As a junior, the only race his knee would allow him to run was the 800 meters. Now, as a senior, the 800 is the shortest race he runs – a race in which he finished third at last year’s Bay Valley Athletic League Track Championships, right behind teammates Jacob Bradley and Brandon Brum.
“Last track season, I probably worked out only about five minutes on the track itself,” said Morford. “Every other day, I would come here and do wall squats and anything else that I would do in physical therapy that I could do out here.”
This year, head coach Kevin Bain normally runs Morford in the 800- and 1,600-meter races. Occasionally, he will also run the 3,200-meter event.
Still undergoing physical therapy, Morford said his knee isn’t 100 percent but well on the way to recovery. The improvement allows him to set ambitious goals. “I’d like to go to (North Coast Section finals), then to Meet of Champions to qualify for state,” he said. “Before, I didn’t really want to set specific goals. But honestly, this season just feels great. Anything will feel better than last season.”
Another of Morford’s goals is to run track in college, although he’s unsure of where that will be.
The Meet of Champions takes place over Memorial Day Weekend, and Morford’s best hope of getting there is in the 1,600-meter event. Currently, his best time at that distance is 4 minutes, 22 seconds. To qualify, he’ll likely need to shave three seconds off that time.
Dennis Tracy, who coaches the Patriots distance runners, believes Morford is headed in the right direction. “He’s doing good workouts,” Tracy said. “He’s getting stronger, so he’s able to finish races better. It’s all going to be a matter of the last 300 meters, getting that fourth spot.”
In recognition of Morford’s work ethic, Tracy named him one of the team’s captains. Morford never misses a practice and always does what he’s asked – a fact not lost on Bain. “He leads; he’s a quiet leader,” said Bain. “He leads by example, by the hard work that he puts in on the track and by the results he achieves.”