Jumping from Cayman Islands to MTSU, Morgan becomes one of NCAA’s best

On a cloudy, damp day in early May during the 2009 Sun Belt Outdoor Track Championship, MTSU senior Carl Morgan is in a fight for the long jump title. Coming into the meet, Morgan had the longest jump of the season in the SBC?7.65 meters at the War Eagle Invitational.

The Championship was held on his home track that was just named after the school’s coach since 1965, Dean Hayes.

As Morgan gets ready for his jump, he tries to involve the crowd by clapping his hands over his head. The fans follow along, and Morgan hustles down the runway and takes off into the air. It’s a good jump, but it’s not enough. Morgan finishes third with a jump of 7.63 m.

“The crowd helped me a lot,” Morgan said. “I know the crowd was behind me at every jump. The crowd was expecting me to go out there and try my best.”

Later in the same meet, Morgan became SBC champion for the second straight season in the triple jump with a 15.96 m mark. He enjoyed the chance to perform in front of the local fans.

“It was an experience of a lifetime,” Morgan said. “It was different. I know I was the favorite coming in to win. It was a dream come true. I dreamed about it a couple of weeks before the competition. I never had been able to compete in front of such a large home base of fans.”

Coming to Murfreesboro was a long journey from his home in the Cayman Islands. Here’s a quick geography lesson: the Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea just south of Cuba. The islands became a British overseas territory in 1670, along with Jamaica. They broke away from Jamaica in 1962 and became a single colony. Today, English is the official language.

“It’s a vacation spot,” Morgan said. “It’s very nice, crystal clear beaches. It’s a little different; it’s more laid back. People go there to enjoy and unwind from the pressures of life.”

He will compete for the Cayman Islands in July at a couple of meets in Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago and hopes to qualify for the World Championships.

Morgan competed at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky for a couple of seasons before heading to MTSU along with his brother Carlos.

Head coach Dean Hayes said they met a few of MTSU athletes at a meet and learned some information about the campus. They added they wanted to go to a Division I school, so they contacted the coach.

In late May, Morgan earned a spot in the triple jump for the NCAA Outdoor Championship with a personal best jump of 16.09 meters for second place at the Mideast Regional.

“It means a lot to qualify,” Morgan said. “It was more than I expected. I didn’t expect to have to jump and come in second on my last jump. It was quite interesting, because I didn’t make it in the long jump.”

He added he hurt his quad earlier in the week.

At the NCAAs in early June, Morgan came in 16th in the triple jump in his final meet of his college career.


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