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Getting To Know Morgan Smalls

Oct 29, 2020

Freshman jumper and sprinter Morgan Smalls is a former Gatorade Girls Athlete of the Year for North Carolina, where she won 10 state titles and set five state records.  Smalls won the high jump with a clearance of 6-3.25 at the 2019 New Balance Nationals, a mark that ranks fourth all-time among high school women.
Q:  How is your semester going?
M.S.: It's going pretty well, considering the circumstances.
Q: How about practices?
M.S.: They're good, they're really good. I have a small group that I practice with, and they're both upperclassmen. It's pretty good.
Q: What influenced your decision to choose USC?
M.S.: When I came on my visit, I liked the team dynamic and how the coach held her team to a high standard. I also knew USC has a really good track program and they also have good education, so I was like, why not do both? I'm kind of killing two birds with one stone.
Q: What are your classes like, and how are you adjusting to online learning?
M.S.: The adjustment is actually somewhat easier, at least I feel like it is, than if we were to have in-person classes because I don't have to get up, get ready, and then walk all the way to class. I can just roll out of bed and turn on my computer [laughs]. My classes are pretty fair. My professors are very understanding of everything that's going on.
Q: Do you have a favorite class that you're taking right now?
M.S.: I'm kind of stuck between two. My biology class is really interesting, but I'm also taking this class called The Identity of the Contemporary Female. That one's pretty interesting, too. It's about intersectionality and identity, like being a Black female athlete.
Q: How did you decide that you wanted to major in Human Biology?
M.S.: The medical field in general is really interesting to me. I also like helping people, so I felt like it would be a good fit for me.
Q: Speaking of helping people, in the past you have volunteered to clean the Tobacco Trail. Could you tell me about what that was like, and what inspired you to do that?
M.S.: The Tobacco Trail is where they run cross country meets and have practices at my old high school, Panther Creek. They'll also have 5Ks, not with my school, but just people in general. And so, as you're running, you'll see those little Gatorade packets, I guess Power Ups are what they're called, that people will drink and then just throw them on the ground. So we volunteered to go out and help clean up the trail a bit so it looks more appealing.
Q: Are you interested in continuing to stay involved in projects like this in the future?
M.S.: Yes, for sure. I feel like track doesn't get a lot of looks, so it might as well look good. You know?
Q: What are your proudest accomplishments from your high school career?
M.S.: One of my first ones would be making Team USA and going to Peru, that was a fun experience. Another would be when both our boys and girls teams were able to win the indoor states. That was fun, being able to help contribute points to the team.
Q: What are your main goals for this upcoming season?
M.S.: My main events are high, long and triple, but I also run a little bit, so I'd like to drop my time in the 200m specifically. I think my biggest goal is hitting the Olympic mark to actually make it to the Olympics, because I already hit the standard for trials, so I just want to secure a spot on the team.
Q: My last question is, what are you doing to stay sane in times like these?
M.S.: I watch a lot of Netflix. I'm about to start watching The 100, they updated so there's a new season, and I've been watching a lot of movies lately. I also hang out with some of my friends that are here also on the team that live in the same area.