GCHS senior Carter Morton reflects on loss of track season
Carter Morton defines versatility.
The three-time state qualifier and 2019 bronze medalist plays whatever role is needed to near perfection. The future UNI Panther was poised to become a four-time state qualifier in the high jump and potentially a three-time Drake Relays qualifier before COVID-19 claimed its spot in the history books. Morton, a member of the 2020 senior class, is the Greene County school-record holder in the high jump (6-8) and had a legit chance at securing a state title after placing third a year ago. He also medaled in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles last spring, competing in four events all together, including the 4-by-100-meter relay. Morton is one of the top athletes of the 2020 class, securing an all-state honor in football and an all-conference basketball selection after leading the Rams in scoring, rebounding, steals and assists. He was looking to cement himself among Greene County’s all-time great track and field athletes, hoping to dabble in the long jump this spring as well. But, it will never be. Before he heads off to star for the Panthers’ track program in Cedar Falls, Morton was generous enough to share his thoughts on a season lost. His own words are as follows:
“No track means no 400-meter hurdles. That was my first initial thought, but then I started to think that I could have been a potential Drake Relays and state high jump winner and it started to get me down in the dumps.
I was really bummed out, but then also happy because of the 400-meter hurdles (Morton has never been a fan of the low hurdles, just ask his dad, head coach Chad Morton). So, I have had all kinds of mixed emotions.
In practice, I was feeling really pretty good. My sprint times have dropped from last season and I was really looking forward to the 110-meter high hurdles because I knew I could be faster this year. Last year, I had an injury that kept me out of hurdling (for most of the year), so I wasn’t at my top speed or performance.
I was also really looking forward to trying to do some long jumping and figuring out with my dad (head coach Chad Morton) how we could do both long jump and high jump in the same meet, or maybe alternate between meets.
I was really looking forward to seeing if I could best me high jump performance this year (His personal record is the all-time Greene County mark of 6-08). We were working on my approach and my penultimate step this year, which needs to be consistently the same. We started working on it the week before the UNI (indoor) meet, but obviously, that’s on hold. If I would have made it to state in high jump, it would have been four years in a row of going to state.
(Fellow senior) Colby Kafer and I both qualified as freshmen and every year since. I don’t think it would have changed this year, either, because we know what it takes to perform and we have experience.
Colby and I have always had the goal to qualify for state all four years. As freshmen, we set a goal to qualify for one more each year. So, as freshmen we each qualified for one event, sophomores we each qualified for two and as juniors, Colby qualified for three, but I was lucky enough to qualify in four events. That was our goal this year, to qualify in four each. My goal was to try to qualify in the long jump, high jump, 110-meter hurdles and a relay. Something a little different.
I was really looking forward to trying to qualify for the Drake Relays in both the high jump and possibly the 110-meter high hurdles. After the UNI indoor meet and doing so well in the 60 highs, I was excited and thought I had a chance for Drake in the 110’s as long as I stayed healthy. I mean, I was the only 2A guy running in the finals. All of the other guys were 3A and 4A which is what Drake is.
I am disappointed for my senior track classmates who have stuck it out with track and I was hopeful we could all go to state and have one last big moment together.
I will miss running with Jaxon Warnke. He was going to break some records this year! I was also hoping (my brother) Jackson Morton would take my spot in the 400-meter hurdles this year, too! I hate that race! I think he would have done well with that this year after having some experience last year. He also was going to improve a lot in his 110-meter high hurdles. It would have been my last chance to be on the same team as my brother and maybe one last hoorah in the shuttle hurdle relay with him. Being coached by my dad is just the cherry on top. We all will miss hearing Mike Jay’s (Track Guy) voice announcing our names at both Drake and State.
I think what’s most disappointing is that we all have put in a lot of work (during) the off-season to prepare for this season. My dad changed the way he was training the sprinters and I think this year it really would have paid off. I mean, it definitely paid off last year, but having one more year under our belts, and with strength coach Caden Duncan working with us, it was going to be a great season!
I am learning about adversity and what I am going to do when it hits this hard in life, Am I going to stop working out, school, engaging with friends? No, this is not going to stop me from becoming a good student for college and a good athlete (at) UNI. I have been lifting with the weights I can find in my house. My girlfriend has a whole weight rack at her house, so that comes in handy when I want to do squat, bench or clean.
I think we will appreciate the things we do have and the things we took for granted. I appreciate that I had a chance to participate at the Drake Relays and state. I might even appreciate the 400-meter hurdles at this point! I appreciate that I was able to qualify for four events last year, especially since i won’t get the opportunity to do that this year. I appreciate my teammates and miss seeing them every day. I have had coaches, community members and parents reach out to me during this time and I really appreciate that support. I appreciate my family and am thankful I have a good family since I have to be stuck with them.
Some kids don’t have a safe place to be quarantined. Honestly, it’s really no different for me because I was with my family all of the time anyway with my dad coaching, my brother on the team and my mom as the athletic trainer. Now we’re just stuck at home together for the most part.
I also appreciate my teachers since they had to learn how to teach online in a very short time. I know this is challenging for them as well. I know that the staff is worried about us as students too.
I am just going to work through this all by pushing myself in my home to workout hard and study hard for my two college classes. This COVID-19 is going to show how people can handle adversity, mostly the class of 2020. I am still working out, doing weights and sprint work outs. My dad and coach Duncan have been posting daily workouts for us, which is helpful. We have a track team meeting via Zoom at least once each week. I have two online college classes that I am finishing up. Mrs. Marquardt and Mr. Boyd have been very helpful and flexible with us so we can finish up and get our college credits and learn as much as we can and be successful.
My dad, Jackson and I have been doing some work for people like cutting brush, ripping out flooring, moving things for people, raking flower beds, and doing things for my grandparents down the street.
One of my most favorite memories is football Friday nights. They give me chills just thinking about them and I am so glad our team got to end with coach Caden Duncan. I wouldn’t want to change anything on how my athletics and school ended. Another memory is probably tp’ing during homecoming. That is always a blast.
I will miss people, sports, and teachers (and) coaches. Pretty much everything because I have been here all my life and I am so thankful for everybody who has helped shaped me into who I am today. I am assuming college athletics will be much different from high school, so that being said, I will miss the sports a lot, too.”