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ULM walk-on Lee Marshall’s road back to football included Chili’s, Coca-Cola, intramurals

Lee Marshall ULM locker

Former Wossman star Lee Marshall is eager for another chance at football at ULM. (Courtesy of Lee Marshall)

Lee Marshall would wake up and go to workouts at 7:45 a.m. or class at 9 a.m., depending on the particular day’s schedule.

He’d head from one to the other, finishing up in the early afternoon, and then off to six-hour work shifts stocking Coca-Cola products from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Homework and studying would cap off a routine that would make most college students cringe at the thought.

But the ULM walk-on, finally back on the football field, can’t help but see the opportunity as a blessing.

“It was hard,” Marshall says of his spring. “But it makes it much easier knowing how much I wanted to play. It’s hard, but, I mean, I can do it.”

The Monroe native wasn’t always sure he’d get the chance.

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Injured-plagued underdog, NOLA native Chelsea Hayes knocking on door of Olympic return

Chelsea Hayes runs toward long jump

New Orleans native and Louisiana Tech product Chelsea Hayes has been determined to overcome a string of injuries and qualify for her second Olympics. (Courtesy of John Nutt)

That same little giggle somehow punctuates even the most disappointing and frustrating moments as Chelsea Hayes vents through the past four years.

A fractured back, a bulging disc, severe patellar tendonitis in her right knee, tendonitis in her left and injuries to her groin, hip flexor and abductor among other areas haven’t been able to wear away the wide, infectious smile not even Hurricane Katrina could dampen for long.

And so the 2012 U.S. Olympian returned to Eugene, Ore., on Tuesday for this week’s Olympic Trials in search of an against-all-odds, storybook finish to her rollercoaster coming of age.

“The thing was: Katrina, we lost everything — we even lost family members,” says Hayes, who will compete in the long jump Friday evening. “So I wouldn’t put (the past four years) on that same platform. It was pretty tough. It was pretty stressful. There were times I questioned my ability. There were times that I questioned whether I should keep going forward with this.

“‘What should I do? Is this for me? Was my last calling in London? Should I keep going forward?’

“But I just think about, ‘I’ve been through Katrina. I lost everything, and that thing that kept me going was track and field.’ That got me out of New Orleans. I don’t know where I would be without track. Track got me to college. So that’s why I feel like, no matter what, at the end of the day, you can take everything from me, but you’re not gonna take away my ability to compete and my ability to keep fighting.”

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