It was the small campus, the athletics program and the accessibility office at St. Thomas University that caught Sarah Hickman’s eye.
Being from the small town of Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia, Hickman wanted to transition to a university with the same small-town feel. STU fit the bill.
Now, in her third year, Hickman is honouring in sociology, majoring in fine arts and pursuing a concentration in music.
Hickman is a wing for the women’s soccer team, and also runs for the women’s track and field team.
“The minute I heard that I could play soccer and run track, I was sold. I was like, ‘I am going to St. Thomas,’ because I can’t picture my life without sports.”
She was nervous to join the soccer team in her first year, being the only rookie. However, that quickly changed as she bonded with her teammates.
“The team here is literally my second family. I love them so much and they support me and I support them with everything we do,” she said.
“Doesn’t matter whether we’re on the field or off the field. But you could look up to any one player even if they’re a rookie.”
This is her third year being a STU Tommie, but soccer has been a part of her life since she was three-years old.
“My parents wanted me to do something, and they stuck me in a bunch of recreational sports, and soccer just kind of stuck.”
She started running track in Grade Nine when she was searching for a sport to play in the spring. She first tried rugby, but didn’t enjoy it. Then the track and field coach at her high school, King’s-Edgehill Boarding School in Windsor, Nova Scotia, approached her and said, “You’re fast.”
She went to a meet, ran and fell in love with it.
“Sports in high school were huge, being part of a [Division 1] school where we try to be the best at everything. It was pretty big.”
Aside from soccer and track and field, Hickman snowboards and teaches part-time at Crabbe Mountain in the winter. She also quit highland dancing just two years ago after dancing for 11 years.
Balancing several practices a week, for both track and field and soccer can be tough. Then when games are thrown in, it’s a full schedule, she said.
Despite that, Hickman manages by planning ahead.
“I plan my months well in advance. I get all my schedules sorted out,” she said.
“Around July, I have my fall, September schedule worked out.”
As always, Hickman has goals she’s hoping to conquer this year.
For soccer, she wants to help her teammates and perform her best.
“I just want to be a good teammate on and off the field, and my overall goal as a player is to be a playmaker on the field and I feel as though I’m doing that well so far.”
As for track, it’s about bonding with her team and outrunning the competition.
“It’s a really big rebuilding year for us, so just like getting close with everyone who’s new and also who’s returning. And personally, running the best I can, and breaking some records, maybe.”
Hickman hopes to build her personality while playing for STU as well. She believes playing on a team helps athletes, like herself, improve communication skills and self-advocacy.
“It’s everything I could have dreamed of and then some.”