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Emma Kaiser: From UK Fan To High School Placekicker To Bowl Quee - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Emma Kaiser: From UK Fan To High School Placekicker To Bowl Queen And More

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Emma Kaiser was all smiles when she was crowned queen at the PBK Bank/WPBK-FM Death Valley Bowl. (Larry Vaught Photo) Emma Kaiser was all smiles when she was crowned queen at the PBK Bank/WPBK-FM Death Valley Bowl. (Larry Vaught Photo)
Emma Kaiser has become a dependable placekicker for Lincoln County. She's also an honors student, plays soccer and is on the swim team. (Jennifer Kaiser Photo) Emma Kaiser has become a dependable placekicker for Lincoln County. She's also an honors student, plays soccer and is on the swim team. (Jennifer Kaiser Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

STANFORD, Ky. — Emma Kaiser really had no choice but to grow up a Kentucky fan.

Her parents had UK football and basketball tickets. Her grandparents were devout UK fans — and still are at age 88. If you want to talk to them and UK is playing, the call better come at halftime.

Jennifer and Andrew Kaiser, Eastern Kentucky alums, took their daughter to UK games and also watched many games on TV.

“I can remember last March driving to Evansville for a soccer tourney and we wanted to be there before Kentucky played Northern (Kentucky) in the NCAA Tournament,” said Jennifer Kaiser. “We just rolled into the hotel and the first thing we did was get the game on TV. She’s just grown up that way. She really had no choice but to be a UK fan.”

She did have a choice as what to pursue academically and athletically and Kaiser, a senior at Lincoln County High School in Stanford, obviously had a hard time saying no to anything.

She’s BETA Club president, vice-president of Future Business Leaders of America, and a member of Student Council, National Honor Society and National French Honor Society. She was also a Governor’s Scholar participant this summer.

She plays both high school and club soccer. She’s also on the swim team. But what really makes her unique is that she’s on the Lincoln football team for the third year. She kicked 30 extra points and one field goal in 2016 and has nine extra points and one field goal so far this season for coach Travis Leffew’s football team.

Leffew, a former All-American offensive lineman at Louisville, saw her playing soccer and noticed what a strong kicking leg she had. He approached Kaiser’s father and said he thought it would be “cool” to have her on the football team.

Kaiser was not expecting to like being a placekicker. However, once she tried it, she was sold on it.

“I have a lot of friends that play football. I didn’t tell anybody what I was going to do and one day I just showed up at practice,” she said. “They were all wondering why I was there.”

What about her parents?

“My dad was so excited when I decided to do it. I have a sister and he said, ‘Finally, a boy sport.’ My mom was a little nervous and still is. But the entire community has been so supportive. I could not do it without their support,” she said.

She got hit “hard” once last season and was expecting it to actually be a lot more painful than it was.

“All the pads you wear in football compared to soccer helps. I have taken so many hits in soccer that hurt a lot worse. Once I realized I was not hurt, it was not that bad,” she laughed and said.

Kaiser was crowned queen of the PBK Bank/WPBK-FM Death Valley Bowl in week one of the season after Lincoln defeated Clay County. She accepted the crown wearing her football uniform. She went out to eat with friends after the game and they insisted she wear her crown into the restaurant. Now it’s sitting on a table in her bedroom.

“I was thinking this was something I could do that was kind of girly, but then I got to thinking that wearing my uniform on the field and not dressing up was kind of cool, too,” Kaiser said. “I love talking to people and showing I am not a tomboy.”

She gets that chance again Saturday night when she competes in the Distinguished Young Women pageant in Stanford. Participants are judged on scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression for a chance to win college scholarship money.

She wrote a poem and her talent will be spray painting an image to go along with the poem. She will have only 90 seconds to complete her painting.

“I have been practicing in my basement but I know it will be a lot more stressful on stage. I just have to get in a zone and get it done,” she said. “It’s exactly the same as when I am kicking in football. I am fine at practice and then get nervous, or maybe anxious is a better word, at games. Then you just have to zone everybody out and make the kick.”

She obviously knows how to stay in a “zone” with time management. She’s volunteered for United Day of Action, Kentucky Changers, Winterfest, Grace Cafe, Jingle Bell Jog, Haven Care Center and Lincoln County youth football camp

“I like to be busy, but I can get stressed out. I love helping others,” Kaiser said. “Right now my routine is school, soccer, football, home and then school work. But I put my academics first. I don’t ever let that slide.”

She knows a high finish in Saturday’s event would give her another platform to reach out to young girls that could be UK fans like she was and looking for some future direction.

“I want to show little kids that come up to me that I can kick on the football team and maybe inspire them to one day do something they really want to do. I can show them I can do what I love and be sporty but also put on a dress and be myself and not be shy. I want to show girls that they can do whatever they want. I was not your stereotypical bowl queen. I would not be your typical Distinguished Young Women winner. But I can still send a message that you can be you and still do all these things.”

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