MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Mount Olive College softball student-athlete Katherine “Kat” Cahoon knew she would be participating in Senior Day festivities on the softball diamond. She had no idea she would be leaving the field with a diamond.
Cahoon, a senior left fielder from Columbia, N.C., was the fifth of five Trojan seniors to be honored during Senior Day ceremonies prior to Mount Olive’s doubleheader against Chowan University Sunday at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field. Trojan head coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham, who presided over the ceremonies, saluted her seniors and then asked if any spectators had any amusing stories they wanted to share.
Andrew Alphin, Cahoon’s boyfriend, walked onto the field. But instead of sharing amusing stories about Cahoon, he scripted a new story by bending down on one knee and taking a diamond ring out of his pocket.
The proposal was away from the microphone, so those in attendance were in suspense over the answer. A kiss from the couple and a thumbs up gave the answer as the crowd erupted into applause.
The Senior Day proposal was actually in the works for months, but Alphin and Coach Kylis-Higginbotham managed to keep it a secret from Cahoon.
“I had no idea,” said Cahoon. “When he came onto the field, I figured he was going to tell a funny story about me. Then when he got down on one knee, that kind of gave it away.”
Cahoon added, “I knew this would happen one day, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen today.”
“I started planning this in early December,” said Alphin, a senior math major from Kinston, N.C. Both Alphin and Cahoon will graduate in May.
Cahoon is majoring in exercise science with a minor in religion, carrying a cumulative 3.592 grade point average. Before anyone was aware a marriage proposal was in the works, Kylis-Higginbotham told the crowd of Cahoon’s plans after college.
“Kat told me she wants to have three to five kids,” said Kylis-Higginbotham, who is in her seventh year at Mount Olive. “She also wants to run a faith-based recreation center. And I can’t see her doing anything else.”
On the diamond, Mount Olive celebrated Senior Day and Cahoon’s engagement party with a doubleheader sweep over Chowan. Cahoon hit safely in both games to extend her hitting streak to a career-high 10 games and improve her season batting average to .413. During the introduction of the starting lineups, Cahoon was announced as Kat Cahoon-Alphin.
Alphin said Cahoon answered his proposal with a question.
“She asked me if I would do the dishes,” said Alphin. “I said I would, so she said yes.”
Cahoon joked about what she would remember most about the day.
“I’ll always remember that I got three hits today,” said Cahoon.
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park and Washington.”
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