By Temo Olvera / Staff Writer

Carrie Harmon-Moore will be the commencement speaker at graduation for Missouri Valley College. Harmon-Moore is a repeat athletic trainer for the USA women’s wrestling team, is a 99’ graduate from Valley, and was inducted into the MVC Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming. She is the first inductee for athletic training.

Valley administration described Harmon-Moore as a perfect fit for commencement speaker. Her success in athletic training sets a new norm for post-Valley success and gender domination in athletic training. Her involvement in the Alumni Association is also notable. 

When Harmon-Moore was being considered for selection Bonnie Humphrey, MVC president, said Harmon-Moore was the perfect candidate. Humphrey said she wanted a young woman with good communication skills to speak to the graduating class. In previous years the speakers have been men. Humphrey said Harmon-Moore will be able to connect with the students. 

Humphrey mentioned Harmon-Moore to Eric Sappington, the vice president of external relations. Sappington said no formal meeting was held because it was not needed. After seeing Harmon-Moore’s accomplishments and acceptance speech last fall they knew she would be a great speaker. 

“She loves Missouri Valley, is articulate, and very successful,” said Sappington. “Wrap that up and what would make a better speaker?”

Humphrey noted Harmon-Moore’s success in what she said was a male-dominated field. A lot has changed from the 1990s and Harmon-Moore is part of that transition. As women’s wrestling took the international stage, so did she, breaking historical gender norms with athletic training. 

“It’s so important to break the glass ceiling,” said Sappington. “Carrey is an example of a person who came from Valley and did that.”

Being inducted into the hall of fame is what really put Harmon-Moore on the president’s radar.

To be inducted into the hall of fame one must be nominated. The nominee should have spent ten years outside of Valley. Anyone can make a nomination. The MVC Hall of Fame board then goes through the nominations and selects four to six of the best candidates. These can be individuals or teams. The nomination form is available at Valleywillroll.com.

Though many of her peers and mentors have moved on from Valley, those who are still working remember her as a brilliant individual well-deserving of her titles. Mike Machholz, the men’s wrestling head coach,  had assigned her to the men’s wrestling team during her undergrad and when she had returned as faculty. He said she was excellent in her field and was always learning. Tom Fifer, the athletic director, said he was proud to see a Viking on the international stage. 

“She was so personable and really cared about the student athletes,” said MVC Athletic Director Tom Fifer. “Was always one of the top students.”

Sappington said Harmon-Moore is also very humble. When the school reached out to her, Sappington said she felt unqualified to speak to the graduates. He assured her that her accomplishments, communication skills, and youth would make her an incredible speaker for this graduation. When she was inducted into the MVC Athletic Hall of Fame, she recognized that she was not being inducted for her athletic ability, but for her work as an athletic trainer. 

Before her induction, she was part of the athletic training staff during the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics. Her responsibilities as a professor and trainer prompted her to decline a third season of Olympic training. Harmon-Moore graduated from Valley in 1999 and earned her master’s at Lindenwood. She was later hired at Valley as an athletic trainer and made connections with members of the athletic training staff for the USA men’s wrestling team. She became the athletic trainer for basketball at Lindenwood and eventually made her way to the USA women’s Olympic wrestling team in 2009. According to her MVC Hall of Fame nomination form, She has also worked in the Sr. World Cup, Sr. World championships, and received the Girl Scout of Eastern Missouri Pearl Award-Woman of Distinction in Sports. 

“Carrey sat in your seat and went on to be great,” said Sappington. “It’s motivating and inspiring.”

Machholz said Harmon-Moore raised the bar for athletic training and alumni at Valley. Harmon-Moore is not the only alumni to reach the Olympics however. Jacarra Winchester competed in the 2020 summer Olympics, Maria Dunn in 2008 and 2012, both for women’s wrestling. Harmon-Moore adds to that stack of success in a unique way: Through her success as an Athletic Trainer. It shows Valley is capable of producing good athletes and top-tier professionals.

Fifer said: ”Several alumni have been involved at the national and international level of sports from a school with only 1,500 students,” to explain how the work of these incredible Alumni reflects the quality of students at Valley,

As an athletic trainer, student and faculty, Harmon-Moore was very influential in Valley Athletics. Machholz said athletics training is essential to the success of Valley’s sports team. Athletic trainers prevent and treat injuries that keep players off the field and hinder their progress academically. He said athletic training has become a full-time job. 

“I think they’re undervalued by athletes,” said Machholz. 

Valley has 800 student athletes and only six trainers. Not only do Valley trainers keep athletes healthy, but they also teach.

The athletic training major was removed almost 10 years ago. The exercise science major has subsumed the athletic training major. Machholz said many of the trainers, like Harmon-Moore, came from Valley, but now they are applying from elsewhere. He said it’s nice to see Valley people working, but they will hire the best person for the job. He said Valley alumni can sympathize with the athletes. They’ve been through undergrad at Valley and understand the processes more than someone from outside of the school. 

Harmon-Moore is also a very active member of the alumni association. Machholz said she helped create a successful Alumni gathering in St. Louis last month and acts as a catalyst for alumni her age. Harmon-Moore and her sister Brook found the location and suggested the date for the alumni social which Sappington said had about 50 Valley alumni from the St. Louis area. 

For this spring’s graduates who would like to be more involved in the alumni associations. Sappington suggests visiting the Alumni Office before leaving. The moment students walk across the field they become alumni. If emails, phone numbers, and addresses change the school will not be aware unless notified. Sappington said Alumni in the St. Louis area whose contact information was not up to date may have missed out on the Alumni Social. Alumni can update their profiles on the Valley website. 

Seniors will be introduced to the Alumni life about a week before graduation. The Senior Send Off is a final gathering of the graduating class. Sappington said it will be held at Stonehedge Golf Club, Monday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m.