Senior Morgan VanGorder
Sept. 21, 2012
ATHENS----During her five years in Athens, Morgan VanGorder has done a lot of waiting. On September 1, however, all the waiting finally came to an end as the fifth year senior broke through to win the first cross country race of her collegiate career.
VanGorder beat teammate Leslie Boozer by just over five seconds in the Bulldog Invitational 5k. She said it was exciting to get her first win, even if it did take a little while coming.
“It was really exciting, I haven’t won a race since high school so it was a lot of fun,” VanGorder said. “I felt really good the whole race and I felt like I ran really strong. It was just a really fun morning to be out there and then the win made it feel even better.”
Coming into the cross-country season, VanGorder said that she was much more confident than in seasons past. Because of that, she said that her expectations of herself are much higher than earlier in her career.
“Being a fifth year I’ve raced a ton and, last track season, I had a lot of success. I think that is what helped me come into the season confident in racing and confident in my training,” she said. “I think just my expectations I have going into a race are a lot higher, things I want to accomplish are a lot higher just from having confidence in racing.”
Having struggled with injuries throughout her career, having a clean bill of health has given VanGorder the ability to race and train consistently.
“Being able to be consistent and going to big meets during track season is important. When you go to those it gives you that confidence,” VanGorder said. “I feel I was very strong in my training over the summer, my mileage got pretty high and I just feel really fit. I think that gives it a whole different feel coming in, feeling like I’m ready to go.”
As a fifth year senior VanGorder said she is aware of the leadership role she has naturally taken on. She said, however, that she enjoys the position of seniority she currently has amongst her teammates.
“Obviously you’re the oldest on the team so you’re in that leadership role,” VanGorder said. “This year me and Leslie Boozer are the two captains, so the two older girls on the team keep everything going and keep everyone held together. It definitely comes along with being a fifth year.”
Despite starting the season with no individual race wins, VanGorder was setting ambitious goals even before the Bulldog Invitational. These include both her and the team reaching the national championships in track and cross-country. She said that being a fifth year senior makes these goals a little more pressing.
“It’s the last chance, I feel like every race I’m going into I’m like ‘OK, I’m not going to finish without leaving everything out there.’ Every race that passes it’s almost the end so it’s my last chance to reach every goal I’ve set,” VanGorder said. “I think that’s helpful for me this year that I have high goals. I know that this is my last opportunity to be able to achieve those. It makes it a little bit more competitive and a little bit more serious I think, there’s things I want to get done before I leave.”