Junior to compete at cross country state meet Saturday


Katlynn Fox

Junior Keaton Morrison poses on the track in her racing singlet with the medal she received at the district meet. Morrison will travel to Round Rock to compete at the state meet on Nov. 9 as an individual.

Junior Keaton Morrison will compete at the state cross country meet on Nov. 9 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock at 11:00 a.m.

After competing at regionals on Oct. 28 with fellow teammates junior Avery Morrison and senior Ross McKee, Morrison was the only runner to advance to the state level. 

“The most rewarding thing about going to state is knowing that my work paid off,” Morrison said. “My goal is to go to state every year I have to compete. I wish the team was here, but I’m glad that I can do it individually and show people that even if the team isn’t here, you still have to work hard.”

Last year, Morrison had two separate stress fractures to her fibula during both cross country season and track season. She has been recovering through cross training, which consists of biking and swimming, and is working on getting her mileage up. 

“I think the biggest challenge for me was trusting the process because I’m coming off of an injury,” Morrison said. “I was injured all last year, so every week I’ve just been improving and trying to get back to where I was because no matter how much cross training you do, you’re still not at your full potential.”

McKee competed alongside Morrison on varsity this season and said that while regionals wasn’t his best race, he was still excited for Morrison to qualify and have the opportunity to compete at state this weekend. The team still has one race left before they move into a few weeks of active rest: the Nike Cross Country Regionals, which will take place in two weeks. 

“I think this season was a challenge for not only me as an individual, but the team,” McKee said. “We did a good job of setting our goals earlier in the year, but then throughout the season, we had challenges with injuries and people not being able to perform at their best and that set the team back. For myself, with the pressure of college stuff this year, it was a little different, but I think it was a good senior season, so I was happy with it.”

The team practices every Tuesday and Thursday, with a rest day in between. Head coach Chris Capeau has prepared the team for races by balancing workouts, weight training and recovery opportunities such as ice baths or NormaTec, a compression machine that uses air pressure to relieve muscle pains. 

“We brought two kids down [to state] last year, Aaliya Fazel and Myles Richter,” Capeau said. “The year before that, we got second place as a girls team at state and Adam Dayani got 11th place. We’ve had a lot of success here at the state level — I think that Hebron High School and cross country go well together. You’re not just good in the area,  you’re one of the best in the state if you’re one of the best at Hebron.”

Capeau said the reason Morrison is advancing to state is due to her extreme commitment to the sport and her ability to prioritize and work hard to improve daily.

“I try my best not to make too many predictions because I think that sets people up for failure, but she’s ready to run and run well, so she’ll give her best effort and whatever that is, we’ll be happy and excited about it,” Capeau said. 

Morrison said both district and regionals were smaller meets, with fewer spectators than she was used to, but there will be a much larger turn out for the state meet, including college scouts, which makes this a good opportunity to showcase her strengths.  

“I think my strength is definitely that I have a pretty good kick at the end — I start and finish pretty strong,” Morrison said. “I always get in a tough mental spot in the second and the third mile because I can’t really use my speed, and I think it will be harder to pace myself when no one is around because I usually run with my sister, but I’ll hear coach and he’ll tell me what to do.”