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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.
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.
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.