SPOTLIGHT: Overcoming The Odds
Alivia Yeager

Oct. 7, 2011

By John Holt  

It’s a reality in sports these days: A star athlete gets injured and misses a significant amount of time.  

While injuries have always been a part of sports, some, have the ability to make an individual athlete stronger whereas in other instances the athlete is never quite the same. 

Just ask Ole Miss rifle sophomore Alivia Yeager.

THE SURGERY
While attending Seneca High School in her hometown, Louisville, Ky., (just nine months before she would arrive at Ole Miss), Yeager underwent oral and maxillofacial surgery, which today, has changed her outlook on her sport as well as, life.    

“You’re not looking at my real face,” Yeager said.  “My face used to be round and looked like a baby’s face.  It was round and pudgy.  The doctors went in and broke both of my jaws, the bottom, and the top.  The top part of your jaw is part of your skull, which plenty of people, don’t even realize.  They had to move them around, position them and screw them back together.  I also have a fake chin.”

The surgery is defined as one that is supposed to correct a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
While braces usually can solve the problem for many maxillofacial cases, Yeager’s was so unique and severe that going through the surgery appeared to be the only option.  

“It wasn’t completely necessary for me to have the surgery but the doctors told me that later in life I would have lots of problems with it if I didn’t get the surgery done early,” Yeager said.  “I definitely wanted to get it done before I came to school here.”

HIGH SCHOOL STANDOUT
Prior to the surgery, Yeager was excelling and constantly improving in her sport.  While Yeager’s mother Julie, a dance instructor, tried to get her daughter into the ballroom scene, Alivia decided to go a different route and started shooting at the age of 14 because her father Ray owned a gun range.  


 

 

After just six months of shooting, Yeager was producing scores that were at a national level.  During her high school career she was a three-time Kentuckiana Rifle Conference Champion and four-time MVP.  Even 2011 NCAA Rifle Champion Kentucky began to take interest in her.

Yeager stated however, that the Ole Miss campus was the number one factor in her decision to commit to the club’s rifle program over the second school on her list, Murray State.   

TRANSITION GAME
While she did commit to the Rebels before her surgery occurred, Ole Miss head rifle coach Valerie Boothe stated that she never lost belief in Yeager as a shooter.  

“I knew Alivia was a hard worker and had the patience and diligence to put the time in,” Boothe said.  “I knew she was going to work to get back to where she was.  It crossed my mind that she would have trouble, but it didn’t cross my mind that she wouldn’t get back there.”

Current teammate, sophomore Abbey Stanec, has known Yeager since their days in high school rifling and described Yeager’s comeback journey as remarkable.

“The surgery it really changed her,” Stanec said.  “She was always really involved in shooting and then for awhile, it was like she dropped off the face of the earth.  Everyone was like ‘Where is Alivia?’ Then we found out she had surgery and then she came back, and wasn’t shooting the scores she had before.  But we all could definitely tell (surgery) had affected her because your cheek piece in rifling is a whole big part of shooting.”   

Today Yeager, a managerial finance major, estimated she is shooting at around 85 percent, compared to the level where she was two years ago.  

Despite not having been 100 percent at any point during her brief collegiate career thus far, Yeager still was able to post the second best air rifle average (582.7) on the entire Rebels roster last season as a freshman.     

“She’s very independent and mature, and knows what she needs to do to improve” assistant coach Natasha Dinsmore said.  “She puts it on herself to make the changes that are necessary.”     

POSITIVE SIGNS AHEAD
Aside from shooting, Yeager received news last week that she has been selected to be an intern for Disney’s College Program this spring at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  

She applied for the position last month and received an email stating she had been chosen.  During the six-month internship she will be working at one of the restaurants in one of Disney’s Park’s.  Yet she won’t know all of her job tasks or responsibilities until she arrives on February 20.  

“I figured this internship would be a great opportunity and I’ve always loved Disney World,” Yeager said.  

Since she has decided to accept the internship position, Yeager must take a minimum of twelve hours of online credits next semester in order to remain eligible by NCAA rules.  

This year’s NCAA Rifle Championships begin on March 8.  Yeager said the team has already been in contact with Ole Miss Athletic Director Pete Boone about contacting Disney to ask if Yeager can be let off to join her teammates, and participate in the Championships if the Rebels do in fact, qualify.  

“This says a lot for our team and a lot for our University that Alivia got this,” Dinsmore said.  “We’re real excited that she’s going to be able to do both for the team.”

Meanwhile Stanec added with a smile, “I’m so proud of Alivia because it has been tough on her but things are now really coming together for her.”

    • Game 2: Ole Miss 3, ECU 2

      Saturday, February 18, 2017 - Baseball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Ole Miss rallied from a two-run deficit in the late innings to knock off ECU 3-2 and clinch the... read more

    • Ole Miss 5, ECU 4

      Friday, February 17, 2017 - Baseball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} In a game that had the feel of an SEC Friday night showdown, baserunners were difficult to come by... read more

    • 2017 Ole Miss Baseball Walk Out Music

      Thursday, February 16, 2017 -

      With the 2017 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning tomorrow at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. No. 6 East Carolina), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by... read more

    • Four Rebels Invited to the NFL Combine

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Four Rebels will head to Indianapolis to take part in the NFL Combine in hopes of bolstering their draft... read more

    • What They're Saying: Men's Golf Sophomore Braden Thornberry

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Men's Golf

      The breakout college golfer of the fall is trying to prove it wasn't a fluke. (@OleMissMGolf) https://t.co/S1IgwNJxmJ pic.twitter.com/p0IezRH1ul-- Ryan Herrington (@GWcampusinsider) February 6, 2017 .@tberrygolf enters the mix for this September at LACC.#WalkerCup Watch List: https://t.co/UPkkcOD3lX pic.twitter.com/0Sprbl7Qv4-- Golfweek (@golfweek) February... read more

    • Rebels Focus on Defense on Signing Day

      Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Ole Miss' defense needed a shot in the arm after a 2016 season to forget. It began by retooling... read more

    • Engram Named a Top Performer by NFL Network's Mike Mayock

      Monday, January 30, 2017 - Football

      The Senior Bowl always offers players a chance to improve their draft stock by performing well against some of the best players in the nation. Evan Engram took advantage of that opportunity. NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock named Engram... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Texas A&M

      Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5) KenPom ranking: 64 Best win: vs. No. 50 Virginia Tech Worst loss:... read more

    • Rebels Impressing at East-West Shrine Game

      Thursday, January 19, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Arial; color: #222221; -webkit-text-stroke: #222221} span.s1 {font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #000000;... read more

    • Former Rebel Coach Ron Aldy Honored at Kirk Academy

      Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Women's Basketball

      Former Women's Basketball Head Coach Ron Aldy and his family at gym floor dedication at Kirk Academy today. pic.twitter.com/Ruyc9TFui5-- Holmes Athletics (@holmesathletics) January 14, 2017 p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px... read more

    • Tunsil Named AFC East Rookie of the Year by ESPN

      Monday, January 16, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and Ole Miss' former blind side protector Laremy Tunsil was named AFC East rookie of... read more

    • Three Rebel Coaches Among Top-20 Recruiters Nationally

      Friday, January 13, 2017 - Football

      With the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receiver coach, #OleMiss now has three asst coaches ranked in @247Sports '16 Top 20 best recruiters.-- Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) January 10, 2017 Ole Miss football bolstered its coaching staff by adding coaching... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Georgia

      Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Georgia (10-5, 2-1) KenPom ranking: 61 Best win: at No. 103 Auburn Worst loss: at No. 79 Oakland Ole... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Auburn

      Saturday, January 7, 2017 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Auburn (10-4) KenPom ranking: 105 Best win: No. 28 Texas Tech Worst loss: No. 172 Boston... read more

    • Longo Named FCS Coordinator of the Year

      Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #333333; -webkit-text-stroke: #333333; background-color: #ffffff; min-height: 17.0px} p.p4 {margin:... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook