As a sports reporter at The Daily Emerald, an independent student-run publication based out of the University of Oregon campus, I cover sports such as football, men's basketball, volleyball, men's tennis, softball and indoor track and field. Check out my latest work here.
In what started as a simple profile, turned into a two-month long reporting process. I talked with seven Oregon athletes (both current and former) about their battles with mental health while being a collegiate athlete. It was through their stories and my research that I learned this is a topic that desperately needed attention. Mental health is an ever-increasing societal-diagnosis, and my goal of this story was to help break its stigma surrounding athletics.
At the 2017 NCAA Final Four, Oregon cheerleader Sarah DeBois cheered in front of a crowd of 77,612 people, calling it one of the best moments of her life. Two-and-a-half months later, DeBois was diagnosed with cancer — stage 2A Hodgkin lymphoma. Being of her same age, I spent two months getting to know DeBois, learning how she remained positive throughout such a life-altering experience.
A man named Mike White told a 7-year-old Lauren Burke to get out on the field when her older sister's club softball team needed an extra player. Now in college, Burke is playing once again for White. This time on a collegiate stage as an Oregon Duck. I spoke with Burke, her friends, family, former teammates and coaches, along with White and his family, to understand how that childhood moment launched Burke into her Oregon career.
Oregon freshman Lauren Burke's two-run, pinch-hit home run secured the No. 1 Ducks' win in the 2018 NCAA first-round Eugene Regional over No. 4 University of Albany. I covered the game and spoke with Burke's mother afterward on reaction of her daughter's first postseason at-bat home run.
After Oregon's Shannon Rhodes didn't start for the second game in a row, her pinch-hit in the fourth inning against Stanford, affirmed head coach Mike White's decision to bring her in late in the game. The Ducks beat the Cardinal 4-1, sweeping a three-game series.
The Oregon Ducks fell to their Oregon State rivals in the 349th Civil War in 76-64. The loss capped Oregon's four-game winning streak over the Beavers.