Relationships are hard. Combine that with classes, work and being a collegiate athlete, it seems nearly impossible to maintain a long-term relationship as a student-athlete. However, juniors Eddie Emedoh and Lena Bilotti would tell you otherwise.
The couple has been together for nearly two years now, maintaining a very healthy and happy relationship in the midst of the high demands of their perspective sports. Emedoh is on the men’s basketball team, while Bilotti is a javelin thrower for the women’s track and field team, both at Montclair State University.
Both sports require countless hours of evening practices, weight room sessions, study halls and games/meets. When you add on classes and work, these athletes have busy schedules. However, Bilotti claims that time management has been key to the couple making time for each other.
“We have to work around things obviously, especially with the different schedules that we have,” Bilotti said. “But we always communicate with each other to find time to hang out.”
Supporting each other in their respective sports is also something both Bilotti and Emedoh value in their relationship. Bilotti is also coming off a terrific season last year, finishing off her outdoor season, placing fifth in the javelin at New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) outdoor track and field championships. She credited her strong sophomore campaign to Emedoh and his unwavering love and support throughout the season.
“He motivates me to always do better and not give up,” Bilotti said. “There have been times where I would consider quitting track but he’s always given me reasons not to.”
Bilotti is very supportive of Emedoh and the men’s basketball team. She is in the front row of all of his basketball home and away games, cheering him on and offering words of encouragement. He believes having her by his side helps him get over games where he’s struggled.
“Anytime I know I have a bad game, I can sweat it knowing that she’ll be there after the game so we can talk about it,” Emedoh said.
While both Bilotti and Emedoh do have a strong relationship, it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Throughout the nearly two years they’ve been together, they have learned a lot about themselves and each other as a couple and as student-athletes.
Both have cited time management and being patient with each other as being two of the most important things they’ve had to work on.
“We just try not to sweat our problems too much,” Emedoh said. “Being a student-athlete couple, we have been patient with each other and work through anything that we go through.”