Carthage senior Kaylee Morgan hasn’t done hurdles since she was in junior high, and she’s never competed in the javelin throw since the event is not sanctioned in Missouri at the high school level.
But she’ll be picking those events up and more as she continues her athletics career at Missouri Southern with the track and field program, a move she made official with a signing Wednesday afternoon at Carthage High School.
“It’s close to home,” Morgan said. “I’m really close to my family, and they have a really good indoor facility, which really helped my decision a lot. It just seemed like a good fit for me.”
Morgan, who has been a three-year letter winner in softball and a four-year letter winner in both basketball and track and field, had opportunities to compete in sports other than track and field at the collegiate level, but after visiting Southern, she knew it was the right fit.
“When I went on the visit I knew,” she said. “They say you get that moment where you know that’s where you want to be. That’s how I was, so that’s how I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
Morgan, the daughter of Patricia Morgan-Moore and Darrell Moore, said several things combined to make Southern the right choice. For one, she knows several people already attending the school, and she enjoyed meeting other girls on the track and field squad.
“It has that college feel, and it also has a really good dental hygiene program and that’s really what I want to do,” she said Wednesday.
In track, she holds the Carthage High School record in the long jump at 18’2”, a mark she set last spring. In 2010 and 2011 she was also the Central Ozark Conference champion in the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump and 400-meter relay events.
She was the Class 4 District 6 champion in the long jump, 100 meter and 400-meter relay last season, and was also a sectional qualifier in 2010 and 2011 in the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump and 400-meter relay.
In addition to those honors, Morgan qualified for state in the 400-meter relay in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as the 200 meter in 2010 and the 100 meter, 200 meter and long jump last year.
With her college decision out of the way, Morgan can now turn her attention to the final weeks of basketball season and her final track and field season in high school.
“I’m really glad I got that decision out of the way,” she said. “It takes a lot of pressure off of deciding where to go to college, but as far as the track season goes I still have goals I haven’t met yet, like medaling at state. I really want to do that. I’ve been there three years and haven’t gotten a medal yet, so I’d really like to get that accomplished.”
At Southern for coach Patty Vavra, Morgan will compete in the heptathlon, which consists of the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter, long jump, javelin throw and 800 meter.
“I love a challenge and with track I can really push myself and I really enjoy that part of it,” Morgan said. “I like to push myself. I like to be competitive and track’s a really competitive sport.”