Athlete of the Week: Current Mustang, future Seawolf Morgan Grant

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 9:08 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Chugiak Track and Field jumping coach Charity Manwaring was demonstrating the proper long-jumping technique to an athlete at practice, when they athlete asked, ‘oh, so that is what Morgan does,’ before being shown firsthand by the future collegiate track and field competitor.

Morgan Grant is leading by example, but has only been involved in the sport for three years. The 6-foot-1 leaper dreamed of playing basketball for the University of Alaska Anchorage, but instead of running and jumping on the hardwood for the Seawolves, it will be on synthetic rubber.

“I was kind of like flying under the radar, I was like, ‘oh I am probably going to go basketball, basketball, basketball,” Grant said. “And then I was like, you know what, I am going to switch it up I am going to go track and I have seen they have done great things over there and it is a great program to be a part of.”

In front of family, teammates and supporters, Grant signed his national letter of intent to join UAA’s Division II track program, though that was not always the plan.

“I actually poached Morgan from basketball,” Manwaring said at Grant’s signing at Chugiak High School. “I went to a basketball game and waited outside the locker room and basically said, ‘you are in the wrong sport, so you should be running track and if you really want to go to college and be an athlete, track is your jam and so if you work hard and are diligent then you could probably scholarship,’ which is where we are sitting right now.”

That was during Grant’s sophomore year in early 2020, when the track season was cancelled altogether due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Really, Morgan’s training age is just about two,” Chugiak Track and Field head coach Melissa Hall said. “The expansion of how quickly he became really good, happened very fast.”

In his first official year with the program, Grant was an integral part of the Mustang’s 2021 Alaska State Track and Field Boys State Championship team. His specialty is long jump, but he also competes in the triple jump and runs in the 200 and 400-meter relays. However, he is still not satisfied, and says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve, and the coaches don’t hear a peep of complaint.

“Morgan is one of those kids who comes to practice everyday, works through the highs, the lows, doesn’t have problems with the workouts, even if he does he doesn’t tell you, he just puts in effort,” Hall said. “It is that effort that you put in that is going to help him as an adult and as a college athlete as well, I think UAA is lucky to have him.”

The versatility of Grant will allow the Seawolves to evaluate and determine which events he will have the most success at, and he is not intimidated by what may come his way at the collegiate level.

“Whatever they want me to,” Grant said. “It depends on what they feel like I will mesh well in and I’ll do exactly what they want me to do.”

With his sights set on competing with the Seawolves, Grant still has one more season to finish with Chugiak, and hopes to do so in impressive fasion.

“His [UAA] coach said that when he talked to him about it, Morgan didn’t blink an eye, which doesn’t surprise me, because that’s Morgan” Hall said. “He is pretty unflappable, so you can just throw anything at him and he seems ready and willing and able to try it.”

Grant will look to repeat as a state champion during the state track and field meet May 27-28 at Dimond High, but has one less weight on his shoulders heading into this year.

“It feels good, I’ve been waiting so long for this moment,” Grant said after signing. “It’s a great feeling because you worked so hard just to get here.”

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