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hbgVaught’s note: This is not a UK-related story, but is one that I thought could be of interest to some and maybe give a reader or someone they know a chance to share a special story.

CINCINNATI  – Join Major League Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds in the fight against breast cancer.

Fans are encouraged to submit stories about how they, or someone they know, are “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” and why they would like to be an “Honorary Bat Girl” for the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Sunday, May 11, which is Mother’s Day.

Fans can visit www.HonoraryBatGirl.com to share their story. The deadline for submissions is March 24.

The 2014 Honorary Bat Girl Contest is a Major League Baseball initiative designed to raise greater awareness and support for the breast cancer cause.

One winner representing each MLB team will be chosen by a panel of judges.

The Reds winner will be recognized during pregame ceremonies on May 11th (Reds vs. Colorado Rockies, 1:10 p.m.) at Great American Ball Park.

Please visit www.HonoraryBatGirl.com for full contest rules.

The winner will receive on-field recognition, complimentary tickets to the game, Louisville Slugger pink bat engraved with winner’s name, commemorative jersey and pink wrist bands.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kevin Ware said Tuesday that he plans to plead guilty to speeding and reckless driving charges and move forward with any punishment he receives. The Louisville junior guard, whose gruesome right leg injury sustained during the Cardinals’ NCAA title run last spring made him an inspirational figure, answered media questions Tuesday night about missing a Monday court date to face charges of driving a 2013 Dodge Challenger 95 mph in a construction zone on Interstate 65 late on Oct. 26.

Ware’s court date in Barren County Circuit Court was rescheduled for Monday. The player said he plans to represent himself and plead guilty to the charges.

“It’s a speeding ticket,” Ware said. “I’m going to go to court and handle the situation and that’s going to be that.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported Tuesday that Ware borrowed the car from his friend Matt Case, a University of Louisville student, to visit a friend at Western Kentucky University. Cardinals basketball spokesman Kenny Klein said Tuesday that the school looked into the matter and determined that there were no compliance issues with using the vehicle.

Ware played in Louisville’s victory over Hartford after meeting with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino, who wasn’t pleased to hear about the matter when informed about it during a news conference on Monday.

Asked what the coach said, Ware answered, “he put it to me like my mother would’ve put it to me. He was disappointed that I would be that stupid to do 95 (mph) in a 55-mph zone and put myself in danger and my fellow teammate in danger.

“That’s really all it was. He was disappointed, but it’s a speeding ticket. We’re going to move past it.”

Pitino said after the game that he wasn’t worried about it being a compliance matter but expressed frustration over the distraction it created.

“I don’t like distractions, and I was distracted the entire day with this nonsense,” the coach said. “To me, it’s someone trying to get to a concert and acting like a young kid and he should have acted more like a mature man because he is now. He acted like a kid instead and he’s going to have to pay the consequences of it, whatever those consequences are.”

Ware sounded contrite about the matter, calling himself a “bad friend” and saying he made a mistake for speeding with Case’s car. While he hopes to keep his driver’s license, he said he would accept whatever the judge decides.

He also chalked up the controversy as a consequence of the celebrity that followed his horrific injury.

“If I wasn’t Kevin Ware, this situation wouldn’t be blowing up,” he said.

By RENE CORNETTE

Zach Hodskins, a 17 year old from Alpharetta, Ga., is an inspiration. He is the epitome of how having a disability doesn’t have to affect your life. He has proven hard work pays off and limitations are only for the weak minded. You see Zach was born without the lower half of his left arm because of a birth defect and was told he would never play college basketball. Earlier this week, Zach’s hard work and dedication paid off when he proved all of the naysayers wrong by earning a spot on one of the top teams in the nation, the University of Florida.

“It’s always been my dream growing up,” Hodskins told ESPN. “I never expected it to be like this, but the hard work has paid off. I’m ecstatic I’m going to be a Florida Gator.”

Hodskins, a 6’4, 200 pound shooting guard took the AAU circuit this summer by storm. Hodskins can drain a 3-pointer, throw a pass so quick and accurate that you have to see to believe and after watching him play the last thing you’ll notice is his arm. He has game and will be an asset to Florida.

Zach has been turning heads since an early age, though as he showcased his athletic skills early on. Zach played several sports before realizing basketball had his heart and the court was his home. “When I am out on the court I forget that my arm is not there. Passion and love for the sport helps me overcome all obstacles.”

Zach’s game videos have been viewed 3.6 million times on YouTube. He has become a media sensation. If you turn on your television, you may see him on, The Today Show, Sports Center and even NBA TV. Zach even has a Kentucky connection. He’s a native of Lexington and he is the godson of Ryan Lemond, who has been known to brag on Zach every chance he gets. Who can blame him though? Zach Hodskins is a teen we all can be proud of and pull for, no matter what jersey color he is wearing.

Zach earned his position on the Florida Gators team thru hard work, determination and by never feeling sorry for himself. His story should serve as a reminder to everyone who has had something to overcome in life, you are not your limitations.

Zach Hodskins is the real deal, a great athlete and a great person. Do your thing at Florida, Zach. Drain a three for all your fans and two for your naysayers. We’ll be watching. The whole world will.

Statement from Tom Jurich, University of Louisville Vice President and Director of Athletics

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions today issued its infractions report concerning the University of Miami, and the University of Louisville now knows the resolution of the allegations concerning our Assistant Football Coach Clint Hurtt. In its report, the Committee on Infractions acknowledged the seriousness exhibited by Louisville in this matter and accepted the significant penalties placed upon Clint by me.

Throughout the Miami inquiry, even though Louisville had limited knowledge of all the facts in the case, I was troubled by the involvement of Clint in any possible allegations.  As a result, I undertook several actions based upon this knowledge, including expressing my concern to him about his possible previous and any future involvement in violations, undertaking additional monitoring and educational activities of him, and imposing penalties upon him based at least on his acknowledged involvement in some violations.  Once the Notice of Allegations was issued, we had additional conversations about additional possible penalties. These were subsequently imposed and remain in effect.

I thank the Committee on Infractions for its acknowledgment that Louisville took this issue seriously and imposed significant penalties upon Clint that impacted our overall football program. I believe this was a factor in the Committee’s willingness to accept the institution’s further proposed actions that will be imposed upon Clint.

NCAA compliance is of utmost importance to the University and me.  Clint understands that importance, and I believe he recently has acted appropriately in his activities involving Louisville’s football program.  Clint’s penalties will continue throughout this academic year, and the institution will continue to ensure that he remains “a model citizen” within the football program.  Clint’s actions in the Miami case were significant, and any similar activities here will not be tolerated; however, he has willingly accepted the significant penalties opposed upon him by Louisville and those adopted by the Committee on Infractions.  I’ve had four years watch Clint and his actions at UofL.

Clint has learned much from this experience and, as a result, is aware of his responsibilities to his profession, to Coach Strong, and the University.  While we anticipate his continued “model citizen” approach toward NCAA compliance will continue, his penalties will remain in effect.

Nine-year-old Jefferson LeDonne runs in 5K races with his mom, Lisa, overcoming an injury-filled infancy. Click on the photo to view the video.

Nine-year-old Jefferson LeDonne runs in 5K races with his mom, Lisa, overcoming an injury-filled infancy. Click on the photo to view the video.

Note: Larry posted a story recently about Jefferson LeDonne, detailing the journey he’s made from being abandoned as an infant to Danville, Ky. You can read that earlier story here http://vaughtsviews.com/9-year-old-runners-story-should-be-inspriration-for-us-all/

(All images courtesy Crystal York Photography and Galilean Home Ministries)

Vaught’s note: This is not the normal type post you’ll find here, but on this Sunday I thought it was the perfect time to share a special experience I had last week that was a true reality check about what is important in life and the help so many others truly need.

By LARRY VAUGHT

If you have never been to the Galilean Home in rural Casey County, or even heard about this wonderful organization, you are missing out on a wonderful experience.

I got to spend several hours with the Galilean Home residents and staff last week. And what a blessing it was in so many ways.

The campus ministers to so many from newborns to special needs adults.

When I got there, two of the first people I met were George and Rosie. George was so excited because he had new Nike shoes and a UK McDonald’s cup. He couldn’t wait to take a group picture he knew was coming. And Rosie is a hugger with a delightful smile.

I enjoyed seeing the students hard at work at the affordable Christian school and what they were learning. But I absolutely loved the Angel House and the Born Free Ministry that cares for infants born to women in prison. Mothers at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Pewee Valley are usually brought to Angel House two or three days after being born in Louisville area hospitals.

Staff watches over the “angels” until their mothers are released from prison. That includes a weekly visit to see the mothers in prison. Once the mothers are released from prison, the children are returned to them.

Two twin brothers reminded me so much of my youngest grandson, especially when one keep wanting to grab and brush my beard. How could I not love him and want to go back to visit again?

Enjoy this slide show of my visit to the Galilean Home as a salute that founder Jerry Tucker and his staff do. For more information if you would like to help, go to www.galileanhome.org or call 606-787-5120.

 

Larry Vaught and media friends Mark Buerger of WLAP, Ryan Lemond of KSR, and wife Amanda Lemon, and Freddie and Jennifer Maggard competed in the Pigskin Class 5K run in Danville Saturday, and there was trash talking! For the record, Buerger was the first media type across the line, followed by Vaught. Click on the photo of a gloating Mark Buerger above to view the video. (Gary Moyers videographer)

Larry Vaught and media friends Mark Buerger of WLAP, Ryan Lemond of KSR, and wife Amanda Lemon, and Freddie and Jennifer Maggard particpated in the Pigskin Class 5K run in Danville Saturday, and there was trash talking! For the record, Buerger was the first media type across the line, followed by Vaught. Click on the photo of a gloating Mark Buerger above to view the video. (Gary Moyers videographer)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Flying into Zurich, Switzerland, the landscape did not look that different from Kentucky — plenty of farm fields, rolling hills and scattered living areas. Of course, soon we will see just how diversified the Swiss landscape can be.

This is a friendly country. That was obvious as soon as we got to the airport after almost our nine-hour, overnight flight from Chicago to Zurich. If you need help, just ask and someone will know English and help.

We are staying three nights at the Movenpick Hotel. While my wife caught up on her sleep, I managed to wander to a local grocery for some snacks and even got to take a run along a river thanks to a local who pointed the way to me. I also got to see how big the Swiss are on flower gardens and having immaculate landscapes in their yards. Two unusual sounds — one cafe has a small pond-like pool with numerous bullfrogs sounding off loudly and a field beside the highway had cattle that would have made Mississippi State fans proud with the way the cowbells sounded.

One highlight today was chocolate sampling in our hotel. Lindt Chocolate occasionally sends samples that the hotel then uses for a surprise “chocolate night” for guests who are around at the right time. We followed that with dinner and I tried the veal sausage with a terrific dipping sauce that was far better than I thought it might be.

My favorite — chocolate with hot peppers. My wife liked the dark chocolate and the white chocolate with raspberries. But they all were unbelievable.

Saturday we will hopefully board the train for the Zurich Zoo and then head downtown to see the older, historic areas for some unique shopping, cafe dining and maybe a few local beverages — when in Switzerland, one must do as the Swiss.

Day Two

This was a day solely on our own and gave us a chance to be as adventurous as we wanted.

We got directions/instructions for how to get the train to the Zurich Zoo, one of Europe’s best, and headed out. We had to ask a few locals just to make sure we were headed the right way, and then needed a bit of advice as we made our way out of the main station to find the tram transfer to the zoo. Fortunately, I picked a gentleman taking his five grandchildren to the zoo to ask for directions and his high school age granddaughter was great help.

Admission was 22 francs each, and the zoo had a big variety of animals — just not a lot of anything except penguins. However, locals seemed to thoroughly enjoy the zoo, especially the tiger and elephants. This was a very family friendly place with many folks bringing picnic lunches and the zoo had numerous spots for children to play, climb, slide and more.

We found the tram and ventured back to downtown Zurich. We got a snack at McDonalds — about $10 for two cheeseburgers and a small Coke (no value menu here) and then wandered through the streets of both the biggest stories and the almost alley-like streets of old town. Unlike Italy that had cafes everywhere, cafes here were much bigger and more of a bar-restaurant. But the food, it was all still delicious.

We enoyed the lake and the festival-like atmosphere in that area. We made our way into a church, found another church Winston Churchill visited during World War II and loved the scenery as well as the friendliness of the Swiss. And yes, we managed to sample some chocolate again. In Italy you drank wine. In Switzerland, you eat chocolate.

After reviewing the 2013 KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16®, the Board of Control voted today in favor of a proposal to move the championship games of the boys’ and girls’ Sweet 16® to Sunday starting in 2014. The format change allows for the semifinals to be conducted as a standalone event on Saturday, and gives the participants more time to prepare and recuperate leading up to the championship game.

“We examined the format of our basketball tournaments from a number of different perspectives, and in the end, felt like it was time to move the championship game to Sunday. Separating the championship game from the semifinals, really makes an event out of the Saturday games for those final four teams,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “We think the added rest leading up to the championship game will not only benefit the health and safety of the students, it will also have an impact on the quality of play, and provide coaches a chance to better prepare their teams for the most important game of the year.”

The new format was applied for the first time at the 2013 KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16® because of a scheduling issue with the University of Kentucky playing Florida at Rupp Arena on the same day as the KHSAA semifinals. A record crowd of 20,172 turned out to watch the Boys’ Sweet 16® Semifinals on Saturday night between Madison Central-Hopkinsville and Ballard-Montgomery County, with 17,351 fans returning for the first-ever championship game on a Sunday – the largest crowd for a title game since 2009.

Megan Moir

Megan Moir

Vaught’s note: Guy Ramsey wrote this informative story and shared it through UK Media Relations with outlets across the state. You can follow his work at  http://www.ukathletics.com/blog.

By GUY RAMSEY, UKathletics.com

Megan Moir and Chelsea Oswald have come to know each other well over the last four years.

Moir is on the Kentucky women’s golf team and Oswald is a distance runner on the track and field and cross country teams. They aren’t teammates, but their paths have crossed often since Oswald arrived in Lexington a year after Moir in 2009, most frequently as representatives on UK’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where Moir is president and Oswald the historian.

So when Oswald learned on Thursday that Moir had been named the Brad Davis Southeastern Conference Female Community Service Leader of the Year, Oswald naturally reached out. What Oswald didn’t know at the time was congratulations would soon be in order for her as well.

“She actually sent me a text message to congratulate me about my award,” Moir said. “And then it was cool because she won the next day.”

On Friday, Oswald was named the SEC’s H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, marking the first time since 1999 that UK student-athletes had won both the prestigious Davis and McWhorter awards.

Wildcat teams and athletes have had more than their share moments of excellence in competition. Competing at the Division I level, of course, is what all of UK’s 22 teams have in common. But perhaps more than anything else, the achievements of Moir and Oswald reflect what it means to be a Wildcat off the field.

“To have two people win in the same year, it definitely says something about the department,” Moir said.

It says plenty about Moir and Oswald as individuals too.

 

Chelsea Oswald

Chelsea Oswald

During her time at UK, Moir has spent an astounding 700 hours serving the community, from inside the borders of Fayette County to across the Atlantic Ocean in Ethiopia with a group from UK Athletics. Moir, a native of Louisville, Ky., cites her Christian faith as the inspiration for her commitment to volunteering.

“I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities and so many privileges just because of the family and the life I was born into,” Moir said. “I’m constantly looking at myself seeing how I can use what I’ve been given to give back and bless other people.”

True to her words, Moir plans to use the $10,000 post-graduate scholarship that comes with the Davis award to do just that.

Last May, she received a B.S. degree in accounting and marketing and will complete her master’s in sports leadership in a month. She is then planning to spend seven months in Uganda to do ministry and mission work. After that, she’ll decide how best to put the scholarship money to use.

“Ideally long term, I want to do financial planning for people living on the margins of society, so I’ll probably go back to school to get a master’s in family or financial planning or something of that sort,” Moir said.

Oswald has more definitive plans for how she’ll use her $15,000 scholarship. She expects to complete B.S. degrees in biology and psychology in May 2013 and June 2014, respectively. Once she finishes her undergraduate studies, she plans to attend physical therapy school.

If her college career to this point is any indication, you can expect her to fulfill those plans.

With her 4.0 grade-point average, Oswald has received almost every conceivable academic award, including the 2013 NCAA Elite 89 award. She did, however, admit to one close call that nearly blemished her perfect GPA. It was in a course called animal physiology and she was pleasantly surprised to look up her final grade when she returned to her home in Medina, Ohio for the summer and see an “A.”

“I wouldn’t have been upset if I had gotten a ‘B’ because I try my hardest with every class,” Oswald said. “If I would have gotten a ‘B,’ I would have known I put all my effort into it. I think that’s what success is: just knowing you’ve applied yourself as best as you can to the task at hand.”

Oswald has certainly done that in competition throughout her career and has the results to prove it in 2012-13. She has had her best season under the leadership of first-year head coach Edrick Floreal, earning All-America honors in both cross country and indoor track and field.

“This whole last year has made a complete turnaround,” Oswald said. “With the new coaching staff and everything, I think it’s a blessing. I’m extremely thankful that they’ve helped turn my running career around and kind of everything in my life. I’m more positive about everything because I have more confidence.”

That confidence translates to all facets, including service. Oswald is active in the track and field team’s Soles4Souls shoe drive and mentors a young girl whose parents are both in prison, following the service-oriented lead of her friend Moir.

“I think it’s good to get UK Athletics out there in the community,” Oswald said.

And just as Oswald makes an impact in the area for which Moir was honored by the SEC, Moir stands out in the classroom. She is a two-time Academic All-American and graduated summa cum laude a year ago.

Moir and Oswald are two student-athletes who have made the most of every opportunity afforded to them at UK, from the classroom to the community to competition. And even as they received the most individual of awards this week, their reactions show why they are such excellent of examples of what it means to be a Wildcat.

“This award recognizes not only my achievements, but also all the great people who have helped me along the way,” Oswald said. “I truly would not have been able to do this without the help of the whole University of Kentucky including my coaches, teammates and family.”

“I am so very proud to be a Wildcat and it feels good to be able to represent the university that means so much to me,” Moir said.

catalist

For IPhones/IPads, and new for Android devices, the Catalist app by Larry Vaught is the best way to keep up with UK basketball. It's free!

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