This Senior Send-offs feature is an effort to recognize student-athletes at Liberty, Kearney and Smithville high schools who had the end of their senior year disrupted by school closures as a result of COVID-19 and related stay-at-home orders.

Name:

Olivia Nelson

School:

Liberty High School

Sports:

Basketball

College:

University of Central Missouri (basketball)

Major:

Chemistry, Education

Favorite high school memory:

"My favorite sports memory was the quarterfinal game of my sophomore year. Going into that game we were the underdogs, no one thought we could win and then with like five minutes to go down 5 points, everything changed. Someone hit a 3-pointer, then the other team's player got hurt but we were still playing so we're able to score to tie it up. It was like it was meant to be that we were gonna win that game. They missed multiple layups and we made multiple shots and when the buzzer sounded no one could believe we won and we ran together to have giant group hug."

Coach/Teacher who made the biggest impact:

"The coach that was the biggest impact on my basketball career has to be Chad Fleming. He only coached for one year but had a lasting impact on my basketball career. After freshman year, I had very little confidence and never even looked to score the ball because I was afraid. But once Chad started coaching he constantly encouraged me, begged me to shoot the ball, and always inspired me with his great pep talks. He pushed me to be the best basketball player I could be and provided me with the confidence I needed.  I can honestly say without him I would not be able to play basketball in college."

Thing you will miss the most about high school:

"What I will most about high school is the Liberty vs. Liberty North basketball games. Being on the court for those is something very few people will ever experience. It's an experience that is unbelievable and unforgettable. The gym is always packed. One time there was like 2000 people. It is always loud, but this year I was screaming out plays and I couldn't even hear myself. They always are close games because both teams want to win so bad."

Best part about high school and this community:

"The best part of this whole community is the continuous and ongoing support all year. I would be walking around the neighborhood and people would scream at me, "Good luck tomorrow, we will be there and will be cheering you on." Or there are elementary students coming to every single home game, giving high fives after games and telling us we did great even if we didn't. All four years there has just been so much support from the community that I'm so thankful for!"

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