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Scholar-athletes: McGuinness' Elyse Hight juggles school, multiple sports

Soccer earned her a scholarship to Notre Dame, but she also starred in basketball, track and volleyball, while keeping up with her sister in the classroom.
by Scott Wright Published: July 7, 2012

The first set was for Matt Allen, the father of a longtime friend. Allen coached some of Hight's teams growing up.

Nearly three years ago, Allen was diagnosed with brain cancer. Hight founded the Matt Allen Cancer Drive to raise money and help Allen in his mission to be the first survivor of his type of cancer.

“For him to keep being positive, he shows me that I have no right in my life to be negative,” Hight said. “I have no right to go into any situation without a positive attitude.

“I'm in deep admiration of him and his family for staying strong. He has been given the worst in life, and he takes the best out of it.”

The second set of initials represent Wes Leonard, the Michigan high school basketball player who made a game-winning shot in March 2011, then collapsed and died on the court from sudden cardiac arrest.

Like most of us, Hight didn't know him. But his story touched her deeply.

“He was just a normal guy,” Hight said. “He was playing what he loved, and suddenly, his life was taken away.

“I heard his story at a time in my life when I was just going through the motions. I had become placid in sports. I saw his story and it struck me. I felt such emotion for someone I didn't even know, and I realized that could be me. It drove me.”

Athletically, Hight lettered 12 times and reached state in 11 of those seasons. She qualified for the track and field state meet all four years in the shot put. She was the MVP of McGuinness' basketball state championship team as a junior, and was one of the state's top goalkeepers the last two years.

Hight was recruited in basketball and soccer, which was a hectic process, especially considering that for the first time, she'd have to choose one sport. It became simpler when Notre Dame entered the picture.

“I had my dream schools in basketball, Connecticut, Tennessee and OU,” she said. “And I had my dream schools in soccer, Notre Dame and North Carolina. Notre Dame was always the bigger Fighting Irish. That was the one place I wanted to go. It was No. 1 on my list.

“Our first game is eight days after I get to campus. I can't wait.”