Count Metea Valley girls track coach Jim Brown as one not surprised by Courtney Morgan’s early success.
Brown had an idea what he had with his freshman thrower going into indoor season. She showed it at the Top Times Indoor Championship at Illinois Wesleyan, uncorking a season-best effort of 42 feet, 3 ½ inches to take second.
“She’s a proven competitor,” Brown said. “She’s thrown the last three to four summers and had great success, been in national championship junior high meets. She came in with good experience. When you are used to it, it makes a big difference.”
Brown said he has never had a freshman like Morgan. That is, he never had one until Morgan’s junior teammate Holly Julifs. Julifs, a two-time state qualifier in the shot, threw 40-10 for fourth at the Top Times meet.
“We have tried to improve Courtney’s technique and make her stronger,” Brown said. “We were excited about having her and she’s meeting expectations.”
Brown is enjoying Metea’s embarrassment of riches in the circle. His third thrower, junior Qualicia Miller, has thrown 41-7 during indoor. Julifs’ indoor best is 42-2.
“Everbody says ‘Q’ is our third thrower,” Brown said of Miller. “I can remember when I was happy to have one just like her. They bring out the best in each other. Nobody can take it easy because they’re too close.”
Each girl brings their own unique skill set.
Morgan is a rotator with great power behind her and has great balance. Brown said Julifs is “our technician” with probably the best technique of the trio and improved strength from hours weightlifting. Miller is the one with the least experience — the only girl who started throwing in high school — but is the one that gets across the ring the fastest.
“They all push each other, which any coach likes to see,” Brown said. “Nobody can take it easy because they’re so close. As somebody told me, ‘When they’re throwing you have to bring your big boy pants.’”
Mark it down
Allison Wilson joined some lofty company in the Waubonsie Valley girls track record book.
Running a 2:18.71 800 meters at the Top Times meet, good for third place, gave the Warriors’ senior the third-fastest half-mile time in school history. Only phenoms Shakeia Pinnick and Toni Ogundare ran faster times. It was the Bradley-bound Wilson’s best by three seconds.
“Just a great kid, working hard, putting in the time,” Waubonsie coach Dave Gow said of Wilson.
Wilson narrowly missed qualifying for state last year in the 3,200, and Gow’s goal is to get the two-time relay qualifier there in an open race.
“She can do it,” Gow said. “She’s running at another level this year. Her nutrition, her work ethic, she’s a great leader for the distance kids. She’s a special athlete.”