GREENVILLE, Ill. – The Greenville University Athletic Department hosted its Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, April 21 and a former Gillespie athlete was among the recipients.
Christina (Niehaus) Blevins, a current teacher and coach at Gillespie CUSD 7 and former track standout was inducted into the Hall of Fame “Class of 2018”. Also inducted were the 1970 cross country team, team category; the 1971-72 women’s basketball team, team category; John L. Curry, athlete category; Richard L. Ware, Jr., athlete category; Sonya L. Jones, athlete category, and Dennis N. Spencer, meritorious achievement category.
Timothy C. Daniel was recognized as the recipient of the Order of the Orange and Black.
Who knew that being bribed to throw the discus 137 feet in high school by her father would lead to an incredible collegiate career? Blevins didn’t know that then, but soon after starting her college career, she quickly found out what she could do. Over a four-year career at Greenville College, Christina would change the focus from Track and Field to Field and Track.
During her freshman year, she made her presence known immediately. She was an NCCAA All-American in the Discus with her second place finish. She became the only freshman Greenville College female athlete to earn NCAA Division III All-American honors. She produced a fourth place showing in the Discus.
Christina would once again show what she was made of her in second year as a Greenville Panther. She was an NCCAA indoor national champion in the shot put and runner up in the weight throw. At the outdoor championships she earned another runner-up finish in the discus while placing third in the hammer throw. She earned NCAA Division III All-American status in the Discus by finishing eighth at the outdoor championships.
Christina continued her assault on the school record board. In her third year, she won both the indoor and outdoor NCCAA shot put titles with a national record throw of over 45 feet. She recorded her third NCCAA runner up in the discus in as many tries. For the third time, she represented Greenville at the NCAA Championships and earned her third NCAA Division III All-American honor with a sixth place showing.
Her senior year was one to be remembered. She was NCCAA national champion in the weight throw and discus. Her throw of 160 feet, 10 inches still stands as a school and NCCAA National record. Once again she was an NCAA qualifier in the indoor and outdoor shot put and earned NCAA Division III All-American status in the discus by placing seventh. All told she was a four-time NCAA All American. She still holds school records in the discus and the indoor and outdoor shot put.
Christina was a true example of the whole student. Ten times she earned Academic All American status while majoring in Biology Education and graduating with a 3.62 GPA.
Christina was involved in the Student Senate for three years, Committee on Teacher Education for two years, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, and the Chorale for one year. She helped lead a covenant Bible Study and served as her church’s Vacation Bible School Director, a role that she held since her freshman year of high school. Christina excelled at everything she did.
Even though she was involved in so many activities she cared for her team and was always there when someone needed her. When she set her foot on campus she became the cornerstone of the team. She had difficulties, but she always came up on top. She was a great example to her team on how to compete and how to live life. She received Greenville’s Order of the Orange and Black award in 2010.
Christina graduated and has taught in in both the Greenville and Gillespie school districts. She currently teaches sixth grade science at the Gillespie Middle School. She continues to coach girl’s basketball and track and field. In track, she has coached seven state medalists. Christina led her seventh grade basketball team to a state runner-up trophy in 2015 and then coached them as eighth graders to a fourth place finish in 2016.
Christina has given back to her community. She was a part of the Black Diamond Days Community Committee from 2011 to 2015. She is President of the Gillespie All- Weather Track Committee and an active member of the Gillespie Methodist Church.
In July 2011, she married husband Cory Blevins and they have a son Elijah.
As throws coach Tom Broomfield always says, “It only takes one.” Christina’s “ONE” was most often the winning one. Head Coach Brian Patton noted that “Christina was the best thrower (male or female) Greenville has ever had and when it is all said and done she may end up being the best thrower Greenville ever has.”