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Facing new challenges

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Photo by: Lauren Hancock | Staff Photographer
Toshua Leavitt dribbles the ball down court.

Toshua Leavitt, freshman guard, is transitioning from the lifestyle of a high school student to that of a college basketball player 11 hours away from home.

Leavitt attended Nixa High School, in Nixa, Missouri. She broke the school’s three-point record in her first three seasons of playing. Leavitt scored 51 points in a single game and was named Conference Player of the year. The guard led her team to back-to-back district championships.

One thing Leavitt misses about high school basketball is her coach and having her parents around more.

“I love my coach. She was like my best friend,” Leavitt said. “It was easy having her as my coach and my parents got to be at every single game.”

Basketball wasn’t always the main focus for Leavitt, who was a multi-sport athlete. She started playing basketball while she was in kindergarten, thanks to her brother showing her the ropes.

“My brother always played sports, so he always taught me how to play,” Leavitt said. “But my parents never played—none of my family is really athletic.”

Leavitt played several sports including softball, basketball, soccer and even tackle football,

and continued her multi-sport involvement all the way up until the guard’s freshman year of high school.

Soccer was Leavitt’s favorite sport besides basketball, but unfortunately she had no choice but to quit playing. She has a cyst on the back of her knee, which inhibits her ability to kick or jump repeatedly.

“I still have it, so that’s why I still can’t play,” Leavitt said. “I can’t kick things or it starts swelling up, and I can’t jump on a trampoline because of all the impact.”

Thankfully for Leavitt, the cyst doesn’t affect her playing basketball.

One of the main reasons Leavitt decided to play basketball for the Bobcats was because of Coach Zenarae Antoine.

To Leavitt, Antoine was the nicest coach of all of her options.

“Even though I’m an out-of-state student, I feel like she cares,” Leavitt said. “She knows that I miss my parents sometimes.”

When Leavitt visited Texas State, she instantly connected with the teammates and coaches. Even Leavitt’s parents thought being a Bobcat was the right choice simply because of Antoine’s first impression.

Adjusting from high school to college has already proved to be challenging both on and off the court for the freshman. According to Leavitt, balancing school while on the road is one of the toughest parts about it.

“It’s hard,” Leavitt said. “We basically teach ourselves sometimes.”

On the court, Leavitt says the biggest adjustment is the strength and skill of her teammates and opponents. For Leavitt, one of the better parts about playing with more talented competition is the game flows at a faster pace.

For her first season as a Bobcat, Leavitt is averaging 5.3 points and one rebound per game. She is also shooting an average of .379 percent from the field and .400 percent from beyond the arc. Leavitt scored her season-high of 16 points against Georgia Southern in January.

Leavitt looks back on her freshman season and sees it as a good one.

“I think towards the beginning I was kind of scared,” Leavitt said. “I feel like now I’m not scared, and I’m excited for next season and to see what it brings.”