MHS ' Howard signs with Washburn

By Steve Sell
November 15, 2016
Shane Backhus

Few athletes in McPherson High history have persevered like senior Morgan Howard.

A potentially brilliant hurdling career was nearly struck down her sophomore year as she did not run because of foot surgery.

While she was able to compete as a junior, she still wasn’t 100 percent even though she did experience some success.

Now Howard is a senior and she’s healthy. There’s always been a belief that if she can stay 100 percent, a spot on the prestigious MHS Wall of Fame could be hers.

Howard on Tuesday signed a track and field letter of intent with Washburn University, following several former Bullpups to the Topeka school.

“I really like (Washburn) coach (Cameron) Babb,” Howard said. “It’s a new program and so coming in they’re learning a lot of new techniques and things off of what he’s known before he’s come here. I felt like he would know me as an individual and I wouldn’t just be another athlete to him, which I appreciate.”

Howard took up hurdles midway through her freshman year and all she did was take third in the state in the 100 hurdles against far more experienced opponents.

Then the injuries started to occur. She missed all her sophomore year and was hampered last year, but still managed to place sixth in the state.

Howard admits there were times if she’d ever make it back.

“Honestly, after sitting out my sophomore year I was a little frustrated with the process and I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back,” she said. Through Pav (MHS coach Jace Pavlovich) and everybody, I knew it was the right choice. I wasn’t ever really nervous about breaking it again, it was more, ‘could my body put up with doing this again?’ But I’m so happy I decided to do it again.”

Howard is excited to see just how low she can go.

“I would love a state title, that would be the main goal, but I’m just going to take it one meet at a time,” said Howard, who has a best of 15.0 and has designs on the middle 14s.

Howard said she might even run some relays and or throw the javelin.

Pavlovich believes Washburn could be getting a steal because if she’s healthy she’ll be among the best hurdlers in Kansas.

“She’s an incredible athlete,” he said. “She showed it her freshman year. She’s just now starting to get back. Last year was a good year, but you could tell she was still hurting and wasn’t quite all the way back. She’s been running all fall and will in the winter. She’s real smooth over the hurdles and has great technique. She’s got a lot of potential, she’s very talented and works very hard. We’re going to have to use her in multiple events because she’s too talented not to use her.”

Howard is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the National Honor Society, KAYS and helps MHS AD Shane Backhus during her final hour as an assistant.

Howard is going to major in pre-dental care.