Barnsville’s Morgan adds name to nation’s elite high school runners

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Stephanie Morgan turned in arguably the most impressive performance by
a high school track athlete in Ohio this year. And it wasn’t at the
state track and field championships where she defended both her
Division III 800- and 1,600-meter state titles.


Stephanie Morgan turned in arguably the most impressive performance by a high school track athlete in Ohio this year. And it wasn’t at the state track and field championships where she defended both her Division III 800- and 1,600-meter state titles.

No, the Barnesville High School junior’s top race was at the prestigious Penn Relays where she turned in the third fastest mile by a high school runner this spring (4:47.22) en route to the victory. Cleveland Beaumont standout senior Emily Infeld was runner-up and a full two seconds behind (4:49.31).

Morgan, who also owns the fourth fastest time nationally in the 800 this year (2:07.2), is the 2008 Huntington Bank/Ohio High Magazine Girls Track Runner of the Year.

“(Penn) was definitely a surprise,” Morgan said. “I knew I could reach that time at some point in the season, but I didn’t know I could reach it that early. It was great because I wasn’t in my top peak performance. I think it was great turning in a time like that that early in the season.”

Morgan’s future is unlimited. Born into a running family, she’s the final of four girls in the Morgan household and arguably the most talented. All three of her older sisters run or have run in college. Morgan owns the fastest times among the four siblings in every event.

“We’re really close and there’s no tension there whatsoever,” Morgan laughed. “We’re just really close and I think they’re more excited when I run a faster time than I am.”

The competition isn’t. Morgan ran for Clarkston High School in Michigan as a freshman and finished second in the 1,600 at the Michigan state meet that year to older sis Jenny (then a senior). The duo also helped Clarkston claim the Michigan state title in the 4×800 relay.

After returning to Ohio (where she lived as a youth) prior to the sophomore school year, Morgan finished third at the 2006 D-III state cross country meet. Last spring, she won the 800 and set a new state and meet record in the 1,600 with her winning time of 4:45.21. The mark bettered that of legendary Minster runner Sunni Olding (Notre Dame) by nearly three seconds.

This past fall Morgan won the D-III state cross country title by more than a minute.

She followed that with an impressive spring en route to the state championships. Once in Columbus Morgan defended her 1,600 title and then set new D-III state and state meet records in the 800 (2:09.87).

Her focus now shifts to USA Junior Olympics and qualifying for the World Championships in the 1,500.

“I don’t really feel like I have a target on my back,” Morgan said. “You always feel like you have pressure. I’ve felt that since my freshman year and running with my sister when she was a senior. You’re always a little nervous.”

Especially if you’re Morgan’s competition.

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