NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News
A recurring series on WGLT's Sound Ideas about the central Illinois athletes who do incredible things, even after the game is over.

Beyond Sports: ISU's Mary Crompton

Mary Crompton handling COVID tests
ISU Athletics
/
Illinois State University's Mary Crompton helps the women's basketball team trainer with regular coronavirus tests.

Illinois State University women’s basketball player Mary Crompton is on the five-year plan, but not the one many college students employ to get through school. One of the university's top scholars plans to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in her five years on campus.

Mary Crompton
Credit ISU Athletics
/
Mary Crompton is a redshirt sophomore for the ISU women's basketball team, but she's already set to graduate in May.

Crompton, a redshirt sophomore from Iowa City, Iowa, is the first student-athlete WGLT will profile in its new Beyond Sports series on Sound Ideas.  

Crompton lost her first year of basketball at ISU to a knee injury, but that didn't slow her career path.

“Once I redshirted my freshman year of basketball, I knew I’d be at ISU for a total of five years, so I just tried to think about how I could make the most of my time here,” she said.

Crompton has a 4.0 grade point average with a major in physiology and minor in chemistry. She is set to earn her undergraduate degree in May.

ISU has named Crompton a Bone Scholar — the university's highest honor given to an undergrad.

Crompton also has helped the basketball team’s trainer with regular COVID-19 testing this season. She takes the test swabs and puts them in a chemical solution before the trainer reads them to determine if they are positive.

Crompton said she offered to help because it's a lot of work for one person to do.

“It’s always good to band together during hard times, and this pandemic in general has been completely unprecedented,” Crompton said. “It’s been a very interesting time and I find that it’s important to help each other out in any way we can.”

Crompton said the coronavirus testing interested her because of her volunteer research in microbiology. Crompton has been studying the body’s stress response to E. coli bacteria as a way to combat bacterial infections.

“Hopefully, my research can be beneficial for other people to build off that, to be able to keep E. coli from causing infections in our body,” she said.

Crompton plans to go to medical school after grad school at ISU. She wants to become a doctor.

Crompton said she already wanted to pursue a medical career before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but she said interest in the field seems to be on the rise.

“You are definitely seeing an increase in students wanting to go into the medical field through this process because they want to be helpful in the future if anything like this happens again,” Crompton said.

Crompton also is accomplished on the basketball court.

Last season, she set an ISU freshman record for three-point baskets. This year, she leads the Missouri Valley Conference in three-point shooting. Crompton is the second-leading scorer (12 points per game) on a squad that has posted a 13-6 record. 

The pandemic abruptly ended last season just before the postseason tournament. Crompton said she remembers the disappointment and the uncertainty ahead of this season.

“It was a heartbreaking time last year," she said. "I’ve been really fortunate for every practice and every game that we’ve gotten to do this year because there was a point during the summer and even the beginning of the fall when I had no idea what our season would look like." 

The Redbirds rank among the top three seeds heading into the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament that starts March 11 in Moline, Ill.

There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. Donate now, and help fund your public media.

Related Content