Camp Pendleton pair named Marine Corps Athletes of the Year
Camp Pendleton Gunnery Sgt. Quiana Scott is the 2010 Marine Corps Female Athlete of the Year. A basketball player, Scott is currently on assignment in Afghanistan and had to skip a slot on U.S. All Armed Forces squad to fufill that committment. She is shown getting an award from Chief Warrant Officer Gary Conners. (Courtesy photo)
The Marine Corps champions itself as The Few and The Proud.
Camp Pendleton now has The Buff, as two of its own have been named the Marine Corps Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
Winners of the prestigious award are Capt. Robert Hillery and Gunnery Sgt. Quiana Scott.
“I was shocked,” the 29-year-old Hillery said Thursday of getting word of the award earlier this week. “I am not necessarily the fastest guy, but I am consistent. It’s really an honor.”
Scott could not be reached for comment Thursday, as she was carrying out her duties as a personnel chief with Camp Pendleton I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarter’s Group in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
A few weeks ago, Scott was flown back to Camp Pendleton after she was named the base’s Female Athlete of the Year for her role on the women’s basketball team.
She had a per-game average of 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Last year, she was named captain of the Women’s All Marine Basketball Team and subsequently chosen as a member of the All Armed Forces team.
She was unable to join that squad, however, because of her one-year assignment in Afghanistan.
She told a base journalist that like Hillery, she was taken aback when informed of the Camp Pendleton award.
“When I read the e-mail over there from my coach that I had been selected for the award, I was shocked and more than honored,” she was quoted as saying. “But it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for my teammates. They are the ones that got me here.”
Scott and Hillery were selected by a four-member panel at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, where they will be honored during a banquet in three weeks.
The panel reviewed the top base athletes from Marine facilities around the world before selecting the two local troops as the service’s premier athletes.
“Both of these Marines displayed tremendous athletic achievements and are great choices,” said Steven Dinote, Marine Corps athletic director.
“They were chosen based not only what they do athletically, but also for their community service and volunteer work,” he said.
This is the first time since 2003 that two from the same base have been named the Marine Corps’ top athletes.
A female basketball player and a male weightlifter at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station won the honors that year.
On Thursday, Hillery relinquished command of a Weapons Field Training Battalion and will attend an officer’s school at Quantico for the next year.
He’s a veteran of two deployments to Iraq, where his duties included serving as a convoy commander.
It was after those deployments, he said, that he began training for triathlons and, later, Ironman competitions.
He said he immediately fell in love with the races and participated in 39 endurance contests in 2009.
“I love racing,” he said. “I’m usually able to hold my own and have won military divisions several times.”
He’ll be tested again soon in the Canadian competition.
The three-day event features just 30 competitors who must apply to a committee to win entry.
The first day’s events are a 10-kilometer swim and 144.8-kilometer bike ride.
Day two is a 273.5-kilometer ride and day three is a 84.3-kilometer run.
Hillery has parlayed his competition in Ironman competitions and marathons around the country to help raise money for the Semper Fi Fund that helps injured troops and their families with the expenses needed for their recovery.