Grain Valley senior Morgan Scott has had success every season since her freshman year with the girls track and field team.
She has qualified for state in at least two events every year. But if you ask her, even she couldn’t have imagined she would accomplish what she has this season – something that no other Grain Valley girls track athlete has ever done.
“(Boys track) Coach (Marc) Cleveland and I were talking earlier about if we’ve ever had a girl make it to state in four events,” Grain Valley girls track coach Brian Winckler said. “We don’t think that’s ever happened at Grain Valley High School. She’s just been a tremendous asset to the team.
“I am also interested to see how she does at Pittsburg State. We’ve never sent a multi-event athlete to college before.
In last Saturday’s Class 4 Sectional 4 meet at Odessa High School, she qualified for state in four different events. Scott took first in the 800 meters (2:22.17) and was third in the long jump (16 feet, 7 inches). She also helped the 3,200 (4x800) relay win (9 minutes, 49.85 seconds) and the 1,600 (4x400) team take second (4:04.73).
“It was always my goal,” Scott, who expects to compete in the decathlon at Pitt State, said of qualifying in four events. “But in my head I didn’t think I was going to qualify in the long jump. I was excited and shocked for a little bit when I did.”
In the 800, Scott said she had the motivation to defeat Harrisonville’s Kaylee Harp, who won at districts. The Grain Valley senior beat Harp’s time by 1.06 seconds.
“I have been competing against her since last year,” Scott said. “She beat me last year, so it’s nice to have that competition.”
In both of her relays, she said the chemistry with her teammates has been a big part of both teams’ success. She teamed with Kailey Larson, Lilly Ogle and Valerie Holcomb in the 3,200 relay win, and Avery Huffman, Jay’Onna Perry and Gracie LaForge in the 1,600.
“I have a lot of confidence in all of the girls that I run with,” Scott said. “They are always competitive. We have a tight bond. We have competition between each other to see who can run the best lap.”
But while Scott thrives in long-distance events, she’s unique in the fact that she can thrive in a vastly different style of event such as the long jump. She credits her success to her gymnastics background.
“I have different strengths because of my gymnastics background,” she said. “I used to do gymnastics when I was younger. It helped me become versatile in track.”
Winckler has even had Scott participate in the 300-meter hurdles and the 800 back-to-back at districts, which helped the Eagles win a district title two weeks ago.
“We have asked her to do things the last four years that we don’t normally ask of our kids,” Winckler said. “Other coaches have looked at me like I was nuts.”
She won’t have to do those things at state, though. Scott said her goal is to get all-state and win a gold medal this Saturday in Jefferson City. Winckler said he thinks she can do both.
“I hope so,” Winckler said of Scott winning a gold medal. “We could get one in the 4x800. We have a good shot there. In the open (800), if she goes out and runs her race, she has a chance to get the gold there.”