Q & A with Katie Morgan

April 14, 2009

BERKELEY -

Before senior pole vaulter Katie Morgan won the NCAA title last year, she set a Big Meet record at last year's annual clash against Stanford that jumpstarted her season. This week, Morgan looks to repeat that success in her final Big Meet. Calbears.com recently sat down with Morgan to talk about her time jumping for Cal.

Calbears.com: How did you first get involved in pole vaulting?
KM: I did gymnastics for about eight years, and when I quit, I was looking for something to do, so I would run with my brother. I was running cross country when the assistant boys cross country coach was showing us how to do exercises on these bars we had, and I was good at them, and thats when he found out I was an ex-gymnast. He told me about pole vaulting and it sounded really fun, so after cross country, I started training with him in his pole vaulting club and it just took off from there.

Calbears.com: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
KM: The biggest influences for pole vaulting have been my high school coach ,Jeff Guy, and my current college coach Scott Slover. Jeff is just so supportive, he showed me how amazing this sport was and got me to a level where I could come to a school like Cal. Scott is just flat out the best college coach in the country. Not only does he know everything there is to know about this event, he always comes to practices and meets with so much enthusiasm that you want to do well for yourself, but more for him because of how much he gives to this school and his athletes. In the world outside of vaulting, my brother has probably been my biggest influence. He is just an amazing guy, he is so personable and everyone loves him. He would do anything for his family and friends, and I strive to be like him everyday.

Calbears.com: What made you decide to come to Cal?
KM: I chose Cal because it had everything I wanted. First and foremost, it's a great school with nation-leading academics. It also had a great track team and amazing coaches. When I came here on my visit, everyone was so friendly and everyone was friends with everyone. Especially with such a large sport like track, you tend to get cliques or groups, but at Cal that wasn't the case, and I wanted to be a part of a team like that.

Calbears.com: What was it like winning a national championship?
KM: It's hard to describe winning nationals. At first it was complete disbelief, but now its just something I am extremely proud of. I worked hard to get to that level, and still to this day, thinking about it makes me so incredibly happy. Also, it makes me so happy and proud to know that I showed the track world how great Cal is as well as Scott's coaching ability.

Calbears.com: Do you feel like there's a 'target on your back' this year being the defending national champion?
KM: I do feel like theres a target on my back this year. When I go to meets I hear coaches say to their athletes that they need to beat me because I'm the national champion. I don't mind though, I would rather win nationals any day than be upset I have a target on my back. Plus, it only pushes me harder to do well.

Calbears.com: Can you describe the feeling when you set the Big Meet record last year?
KM: The feeling when I set the Big Meet record was almost equal to the feeling I got at nationals. The Big Meet has so much enthusiasm and school spirit, anyone not there wouldn't understand the emotional rush. To be able to PR at such an amazing meet was a dream come true.

Calbears.com: What are your personal goals for the rest of the season?
KM: My first goal is to stay injury free. After that, my goals are not set and are always changing. I like to make more short term goals, take things week by week. Although, I do have long term goals such as repeating as champion and setting the school record even higher.

Calbears.com: Do you have any pre-meet superstitions?
KM: I try to stay away from pre-meet superstitions. I used to have a lot, but they never really worked. So now I just try to eat right, hydrate and be mentally prepared.

Calbears.com: What are you going to miss the most about being a student-athlete at Cal?
KM: I am definitely going to miss seeing my friends on a constant basis, as well as everyone else. Everyone at Cal is so nice and supportive its going to be hard to say goodbye. I am also going to miss wearing that Cal uniform, it makes me so proud every time i wear it. I am sad my days in that uniform are numbered.

Calbears.com: Do you have a talent most people don't know about? What is it?
KM: I don't really have a talent, I hope to find one once I have more time, but I do have one green eye and one blue eye which is pretty odd.

Calbears.com: What three words describe you best and why?
KM: Amiable, athletic, leader . Amiable because I just try to be nice to everyone. I am kind of quiet, but I know that someones always fighting some sort of battle, so if just being nice or smiling helps someone then it's worth going out of your way for them. I am athletic, I just love sports and working out. I love that rush you get from competing and seeing your hard work pay off. I would consider myself a leader because I am so quiet that I like to lead others by example, not words. I hope that my teammates know that getting injured or having surgeries doesn't mean your career is over. If you work hard for what you what, it can happen.

Calbears.com: What are your goals for after graduation?
KM: After graduation I want to try to continue jumping. I am still waiting to hear back from a few grad schools, but if that doesn't work out, then work and hopefully continue to train.

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