Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sarah Morrison Getting Back to Form

Sarah Morrison looking to return to top form in senior year
By JAMES PHILLIPS, The Patriot-News
March 31, 2011

Two years removed from winning the Big East Championship in the steeplechase in a personal-best time of 10:12.40, Sarah Morrison is determine to finish her career at Villanova University in style.

The first order of business, however, is to return to form after injuries and fatigue hampered her all of last year.

“It was an accumulation of things, and I was struggling with my runs,” recalled Morrison. “We [team trainers] never figured out what was wrong ... they thought low iron. I redshirted the cross country season because I just wasn’t feeling good.”

The former Chambersburg High School standout bounced back somewhat to compete decently during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons last year. But, she still wasn’t her old self.

The senior did run with the Wildcats at the national cross country meet this season as Villanova captured it’s second consecutive championship with 120 points. Morrison placed 201st (23:09), while teammate, junior Sheila Reid, was the overall winner in the 6,000-meter race.

“It felt good to run in the meet as our team captured back-to-back titles,” Morrison said.

The indoor track and field season was a totally different story as Morrison battled a hip injury and spent most of her time rehabbing in the pool.

“It was alittle frustrating not being able to be out there with my teammates,” she said. “Seeing a chiropractor really helped me recover.”

In the first outdoor track and field meet this season, the Penn Duals, Morrison competed in the 1,500-meter race. According to Wildcats head coach Gina Procaccio, Morrison is close to regaining her old form.

“She’s coming around and looking strong like she did two years ago,” Procaccio said. “She has been looking better each week and rounding back into form with training. The steeplechase is her forte and, hopefully, she can get back and go out on top as a senior.”

“I love the race,” she said. “The main thing for me is that it’s an athletic event with technique involved. The hurdles and water jump, I just go for it. It’s all about having strength and drive, and it’s fun and exciting.

“I was pleased with my first race [1,500 at Penn Duals] because I felt stronger. The time wasn't great, but I was feeling good mentally and physically. I felt good getting back into racing competition.”

In the classroom, Morrison, a comprehensive science major, will graduate in May. She was part of the Villanova cross country squad that repeated as the USTFCCCA Scholar Team of the Year.

“I plan on going into medical school to be a doctor,” Morrison said.

“I will take a year off after graduation [in May] and gain some experience doing some internship work at a hospital. Hopefully, I can get something here because I love Philly.”

Coming out of Chambersburg, Morrison was heavily recruited by Villanova, Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and Tennessee. She selected Villanova over Duke and never looked back.

“The main thing for me was the team was close-knit, and we’ve grown so much over the past four years,” Morrison said. “It’s going to be hard to leave the team [after graduation]. Coach Procaccio has been understanding; I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario. It’s been a perfect fit.”

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