In her first season of collegiate track competition, West L.A. track and field student athlete Angel Morris qualified for the state championship in the heptathlon. A heptathlon is a two-day event where track and field athletes must compete in the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin, and 800m.
“I’m just thankful and appreciative for every moment,” Morris said. “I’m just focusing on preparing for it.”
Morris learned the fundamentals of the heptathlon this season from legendary track and field coach Bobby Kersee. In her training for the heptathlon, Morris competed against division I college athletes during a meet at UC Riverside. West L.A. was the only junior college that competed in the meet, according to Morris.
“I’m doing events that I’ve never done, like shot put, javelin, the 800m, the 200m,” she said. “I placed seventh in that meet … out of 14.”
That meet gave Morris confidence in competing in the heptathlon. She also came to enjoy the event.
“There’s so many things happening at once and you have to be prepared and be ready to perform every time,” Morris said.
Shot put was weird to her initially, she had to find her inner strength when competing. Although she has experience in sprinting, she had to adapt to running the 200m. Morris also grew a fondness for the javelin throw.
“Javelin has become my new favorite thing. I make it somehow aggressive, and I love it,” Morris said. “I just put my all into it every single time.”
Running the 800m requires endurance, having experience running the 400m helped Morris.
“I was really going off of what my coaches are telling me, just telling me to really push through and drive my knees up and finish,” she said. “I can easily do a 400m, but it’s the second lap is when you really have to push yourself, persevering through the pain.”
Morris trains with several different coaches in 30-minute to one-hour intervals during practices. Her coaches always make sure that she gets enough rehab work done. The care and experience the coaches possess ensure Morris that they will help her succeed.
“They know what they’re doing, that’s really what I like about it,” she said. “I can trust anything they say because they all got accolades.”
A memorable moment for Morris was when she competed in the high jump during the heptathlon state trials. She cleared 5’, something she has not done since she made her personal best of 5’2” back in her high school years.
“I went out there and first try, jumped it, five feet, easy,” Morris said. “That’s my main goal, is to make it over five feet. So now, I consistently gotten over five feet.”
While competing in the heptathlon, Morris was impressed by her own abilities. She feared that if she put limits on herself mentally, it would manifest into her own physical energy.
“We put the work in and we really go in with an open mindset and a positive mindset that you can do anything that you put your mind to,” Morris said. “For me, that was a big part was just pushing myself because I know I can do it.”