With her Racer career soon drawing to a close, senior Morgan Cross said she isn’t ready for it to all be over so suddenly.
But this wasn’t always the case.
After completing the many daily 6 a.m. workouts, dealing with the incessant travel involved with competitive golf and exchanging time with family and friends for extra practice or much needed rest, Cross said at one point she had almost had enough.
“Ever since I’ve been at Murray, I couldn’t wait for golf to be over and have a life again,” Cross said. “All the practicing; it really runs your life.”
After wishing it all away, however, Cross said she spent the past couple of years emotionally thinking about how important the team and the game was to her.
“I’m not ready for it to be over, and I wished it to be over for so long,” she said. “I’m not going to be on a team anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Admittedly, she hasn’t had much free time at her disposal in the past four years. She eats, breathes and sleeps golf while donning the blue and gold week in and week out.
The dedication, however, has undoubtedly paid off.
Coach Velvet Milkman first noticed her penchant for success when she played against Cross in a state amateur tournament; the two were paired together in match play when Cross was a sophomore in high school.
“I was really impressed with the way she handled herself,” Milkman said. “Something I really, really like about Morgan is that she’s very competitive. Some women have that, some women don’t and you can’t teach that.”
From that point on, Milkman knew she needed Cross at Murray State.
Making an immediate impact at Murray State, Cross became a contributing member as a freshman for the first team to go to NCAA Regionals when the OVC Championship began as a qualifier.
Cross and the Lady Racers followed the 2009 OVC Championship with an encore, capturing the crown as repeat champions in 2010, and while the first one was sweet, the second one, Cross said, tops the cake.
“We made up 11 strokes in nine holes to come back and win,” she said. “At that moment, I realized what I wanted to do and that this was the place for me.”
After a setback in 2011 when Morehead State claimed the OVC title, the Lady Racers are primed and ready to make a push in what will be Cross’s last OVC Championship.
Milkman said she has watched Cross grow into a wonderful role model and team leader these past few years, providing a shining example of dedication, work ethic and school pride on which others can rely.
“She’s been an outstanding player for the program,” she said. “She’s been a steady, solid presence and has done a great job being a leader this year.”
After this season, golf will have to be put on the backburner as Cross plans to pursue a master’s degree in speech pathology at Murray State. She said she still plans to play in tournaments throughout the summer and could perhaps turn professional after receiving her degree.
But for now, her focus is on a third and final championship.
The OVC Championship will be held at GreyStone Golf Club in Dickson, Tenn., on April 22-24.