Road to state: Berkeley's LeAnna Morrison

Berkeley sophomore LeAnna Morrison talks about the sport, key events and goals for this weekend's state meet.

Full name: LeAnna Catrice Morrison
Date of birth: July 11, 1993
Brothers/sisters: one brother, two sisters
Academic interest: Law
Hobbies: television, basketball, hanging out
Personal bests: 15.09-100 hurdles, 12.7-100, 25.7-200, 2:24-800, 1.01.11-400 hurdles, 58.10-400

scrunners: Please recap your season.
morrison: The season started with mostly endurance work and me getting back in running shape. I competed in the mile and 800 in the beginning. I also ran shorter sprints and the 100 hurdles to improve my technique for the 400 hurdles. Towards the middle of the season I began running my key events, the 400 and the 400 hurdles in order to cut down my time. I worked on the correct way to run the 400 to help with my both races hurdle race. I learned to run the 400 hurdles as if it were a open 400 race. Now I am exactly where I need to be with endurance, sprint speed, and technique to run the 400 hurdles at state.

scrunners: What do you remember the most so far from your season?
morrison: What I remember the most from my season is the (Class AAAA) state qualifier meet where our girls 4x400 relay team was disqualified. It was a big disappointment for us not being able to try and defend our title.

scrunners: What would you like to accomplish this coming weekend?
morrison: I would like to break 60 seconds in the 400 hurdles and get the state record in that event.

scrunners: What event do you feel is your strongest?
morrison: I feel that the 400 hurdles is my strongest event. After running the open 400 for so long I’ve learned to treat them as if they were the same race.

scrunners: How do you handle the atmosphere at a track meet such as the state meet and with individuals going for the win against you as a favorite?
morrison: I feel as though it is my job to break the stagger early on, but still to run my race as if it were any other meet. I feel like it’s just me on the track and my duty is to focus on my lane of hurdle only.

scrunners: What kind of goals and challenges do you have coming up for the state meet?
morrison: I definitely want to defend my title in the 400 hurdles. I challenge myself to not only win, but to compete against myself to run faster than what is expected.

scrunners: Do you feel extra pressure with a chance to defend your title?
morrison: I don’t feel any extra pressure with the chance because this is a completely different year and everyone has the same goal which is to be number one. I feel that I have to prove myself once again just as if I hadn’t won last year.

scrunners: What kind of team leadership roles do you have on your team?
morrison: We do not have any specific leadership roles on our team being that we are all around the same age. We all focus on our individual performance and put it together to bring in points.

scrunners: When did you start to compete in track and field and why?
morrison: I started competing in track and field in seventh grade not only because everyone was talking about it. I also had the experience in watching my older sister compete. I look up to my older siblings and they influenced my interest in sport.

scrunners: Do you play other sports or try other events?
morrison: I previously completed in a season in cross country, as well as playing on the varsity level in basketball since eighth grade.

scrunners: Do you have any family members that competed in track and field?
morrison: I have had close cousins compete in track and field as well as a sister, who is currently competing on the same team.

scrunners: What kind of goals did you have at the start of this season?
morrison: At the start of the season I planned to defend my 400 hurdles title as well as contribute to our girls 4x400 defending our title. I also wanted to be under a 63 in the 400 hurdles.

scrunners: What kind of training have you done all season?
morrison: I started this season doing endurance training as well as technique work. After getting back in shape I moved on to sprint work.

scrunners: Is your training changing any leading up to the state meet?
morrison: Leading up to the state meet, I’m more focused on one specific race. I practice segmented 400 hurdles and work on mastering this event.

scrunners: Have you ever been injured?
morrison: I have not been seriously injured.

scrunners: How do you stay motivated during this time?
morrison: During this time, running becomes more of my duty than my hobby. I feel like this is what I have to do more than what I want to do to ensure that I perform to the best of my ability.

scrunners: Do you have any pre-meet traditions?
morrison: Besides eating pasta, I really do not have pre-meet traditions. I just rest and think about being successful in what I do.

scrunners: Do you plan on continuing your season over this coming summer?
morrison: Don’t know yet.

scrunners: What do you look for in a coach and what do you expect a coach to look for you?
morrison: In a coach, I look for someone who will check up on me constantly and keep me in line with my expectations. I want a coach to teach me everything that I need to know and have enough confidence in me to believe that I can be number 1. I want a coach to see my desire to win and my dedication to what I do.

scrunners: Have you met any professional athletes?
morrison: I have not met professional athletes, personally.

scrunners: Do you see yourself coming back in the future to help with the sport in South Carolina?
morrison: I do see myself helping with the sport in South Carolina. I feel that my family has been very supportive of me so I should do the same.

scrunners: What do you recommend to younger athletes that are interested in competing in the sport?
morrison: I recommend that younger athletes find the desire within themselves before hand because it will show in your performance. Do not waste your time making yourself better physically if you are not mentally prepared to compete.

scrunners: What do you see yourself achieving in the future?
morrison: In the future I see myself running and/or playing basketball in college. I feel that my career will take me beyond college. I just hope that I keep the same determination.

scrunners: Do you have any specific academic and athletic goals for the next level?
morrison: For the next level academically, I want to first graduate in the top-20 of my class, and continue studying law in college. I would like to attend law school and make that apart of my career. Athletically, I want to be ranked higher in the nation than I am and continue getting better in college. I want to continue being the student athlete that I am now.

scrunners: If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why?
morrison: If I could, I would go to another country to run and/or play basketball just to have the experience of competing overseas. In doing so I hope to inspire others to be try to be the best.

Photo courtesy of Berkeley High School.