Portsmouth high jumper Morgan Casey wins Rhode Island State title
Posted On July 4, 2021
PORTSMOUTH – To say Morgan Casey was a quick study of the high jump would be an understatement.
The rising star would be more appropriate. The 16-year-old high school student from Portsmouth crossed the bar at 5 feet the first time she attempted the event in training.
On the first day of June, the 5-foot-11 sophomore won the high jump in Portsmouth’s final one-on-one competition of the season. Three days later, she was crowned champion of the Eastern Division. A week later, Casey won the class title, where she passed defending champion Lala Olagundoye of Johnston and advanced to the national championships by crossing 5 to 5 inches on her final jump.
After:Three Newport County track athletes clinch gold at state meet
“I think I do well under pressure. It keeps me going, ”Casey said. “I’m nervous, but he’s a good nervous. I am anxious at the same time. “
On Saturday, she again beat the reigning state champion and won her first state crown in high school.
“The bigger the stage, the more it brings out my competitive edge,” Casey said. “Having a daughter like Lala to compete against in the classroom and state competition has helped me thrive.”
After:Lehane sets two school records as Portsmouth wins East Division championship
Casey had little time to enjoy her victory in the state competition as she traveled to the University of Oregon on Tuesday night to compete in the National Outdoor Championships at the same venue as the Olympic Trials in American athletics recently took place.
So within a month, Casey went from never competing in the high jump to being part of the competition in the country.
“It was a whirlwind of a season,” said Portsmouth coach Jeff Rose. “Our fourth double competition was his first jump. It seems so long ago now. She ended up erasing 5-4 the first day she tried it.
After:‘It was a team effort’: Portsmouth boys’ track team win first class championship in 15 years
“At that time (this size) would have been good enough to qualify as a state champion. Now she goes to the nationals. His progress has been truly incredible. He’s a beast. “
On Saturday at Conley Stadium in Providence, Casey set a new school record by eliminating 5-6 ¾ to claim the state title. But that was not until all the other competitors were dropped. Olagundoye turned out to be Casey’s best challenger again.
“We both cleared 5-2 and 5-4 on our first down,” said Casey. “(Olagundoye) didn’t do any at 5-6 and I got it on my last try. I think I got a good amount above the bar. I was just concentrating on my form and coming back to my head. “
After:Portsmouth ranks supreme in athletics reunion involving all Newport County teams
With the state title in hand, Casey then raised the bar a little higher and crossed 5-6 inches to set a new school record. She failed to clear 5-7 and her day was over.
“I think she made a few too many jumps that day to clear 5-7,” Rose said.
Casey, a member of the Portsmouth volleyball and basketball teams, was introduced to the event by watching her younger brother compete in college. She asked Coach Rose if she could try the high jump one day in training.
“I’m new to the track and (our team) needed someone for the high jump. So I thought I was going to give it a try, ”Casey said. “I’m really surprised at the way I’m doing.
“I was hoping to be pretty good at it because of my height. I jump basketball and volleyball all the time. I think the pole vault helps, and I think when I was younger and on the trampoline it helped me too. “
Casey said she would continue to play three sports with “a small indoor track” in the winter. The inter-school league rules allow Casey to play basketball full time and participate in an on-track field event during the winter sports season.
The two-day national competition will take place June 30 and July 1 and Casey will compete Thursday at 9 p.m. EST.
“I’m not really looking to win at the national championships,” said Casey. “I can’t wait to live the experience and participate in competitions. Hope this helps me improve for next year. “
Rose knows the Nationals will be a great experience for Casey, who will push and have a chance to improve her own academic record.
“They’ll open 5-2½ at the nationals which is good,” said Rose. “Usually they open at 5-5, the qualifying standard. This should give her some opportunities to relax so that she can get another academic record. “
As Casey goes out and performs in every encounter, Rose is still not convinced how far she has come in just a month.
“Everything was very impressive. It’s a testament to his tenacity, ”said Rose. “The bigger the stage, the better the competition, the better it is. She still has a lot to learn about the event and is excited to do so. “