Shakayla Morgan medals at state after only two years of running


Kaitlyn Jensen, Editor-in-Chief

“No longer did I just want something to hang on my wall show off. My coaches said that I had a chance, so I took that and ran with it, literally,” Shakayla Morgan (12) said.

  On October 18, Blackfoot high school hosted cross country districts. This race was very important to the runners, as this was the qualifying race that would lead others to state. From Blackfoot, the boys team qualified as well as one girl, Shakayla Morgan.

  “As it became more of a reality, the thought of going to state got more and more exciting,” Morgan said.

  State was held in Lewiston, Idaho, on the 27 of October. The boys were ranked fourth as a team, while Shakayla was ranked 29th going into the race.The trip took nine hours to get there, but it was all worth in the end for these athletes.

  Throughout the season, Morgan pushed herself beyond what she thought she could do. Every race she had a new goal of what time she wanted and what place she wanted to finish at.

 “One of the main things I wanted during the season was to get a medal at all meets possible. Every meet that I thought I could medal in, ( except one) I did indeed medal,” Morgan said.

    Because Morgan was the only girl that qualified for state, she had to work even harder at practice. Morgan had set goals for the race and wanted this race to count, because it was her last one. She was ranked number 29 in the state of Idaho.

  “As I was preparing for state, I knew it was going to be a fast race, so I wanted to practice with the boys team, who are much faster than me, to get myself ready. I also knew that my mind would go crazy during the race, so I came up with what I would think about to combat negative thoughts,” Morgan said.

  The night before race day, the runners all had a meeting with the coaches. In this meeting, the coaches told them how proud they were of them. They told them that this was there moment to shine and put Blackfoot on the map.

 Taking this to heart, Shakayla came up with two goals for her race: to come in 18th or 19th place and have a time of 19:45 when she came into the finish, which would be one minute and forty-five seconds than her last years personal record.

  Before the race started, she was a little nervous to be there by herself.

  “I definitely felt like the oddball who was just there by chance. I wanted to prove that I wasn’t just there by chance. I felt motivated, but not overwhelmed, and empowered but not cocky,” Morgan said.

  As the race started, Morgan made her way to the front of the pack. She started in the 30s, moved up to the 20s and eventually made into the pack of 18th and 19th places. She kept pushing forward, holding nothing back, fearful she would lose the momentum she had built up a few minutes before.

  “The three-ish minutes I spent in the last 800 of the second mile, I was completely motivated by those who surrounded me. As I approached the last mile,( I think I was in 27ish place) I realized that I could do something that I had never done before. I started to put thoughts of loved ones and race strategy together,” Morgan said.

  At the last 800, she pulled ahead, passing two people here and another one there. She rounded the next corner in 18th place, racing her opponent to the finish line. Determination filled her eyes as she caught a glimpse of the finish line ahead.

  Morgan placed 19th place overall at state with a time of 19 minutes and 32 seconds, her personal record yet.

  “When I crossed the finish line I knew I placed, but I don’t think I realized that I had placed in State until after I relaxed a little,” she said. “I don’t want to brag about getting a medal. I will however brag about how great of a team I have and how we have all supported one another throughout the season.”

  As cross country came to a close, Morgan looked back on all her good memories from the past two years. She had made it to state both years, but that wasn’t the most important thing to her. She made new friends and joined a family that would be remembered for years to come.

  “We’ve all had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we’re a family of runners that will keep going and trying even when no one thinks we can do it,” she said.

  Her advice to runners everywhere would be: “I would tell other runners, that their minds tend to tell them that they can’t go any farther or faster or they can’t get any better. Their minds tell them that it’s too hard, and it’s not worth trying, but they are actually so much stronger than their minds let on.”