locker room: very Superstitious

Pregame rituals of UB’s student-athletes

Sprinter and long jumper Ryan Billian

an illustration of Sprinter and long jumper Ryan Billian's pregame ritual.

Illustration by Hal Mayforth


Sprinter and long jumper Ryan Billian is not what you would call a foodie. And he’s more than just a picky eater. The senior from Levittown, N.Y., has sworn off entire nutritional categories. “I’ve never eaten a vegetable,” he admits. “The only meat I ate before college was the pepperoni on my pizza.” This selectivity plays into his prerace warmup. In high school, he found that strawberries—one of the few foods he will eat—helped him cross the line a bit faster. “Whether the superstition is true or not, the strawberries seemed to be helping me.” Indeed, last year, Billian qualified for the NCAA nationals in the 100-meter dash. Keep chomping those berries, Ryan, and we’ll look for you on the podium!