Life has a way of taking the unexpected and turning it into something special.

Life has a way of taking the unexpected and turning it into something special.

Wednesday afternoon, Plainview athletes and sisters Mallory and Morgan Graves got to have their special moment.

In front of their friends, coaches, classmates, and plenty of family members, the twin sisters officially signed their National Letters of Intent to play college athletics at Southwesten College in Winfield, Kansas.

Mallory will be suiting up as a member of the Builders cheer squad under the direction of head coach Erin Doerksen, while Morgan will be continuing her passion for running as a member of the track and cross country programs.

While the moment itself was a dream come true for both Mallory and Morgan, the circumstances in which this journey began were anything but normal.

Mallory was in the process of applying for colleges and various scholarships. During this process, she applied for Southwestern College, not knowing the school was located in another state.

Instead, Graves was under the impression she was applying for Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma. 

As fate would have it though, Mallory was accepted into Southwestern College, and encouraged to apply for a full tuition scholarship. 

After traveling more than four hours across two days to Winfield, Kansas with her dad, Mallory took part in the process, which included a 50-minute timed essay, but what she walked away with was beyond her wildest dreams.

Soon after visiting the campus, Mallory fell in love with the atmosphere, and was contacted shortly thereafter by coach Doerksen upon learning she was a cheerleader.
And the rest as they say is history.

“The initial shock hasn’t worn off for me yet,” Mallory said about signing with Southwestern College. 

“Just the thought of being a college athlete blows my mind. God gave me this opportunity to be in this position, and to do something I love in college. I’m so excited to do what I love for four more years. I absolutely love cheer.”

“Telling that story about how I found Southwestern is kinda funny,” Mallory added. “The only thing I’d probably change about it is I’d probably have just made things easier and applied their directly first and found the college instead of things happening like they did. But it all worked out and I’m very excited and blessed.”

Morgan’s journey to Southwestern wasn’t quite as complex, but it was just as surprising.

When visiting the campus with Mallory and their family, it was discovered by the coaches at Southwestern that Morgan was a standout runner in the Plainview track and cross country programs.

In an ironic, but special twist of fate, Morgan was soon offered the chance to continue her dreams of running as she was given a scholarship to attend Southwestern as a college athlete.

“I’m excited to have a second chance at cross country,” Morgan said. “I cried when cross country ended in October, and I just kept wishing for one more race. Finally I got this offer from Mallory applying and I looked at this as my second chance. I love running, and I’m excited for this opportunity.”

Before she signed on the dotted line, Plainview coach Jerry Naylor spoke to the standing room only crowd, something which Morgan said meant the world to her.

“I love him and he’s one of my favorite people ever,” Morgan said about the longtime Plainview coach. “He’s always believed in me and pushed me to be my best. I’ve gotten to be apart of a legend’s life and he’s gotten to be apart of my journey so it’s super special to me.” 

Both Morgan and Mallory have experience on the big stage in their respective sports, as Morgan has competed and won in the state finals in cross country and track, while Mallory has competed in the state finals as a member of the Lady Indians cheerleading squad. 

At the end of the day though, the most special part about this journey for the sisters is they get to attend college together and pursue their passions together.

“I’ve been with Mallory since the womb,” Morgan said. “I don’t have to re-learn a new person or their traits. This is super special and I can’t wait to spend the next four years with my best friend and my sister.”

“I know how much Morgan loves running,” Mallory said. “We’re both getting second chances at what we love. We both love the color purple, and getting to share this with her is super special and something we’re very blessed to have.”

Mallory plans to study communications while attending Southwestern College, while Morgan plans to major in biology with a minor in chemistry or marine biology.