Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Soccer player Ellie Hight performs national anthem on Senior Day

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Ellie Hight singing the The Star-Spangled Banner for Senior Day on Oct. 19 at Houck Stadium. Photo by Marc Mahnke/Southeast Missouri Sports Information

The Southeast Missouri State Women's soccer team hosted Morehead State for Senior Day on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Houck Stadium.

The seniors played their last regular-season home game in Houck Stadium in front of friends and family, and each senior was introduced by the announcer, who shared their accomplishments.

After these introductions, Redhawks fans were treated to a special surprise when senior defender Ellie Hight came forward and sang the national anthem.

"I asked to do it a few months back because it had always been a little dream of mine to be able to sing at my own game," Hight said.

Hight said that she could sing before she could do anything.

Hight called singing her No. 1 passion and said that it was something she has always been good at and taken seriously.

The Senior Day game was a chance to combine her two passions.

"If you choose collegiate sports you may choose to say no to other things you may know," Hight said. "I did and this was my one opportunity to combine them, so I thought that was really cool."

The Star-Spangled Banner is no pushover.

Professional musicians from across the country have been humbled by the word play as well as the nerves of the big moment.

Most recently before Game 5 of the World Series, Aaron Lewis, the former lead vocalist of the rock group Staind, stumbled through the song.

Hight was well prepared and did not have this issue.

"I was a little nervous," Hight said. "I have sang the national anthem at other sporting events before. Back in high school I did that a lot, but it is different when you're singing it in front of tons of people, when you're the only one. I sang it in four-part harmony most of the time. ... I went home, I got on the piano and I pressed a note and recorded it, so I could put my phone up to my ear and I could hear the note, and hopefully it sounded good."

Nerves came to Hight on her first few lines and she was concerned about having a shaky voice, but after she began to sing she allowed nature to take over.

Her teammates really enjoyed it. Kaitlin Kuznacic, a sophomore midfielder, wanted to join Hight in the song but was not able to on the mic, it was because of this reason that Hight asked out loud before she began if anyone would like to sing the national anthem with her.

The day got more special for the seniors when Hight and her teammates beat Morehead State 2-1.

"That day was really emotional in so many different ways," Hight said. "The get-together and the gift giving ceremony and the letter reading at the beginning of the day before we come out to the field. We are already hyped up from that and then to be able to come out here and sing, that was just great, and that just made me feel awesome and just to come out with a win just put the cherry on top -- against a team that in the past has been a very difficult game."

Singing for Hight started in church where she said all good things start.

Hight's parents were both on the choir and worship team. Her childhood consisted of being a "choir kid," who watched choir practice.

Hight did a lot of plays as a kid and musical performances in high school and was the lead in her school's opera as a senior.

Hight also competed with her high school choirs both big and small, and singing has always been a constant focus for Hight until her four years at Southeast.

Hight understands that she had to let singing go due to the grueling schedule student-athletes must deal with.

Hight does hope to go back and sing in church now that she is nearing the end of her career as a Redhawk.

Southeast coach Heather Nelson said that Hight is one the most diverse people anyone could ever meet. She is a historical preservation major with a minor in history.

Hight does have another talent.

"I can sew my own clothes if I wanted to," Hight said. "My mom and I used to sew a quilt, so I used to do that a lot."