She will receive the Unsung Hero honor for her vital behind-the-scenes contributions.
"It means a lot to me because it's something I wasn't expecting to win," said the 5-foot, 7-inch Gibbs, a long and triple jumper. "It's like a service award, and it really lifted my mood when I heard about (winning) it."
She's in charge of the Cougar Cup competition, a friendly points battle among SIUE squads. Gibbs, a health education major, also is a member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, which oversees Cougar athletics. Brianna McCarthy of Compliance and Student Services nominated Gibbs, one of four finalists, for the award.
"I like to be involved in things and make a difference," Gibbs said.
There's no doubt that Gibbs is doing that, pointed out Michelle Welter, SIUE's Associate Director of the Kimmel Student Involvement Center.
"Brittney has taken on many extra duties without a lot of recognition. She's extremely active and has really done a lot with the Cougar Cup, especially since she didn't have an official role," Welter said. "She has done a lot behind the scenes and made significant contributions to different organizations."
SIUE assistant track coach Joey Pacione said Gibbs is packed with energy and is a difference-maker.
"She is an incredibly high achiever and sets high expectations for herself on and off the track. That's nice to see," Pacione said.
He quipped, "Anything she decides to do – well, good luck in trying to stop her."
Pacione said Gibbs is a good fit for the Unsung Hero award, which focuses on athletes working in secondary leadership roles.
"It doesn't surprise me that she won it," Pacione said. "Brittney likes to be productive with her time."
Her production on the track includes steady progress in the long and triple jumps. She has soared 41 feet, 8.75 inches in the triple jump and 19-2.75 in the long jump.
"My goal is to make it to nationals and go as far as I can in the triple jump and set a personal best in the long jump," Gibbs said.
Off the track, she intends to maintain her prolific pace.
"I like keeping busy," said Gibbs, who also is involved in numerous church activities. "I really started getting involved with things at SIUE my sophomore year and I have gotten my routine down now. I'm happy with what I'm doing here. I want to continue to improve in track and I like being a mentor and getting involved in things. I love it at SIUE."