KSU senior Bianca Durant balances softball and school

By SAWYER RILEY

KENNESAW, Ga. – A KSU senior student  athlete, Bianca Durant, balances challenging academics with a strong softball performance.

Durant, a starting outfielder with the KSU softball team, was recently accepted into the school’s rigorous nursing program.

Durant was born and raised in Douglasville, Ga., where she is part of a large family. She is the daughter of Jonathan and Donna Durant who also parent her three sisters (Taylor, Jasmine, Monique) and three brothers (Michael, Anthony, Jonathan Jr.).

“I love my family. We always have a lot of fun together,” Durant said. “I think I have the best moments when I’m with them.”

Durant started playing softball at an early age when her father enrolled her and two of her sisters.

Bianca Durant. Photo courtesy of ksuowls.com.
Bianca Durant. Photo courtesy of ksuowls.com.

“My dad put my oldest sister Jasmine in [softball] and she wasn’t very good, so he ended up putting me and my little sister who’s a year younger than me in it,” Durant said. “We both started playing when I was 6 and she was 5, and that’s how I started. We did slowpitch all the way up until we were 12 years old and then we switched to fastpitch.”

Durant attended Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville where she lettered in softball all four years. While at Chapel Hill, she received various awards and honors. She was named to the Georgia Dugout Club All-Star Team and was a First Team All-Star honoree. When Durant was a senior, she helped her Chapel Hill team to place third in the state. Over her summer breaks from school, she played for club softball teams. Durant played with Georgia Impact for one summer and Georgia Elite for three.

“High school is kind of a joke because the teams aren’t really that good, so you go and try out for summer teams, and you try to get the big names,” Durant said. “I played for the Georgia Elite and I think that’s how coach Holly or coach Whitlock saw me, playing for them over the summer.”

Durant signed with the Kennesaw Owls in 2011 and started in 50 of the season’s 55 games as a freshman. Her batting skills cleared the bases for the team. That year, Durant was one of just five players to have five or more multiple-RBI games. She has remained a key player on the Owls’ starting lineup in the years since.

Assistant coach Tory Acheson frequently works with Durant on her hitting and says her greatest attribute is her skillful ability to swing the bat.

“I think Bianca’s a very talented hitter,” Acheson said. “I think that she’s one of those players that has a lot of gifts when it comes to swinging the bat and doing a really good job of helping our team offensively.”

Durant is in her first year at KSU’s nursing school and says her proudest moment was when she was accepted into the program.

“That was a big moment for me because I was pretty nervous about that for three years,” Durant said.

She explained that gaining acceptance into the nursing program is a difficult and competitive process.

“You take all the required classes, and you really need to have the best grades out of the people around you,” Durant said. “I got A’s in my chemistry and anatomy classes and I think that’s what made them choose me.”

Juggling the responsibilities of sports and studies can be difficult for any student athlete and is especially challenging for those with demanding majors like nursing. KSU softball head coach Wes Holly Jr. regularly works with Durant to keep her time and efforts balanced.

“The thing is, they are student athletes so they’ve got to put the student before the athlete, and the higher you go up, depending on your major, that can become a little more difficult. She’s one of them that took that role,” Holly said. “She has to really have a lot of time management, and she has to sacrifice several things so that she can try to pursue a softball career because nursing does take away a lot.”

Durant said that after completing the nursing program, she will start her career wherever she can but hopes to one day become a surgical nurse.

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