Athlete Spotlight: Morgan Vaden of St. Pius X

Senior Morgan Vaden of St. Pius X is one of the top 5 HS Girls XC runners in the state All-Classes. She has ran against very tough competition this season, highlighted by her runnerup finish at Wingfoot XC Classic and earlier today placing 8th in the 'Race of Champions' at Great American

MileSplit GA- You had an amazing runnerup finish at Wingfoot XC Classic. Tell us about your race..

Morgan- I knew going in it was such a tough field. I really wanted to break 18 minutes after being so close at Warpath. I started behind the leaders and slowly worked my way up towards the front.

MileSplit GA- When did you first become interested in running?

Morgan- I played soccer until 7th grade. I really enjoyed the running throughout the game. I did a local 5k and won, and that really sparked my interest.

MileSplit GA- When did you realize that Cross Country/Track and Field was your calling athletically?

Morgan- I started running with St. Pius as an 8th grader had some success. I loved the team atmosphere, coaches, and meets. I knew that it was what I wanted to do throughout high school.

MileSplit GA- What was the first big race you won that has special meaning for you?

Morgan- In 8th grade I ran JV for St. Pius and won Battle of Atlanta. It was exciting to get a taste of what high school running could be like. 

MileSplit GA- How supportive is the St. Pius X running Community of you and the team?

Morgan- Super great!  Coach Martin, Coach McClay and my former Coach Guilbeau always look out for us and what they can do to help us compete at our best. The parents and coaches are so helpful and always there to cheer us on. 

MileSplit GA- Are you friends with any of the gals from other schools you compete against?

Morgan- Yes, as a senior I've been competing with the same group of girls for awhile. We are all friendly and supportive of each other, and it's great to see them at the meets. 

MileSplit GA- What are your personal goals for the remainder of the GHSA season and do you think that your squad can push Marist at the State meet ?

Morgan- My goals are to continue to work hard, stay healthy, and PR again this season. Our team is going to try and push Marist. We're both really talented and it will be exciting to see what happens when everyone's hard work is put on the line. 

MileSplit GA- Are you/St. Pius X planning on competing at Foot Locker South or NXN Regionals?

Morgan- Our team plans to compete at NXN but we aren't focusing on that until after the state meet.

MileSplit GA- What is your favorite food, movie/tv shows, leisure activities and music?

Morgan- I love cookies and cream ice cream. I enjoy watching the Bachelor, Modern Family, and The Office. A few of my favorite artists are Taylor Swift, The Head & The Heart, and Thomas Rhett.

MileSplit GA- What is your favorite course to race at?

Morgan- I really look forward to racing at Warparth

MileSplit GA- What colleges are you interested in competing for?

Morgan- UGA, University of Tennessee & Georgia Tech

MileSplit GA- Have you decided on a degree path/career choice post HS?

Morgan- I am interested in a career as a teacher or therapist working with the special needs community.

MileSplit GA- What advice do you have for aspiring young MS and Youth distance runners aiming to be their best?

Morgan- Try to always keep a balance between hard work and fun! Also, remember Summer mileage is key to a successful XC season.