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Former Wave star makes homecoming court

BATON ROUGE — As she was on her way home, Cathedral High School alumna Maddie Kirkwood kept one eye on her phone,

Kirkwood, a sophomore biochemistry major at LSU, had applied for homecoming court and had her phone on the LSU homecoming webpage. Even though it was 3 p.m., and results weren’t supposed to be posted until 5, Kirkwood decided to refresh the page.

What she saw next made her cry tears of joy. Kirkwood was selected for the LSU homecoming court as the only sophomore female.

“I braced myself for disappointment, and then I saw it, and I said, ‘This has to be a typo,’” Kirkwood said. “I still can’t believe it. I’m so honored.”

When she got home, her father was there to greet her, and Kirkwood said he could tell she had been crying. At first, she said he thought she didn’t make the cut.

“I showed him my phone, and he told me, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’” Kirkwood said. “Then he looked again and saw my name, and he was so proud. When my mom came home and I told her, she started crying. It was so nice to be able to be home to find out.”

Kirkwood said the homecoming selection panel drilled her with questions that she wasn’t exactly ready to answer, but they were questions that caused her to think.

“They started asking about my legacy and how I would represent the court,” Kirkwood said. “I have never been so nervous my whole life. I was out of my comfort zone, but in a good way.”

Kirkwood said the panel forced her to examine what kind of legacy she would leave at LSU and made her realize there was more to college than just getting an education.

“It’s something you really don’t think about on a day-to-day basis,” Kirkwood said. “We’re not only here to get an education but to leave our mark and hopefully do something to better the campus.”

Kirkwood will be honored Saturday when LSU takes on Mississippi State in Tiger Stadium. She was one of two girls selected from her sorority, Chi Omega, the other being senior Kendall Knobloch. Being on the court has allowed Kirkwood to meet many new faces, and she said that was a very rewarding aspect of the experience.

“They’re different from my normal friend group, but it’s so refreshing,” Kirkwood said. “The other court members are absolutely wonderful.”

Kirkwood also served on the homecoming court while she was at Cathedral. Though she loved her experience there, she admitted it doesn’t compare to being on the court at LSU.

“It’s a bigger university,” Kirkwood said. “I still can’t grasp how big a deal this is. I’m going to be so nervous at halftime (Saturday). I’ve honestly never been in front of that many people.”

If there’s one thing she misses from Cathedral, it’s playing soccer for the varsity girls team. Kirkwood said she’s able to play intramurals at LSU, and she’s glad she got to hang onto something from her high school days.

“I was really worried that I wouldn’t have the time or resources for sports when I got to LSU,” Kirkwood said. “Nothing compares to soccer in Devereux Stadium. I miss those girls. I’m the only girl from the team that came to LSU.

“I didn’t know stress until I came here, and it’s nice to take a break and enjoy something that takes you back. Soccer has always been important to me.”

Kirkwood is the daughter of Jan and Jeff Kirkwood. She plans to pursue a career in dentistry.