Patton earns varsity jersey
Audrey Patton, a 5-10 forward from Purdy, is one of only three freshmen to make the women's varsity basketball roster at Central Methodist University. Patton, who is majoring in elementary education, joins newcomers Kyra Williams, of Knob Noster, and Lyndsey Roberts, of Harrisburg, on the 16-girl roster for the Lady Eagles.
Patton is best known as the graceful forward with the deadly baby hook who helped lead the Purdy Lady Eagles to the Class 2 state championship last season. She finished her high school career as a 1,000-point scorer, was selected as an All-Conference and All-District player and was named to the Joplin Globe's All-Area Honorable Mention team.
After winning just five games in the 2010-11 season, Central Methodist has gone all in with the hiring of head coach James Arnold and a youth movement that includes Patton. While Arnold has experienced All-Conference senior Sami Gunger to lead the team, he is also counting on immediate help from transfers Brittney Lloyd and Karli Abbey and the three freshmen.
"I was very nervous to start college practices, meet all the players and to meet the new coach," said Patton.
Many things about the college game are new for the freshman from Purdy.
"Before our official practices began, we met with the weights coach which was new for me because I had never really been on a weights program before," Audrey said. "I lifted and worked out over the summer but never under the instruction of a real weights coach. I've learned a lot about strength, conditioning and lifting."
The CMU Lady Eagles often have "weights time" at 5:30 a.m. before players go to their first class.
"I feel honored that I am on varsity as a freshman on such a large team with older, more experienced players," Patton continued. "I will also get to play some JV, which will be good because I can get in more playing time. The varsity and JV have separate practices, so Coach Arnold only has me practice with the varsity team.".
The CMU Lady Eagles begin season play on Oct. 31 against William Woods University at Fulton.
Audrey is the daughter of Linda and Stan Patton.