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Accidentally in love

Elizabeth Leggett March 27, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

I joke about a lot of things – almost everything, in fact. I can make light of almost any situation. It’s a quality in myself that I both love and despise at the same time. Some find it endearing, others find it obnoxious, but such is my personality.

I so frequently say “my life is a joke,” that at times I start to actually believe it. Lately, though, the reality of my life is smacking me in the face.

I may be a college student, but my work as a student journalist is nothing if not full-time. I get paid on salary, (although it’s nothing to write home about) many of my travel expenses are covered and I’m absolutely never off the clock.

As long as there are student-athletes at Murray State, there is always breaking news for my section. And when a team is as successful as our basketball team has been this season, I’m constantly on the road, hunting down the most current story. … Continue Reading

Sitting on the sideline

Elizabeth Leggett March 12, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

Seven seconds left on the clock, Racers are up by two points, Belmont has the ball and a 3-pointer is made. Racer fans are silent; Steve Prohm hangs his head and Jarvis Williams’ jaw drops in shock.

You know the Racers lost the OVC Championship, but did they really? Just because I believe they deserve a bid doesn’t mean the statistics add up and they’ll get one.

As a reporter sitting on press row, we have to be unbiased. As a Racer fan sitting on press row we want to scream, shout and throw a fit.

The Racers are ranked 71 on the BPI with a 68.2 percent below average score; which is the basketball power index.

Looking at the bubble, we’re not in the last four byes, the last four in, and not even in the first four out; the Racers are in the next four out ranks below Illinois State and above Iona College.

There are players on the team that are in the top 10 for number of free throws made, players with a shooting average that puts them on the lookout for NBA scouts and almost half of the team has received an award or honor of some kind throughout this season.

The Racers succeeded in having the second longest win streak in the country, broke records, made unbelievable shots and have seen numerous NBA scouts sit in on their games.

Justin Seymour tweeted about his thoughts and I agree—you shouldn’t let one game define your season. They lost on a fade away 3-pointer by Belmont. Just because there is one loss doesn’t mean you let it define your whole perception of the team.

Though I sat on the sidelines and clenched my fist waiting for the final three-second shot, I’m not sure the NCAA will see all the work I’ve seen this season.

The NCAA only allows 68 spots on the bracket, and most of those spots are taken by conference champions and big major schools. We are a mid-major school that doesn’t get the option to play schools like the University of Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State or the University of Louisville.

It just doesn’t happen and we can’t compare ourselves to how we would match up, if we can’t play them.

Selection Sunday comes with angst for both players and fans alike. We’ll all watch around the TV or computer screen hoping our beloved Racers receive a bid to the NCAA.

Either way our start of Spring Break this year will be the start of a postseason tournament. My hope is that the Racers graciously accept a bid into the National Invitation Tournament. Even if we don’t receive a bid to NCAA, that doesn’t mean our momentum should stop or our Racer pride deplete.

There is no doubt the Racers have the resume to be in consideration for a bid into the NCAA Tournament; however, I can’t say I agree they will make it.

We have to weigh the idea that we could get into the NCAA Tournament and fall in the first round or we could potentially go all the way to Madison Square Garden and win the NIT.

Then again, we could win the NCAA or fall in the NIT.

The thing to remember is that we are Racers, we have pride, respect and love of our athletics and we shouldn’t let any loss bring us down.

Column by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor

This is a wakeup call

Elizabeth Leggett March 5, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

After months of covering Racer basketball, there are a few phrases I’ve heard nonstop. “Our league is so underrated,” “We’ve been slept on,” and “There’s a chip on our shoulder,” are a few quotes I pull from interviews weekly.

As a journalist, I get frustrated with sports rhetoric. Players and coaches tell me the same generic things other sources are telling journalists nationwide. As coaches and players, they’re frustrated for their own reason: because what they’re saying is true. When the OVC released their 2014-15 All-Conference Team, I couldn’t help but agree that this team has been slept on. And it’s time for a wakeup call.

Cameron Payne, Jarvis Williams and Head Coach Steve Prohm were all recognized by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. To no one’s surprise, Payne was named Player of the Year. Also unsurprisingly, Williams was named a First-Team Forward and Prohm was named Coach of the Year. What is surprising is that no other Murray State players were recognized.

With a 24 game win streak, a regular season conference title and being one of only five teams in the OVC’s 67-year history to go undefeated in the conference, it’s true that the Racers have weapons. It takes a full team of starters and multiple men off the bench to accomplish what they have this year. The Racers have nine men with minutes almost every game, but only two players from the league’s No. 1 team earned all-conference honors. I’m not an expert analyst, but something doesn’t add up.

After the Racers’ final regular season game against UT Martin Feb. 28, Prohm commented on the impending all-conference awards.

“I would think between them top 10 spots we probably have four guys,” Prohm said. “We’ll probably get three, but you could make an argument for four. When you look at it, there’s a lot of good guys. I mean, Martin’s got three all-league type guys in Smith, Howard and Newell. And Belmont – Bradds, Bradshaw for sure. EKU’s Stutz, Walden. I can’t say who I voted for on the record. When you take our team out, you’re still looking at about 12, 14 guys that you’ve got to fit into 10 spots. I left two or three really good players off.

Prohm was fully aware of the tough competition for post-season awards, but of all the players he mentioned, his own were the only ones left off the list. Corey Walden and Eric Stutz represented EKU on first–team alongside Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw. UT Martin’s Marshun Newell and Deville Smith were recognized on the second-team while Twymond Howard graced the All-Newcomer list, and Belmont’s Evan Bradds made second team as well.

Payne and Williams were also the only Racers on all-conference teams last year. Named to first and second team, respectively, Payne was also Freshman of the Year and an All-Newcomer.  With a 23-11 season and no conference titles, it was understandable. But this season, it seems a little absurd.

Twitter was rampant with complaints immediately after the OVC sent out their press release Wednesday. The majority were lighthearted, but there were evident bitter undertones.

It’s not my job to support the teams I cover. I would never let personal opinions show in my stories or affect my job in any way. But when I’m off the clock, as a columnist, a Murray State student and admittedly, a fan, it’s difficult to overlook some things. Despite the controversy, I’m sure of one thing. The Racers are coming out to play in an “underrated league” with “a chip on their shoulders” because they’ve been “slept on” too long.


Column by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor

Mind over matter

Elizabeth Leggett February 27, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

Someone told me once that it doesn’t matter how hard you fall; if you want to, you’ll get back up.

Imagine this— there’s five seconds left on the clock, your basketball team is trailing by three points and it’s your possession. Your shoulder starts to buzz and you can feel it in your neck, your ear and all the way down your arm. Do you stop and sit out or push through and make the shot that could potentially make a historic win for your team?

From the sidelines I see athletes of all background get thrown, pushed, shoved and elbowed on a regular basis. Not because they want to, but merely because that’s the game.

Recently I saw a video on my Facebook timeline about a girl who ran on her high school track team with multiple sclerosis. In Kayla Montgomery’s case, the M.S. blocks the nerve signals from her legs to her brain. As her body temperature rises she begins to lose feeling starting in her toes and by the end of the race she has no feeling at all.

Her dedicated coach stands at the finish line every race and stretches his arms as she collapses because she can’t physically stop herself.

The New York Times wrote an article about Montgomery’s journey as a member of the track team at Mount Tabor High School in North Carolina. As a senior who graduated in May 2014, she has won the North Carolina state title in the 3200-meter race with a time of 10 minutes 43 seconds, which ranked her 21st in the country.

Montgomery continuously pushed through pain to do something she loved and still does. According to The New York Times, Montgomery was in disbelief about colleges being open to her running with M.S. because she didn’t think colleges would be able to adapt to her special circumstance. Montgomery’s search was over in early March 2014 when Lipscomb University asked her to sign a cross-country and track and field scholarship contract with them.

USA TODAY did a research article on sports injuries in young people in 2013. Emergency room reports in 2012 show that the most common injury was a strain or sprain, tallying at 451,480 people and the next highest injury being a fracture at 249,500 people. The top sports to cause injuries are football, basketball and soccer and in the bottom three are cheerleading, gymnastics and track and field.

Athletes have to deal with pain during practices and competitions. As a reporter I hear every day that “practice makes perfect.” Athletes are pushed to do their best, and if they didn’t want to do their best, they wouldn’t be doing what they do.

I competed on a nationally ranked all-star dance team for four years and before that, danced recreationally on a team for 10 years. I’ve had rolled ankles, broken bones and sprained wrists one too many times. I never thought any of those minor things would end my career. My dancing was cut short after I had back surgery from a birth defect in my spinal cord. I didn’t have a choice. My dancing career was over.

I didn’t think much about how all my injuries could affect me when I’m older.

Athletes deal with pain and injuries everyday, but they don’t let it stop them. Montgomery proved that what other people called an issue wasn’t an issue for her at all. Athletes prove they can push through pain and put their mind over the matter.

Column by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor

Beads are in the air

Elizabeth Leggett February 13, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

I’ll be celebrating one of my favorite holidays Saturday. But it definitely isn’t Valentine’s Day. With Fat Tuesday quickly approaching, my weekend will be filled with green, purple and gold, rather than red and pink.

While most girls will be eating chocolate and receiving stuffed bears, I’ll be eating king cake and receiving feather boas as I celebrate Mardi Gras in St. Louis.

I understand that Valentine was a saint, and I’m not trying to take anything away from his holiday. I just don’t understand how anyone would prioritize it higher than Mardi Gras.

I’m a cradle-Catholic, and I went to Catholic school for 13 years of my life. So while I can appreciate Valentine’s sainthood, I appreciate the gluttony of Mardi Gras as we prepare for Lent even more.

I’m also not trying to take away from St. Valentine’s legitimacy, but I recently became aware that in 1969 the Roman Catholic Church removed his name from the secular Roman calendar because so little is known of him, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars. Mardi Gras’ origins have been traced back to medieval Europe, and its legitimacy has never been questioned – at least not by anyone who likes to have a good time.

While most college girls are holding unrealistic expectations for their significant others to fulfill on Saturday only to be undoubtedly let down, I’ll be pleasantly surprised by any trinkets thrown to me at the parade. (One commonly thrown item at Mardi Gras parades is stuffed animals, so try not to be jealous if I get a cooler plush than your $99 giant Teddy bear.)

As I prepare to abstain from meat on Fridays in Lent, why wouldn’t I celebrate eating whatever I want and partying like there’s no tomorrow? Am I really going to waste my day waiting for a suitor to take me on a date, when I can take to the jam-packed streets of a city and meet new people?

When you return to school on Monday with your angry stories about how your boyfriend didn’t buy you the right box of chocolates or bought you yellow roses instead of pink, I’ll be returning to school with a new collection of beads and fun stories about unnamed strangers in masks.

As you shop for the perfect date night outfit, I’ll be cozy in a scarf and beanie, warmed  by the crowds of people in the streets watching as the floats go by.

Some might consider it a shame that so many Mardi Gras celebrations will outshine couples’ “50 Shades of Grey” date nights, but it’s an even bigger shame, in my opinion, that so many people will be sucked into those date nights when they could be celebrating just for the sake of celebrating.

In St. Louis alone, 10 million beads will be thrown out at the Bud Light Grand Parade. Everywhere else, 10 million boyfriends will have crappy nights because they unintentionally let down their girlfriends, and 10 million girlfriends will be sad because their boyfriends didn’t meet their unrealistically high expectations.

I’m not trying to say that Valentine’s Day is stupid, or pointless or wrong. I’m just saying there are more important things going on Saturday.

I can’t tell you what to do, but now you know which holiday I’ll be celebrating on Saturday. Why not cancel your plans, go buy some beer and head up to St. Louis or down to New Orleans. You can be down for date night or #UpForWhatever.

Column by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor

In case you missed it

Elizabeth Leggett February 6, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

Just a few months ago I wrote an article about how I didn’t think the Seattle Seahawks would make it to the Super Bowl.

I was very wrong and I can’t imagine how this piece of my home is functioning.

I bit my tongue this weekend and watched my favorite NFL team play to their wits’ ends.

As a Seahawks fan, there wasn’t a second of the game I was bored. As a journalism major and an advertising minor, there wasn’t a second of the break I was bored.

I can certainly say there wasn’t a second of Katy Perry’s performance with Missy Elliot or Lenny Kravitz that lulled me.

I jumped at the screaming goat and shed a tear during the Microsoft spot about empowering. I also wish I could take a cruise after the Carnival Cruise’s commercial and, like everyone else, my jaw dropped during the Nationwide deceased child spot.

There was no boredom in my house during the Super Bowl.

As a part of one of my favorite sporting traditions I can’t help but be excited I saw the Seahawks for the second year in a row compete for the Lombardi trophy.

While I saw them compete, I can’t say I saw them be graceful in their closing plays.

In case you missed it, the Seahawks lost. I’ll be the first one to say, though, the Seahawks made a bad play.

The win probability was at 84.9 percent after a timeout with 1 minute 6 seconds left and that percent dropped to 84.4 percent when Marshawn Lynch ran behind the left tackle for four-yard gain while Wilson passes to wide receiver,

Ricardo Lockette was seemingly open until the Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler intercepted, costing the Seahawks their second Super Bowl.

If you still don’t understand, it means the Seahawks put Lynch, who is known for his “beast mode” running style, behind.

If you’re curious as to how many people watched this play go down, here’s the skinny.

The Super Bowl XLIX last minute clash drew in 114.5 million viewers and brought in 71 share of television which means of all the people with their TV on, 71 percent of them were watching the Super Bowl.

Just so you know, the fourth quarter fiasco brought in 120.8 million viewers, which is a new record.

When I say everyone was watching, I mean everyone with a TV knew something was going on.

I am slightly ashamed that 120.8 million people were watching my beloved players psych themselves out.

They beat themselves. They saw what we all saw, which was the title. It was within reach, but they were so anxious and excited that they let it get to them.

I will say, congratulations to the New England Patriots because they did win, and congratulations to all their fans for believing they could be louder than the 12th man.

I won’t predict next year’s game, since I mistakenly said we wouldn’t be back this year. But I believe the boys have every power to play their way back to the top.

I suspect the next few weeks the only thing we’ll remember from this game is the Coach’s bad call and the disgraceful fight.

Let’s just remember at one point in time the Seahawks were an underdog and showed us all that victory is within everyone’s reach.

Story by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor

Super Bowls of food

Elizabeth Leggett January 30, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

This Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year. Filled with football, friends and food, Super Bowl Sunday is the summation of all my favorite things in life.

This sacred day requires minimal effort and maximum leisure. It’s the epitome of a perfect Sunday.

The only effort, in fact, that I plan on putting forth this Sunday is preparing food for the party I’ll be attending. That and putting pants on – which often times proves to be more difficult than cooking.

There is a certain coordination that must occur before the party. You know, where everyone scrambles to decide what they’re bringing – to make sure they have enough of this and no duplicates of that. Planning is difficult, but to remain true to the lethargy of the holiday, the snacks themselves must remain simple.

There’s chips and queso – a must for all Super Bowl parties. And you have to have Doritos, which have become synonymous with the Super Bowl thanks to their advertisements. (Super Bowl ads, by the way, cost $4.5 million per 30 seconds.) Pizza, chicken wings and buffalo chicken dip are all staples, as are pigs in a blanket. Pretzels and beer cheese pop up frequently, too. Actually, anything with beer in it. And just beer. Lots of beer. And any snack wrapped in bacon. The more I think about it, the more I love this holiday.

Fun and food are both group efforts during the Super Bowl, so don’t be that jerk that shows up empty-handed. (Also don’t be that jerk that shows up with a vegetable tray. This is the Super Bowl, not a book club.) If your mouth is watering but you’re no expert in the kitchen, don’t worry. My skillset is not limited to sitting behind a computer in a pressbox, but expands to mediocrity in the kitchen as well. Since dips are the classic go-to, here are a couple simple recipes that anyone can pull off and share on the most wonderful day of the year.



16 ounces Velveeta Mexican Mild Cheese, cubed

10-ounce can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes and green chiles

1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup diced green onion (if you’re feeling fancy)


Microwave Velveeta, Ro*Tel, beans and corn on high for three minutes. Remove, stir and microwave two more minutes on high. Stir again, and top with green onions if you’re fancy. Omit this step if you’re lazy. Actually just omit this step. Serve with tortilla chips.



Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/3 – 1/2 cup beer. Probably

Natural Light. Be honest.

One 1 oz packet dry ranch

dressing mix

1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Mix cream cheese, beer and ranch powder until smooth. Drink remaining beer. Spread mixture evenly over a plate or platter and top with shredded cheese. Serve with pretzels and cry silently if you’re a Packers fan.

Get in the kitchen and do your part, and feel free to hit that Easy Button after. I hope everyone has a safe and gluttonous Super Bowl. I know I will.


Unseen sports from the press box

Elizabeth Leggett January 23, 2015 Athletics, Sports Columns

It wasn’t until my junior year that I discovered we have an entire rifle range under Roy Stewart Stadium.

I’m not talking about a small, one or two line range; I’m talking about a fully equipped digitalized rifle range.

I also didn’t realize rifle was an Olympic sport or that we had student-athletes that have competed in the Junior Olympics.

While basketball and football usually get the most headlines, I think it’s important to remember there is more to the athletic world than those more popular sports.

We have a rifle team that is nationally ranked and a volleyball team that reined in an OVC Championship.

Not to mention a soccer team that went 11-9 in the season, put four players on the All-OVC Team and for their eighth consecutive year received the NSCAA Academic Award for having a 3.0 GPA.

Folks, we have some great athletes on this campus.

I have enough trouble working two jobs, being in a sorority and maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

While most athletes get scholarships to play at Murray State, not everyone does. I say bravo to all the athletes who work so hard to do what they do. Some people do it for the pure enjoyment and satisfaction.

The men’s cross-country team is on their own. They aren’t paid nor are they given scholarships to run.

Dedication at it’s finest.

This isn’t to put down anyone else who is involved.

Anyone who is a part of an organization on campus knows how difficult it can be to juggle that many hats.

I commend anyone who can be as involved as these athletes are.

With baseball season starting soon and track and field picking up I am sure to see plenty of accomplishments come across my desk in the form of an article. 

I have underestimated the incredibly talented people who practice and train every day for something they just love doing.

I feel a sense of similarity with athletes only because I study and practice doing something I love every day; writing.

These athletes’ accomplishments may go unnoticed by some oblivious people, but I have to point out that President Bob Davies has not let it go unnoticed.

He has made appearances at men’s and women’s basketball games, soccer games, volleyball games, rifle matches and even the nationally ranked bass anglers team.

I interview a wide variety of people and something I’ve heard from coaches is how they believe Davies is one of the most dedicated presidents they’ve encountered in their time.

I didn’t realize how important our sports are here at Murray State. I am proud to say I cover many of these sports and wouldn’t change my position of covering them.

Since it’s a new year, I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say I think we should all try to support more than just the basketball team and show up to more than tailgating for football.

I hope to see more of you down in the range watching our dedicated shooters and more people sitting in the stands for softball and baseball this season.

Column by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor

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