By Lynne Phillips
New London’s Morgan Luedy recently participated in the Junior National Olympic Championships held at Sacramento State University placing 17th out of 27 girls.
Luedy said the heptathlon is an athletic competition that has athletes competing in seven different track and field events over a two day period.
On day one of the event athletes compete in the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 meter dash. Day two included the long jump, javelin and the final event, the 800 meters.
“It was really a fun learning experience.” she said. “I had very little experience with the javelin because it really isn’t something anyone does because it isn’t allowed in high school in Ohio.” She added, “I didn’t have any coaching for it, I basically and watched two videos and learned on my own. The event was kind of a long shot for me, but I don’t think it was my worst event, shot put was my worst.”
Luedy said she qualified for the Sacramento event through Region 5 at the Oberlin meet. I got second so the top two qualified for nationals.
At the regional meet, Luedy said, “I scored a 4,106 and that is the best score I have had. At the national meet I scored 3,804. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to but just being there was really cool.”
Preparing for the national meet, Luedy said she went out to the school track with her mom. “My mom (Dawn Luedy) was a coach,” she shared. “So I have been at track practices since I was young.”
According to school officials, Morgan actually broke her mother’s school track record. Dawn was asked at a local Rotary Club meeting how she felt about it. “All I can say,” she commented with a smile, “is that if someone was going to do it it’s nice that it was my daughter.”
Luedy said while she was training there were others who came out to help. “Our hurdle coach and Aidman Albaugh, he is a thrower, also helped me. He (Albaugh) was a lot of help,” she said. “Throwing is something I had very little experience in. Most of it though, was just me going out on my own time to just improve myself in the off season.
During the regional meet she said she PR’d (set a personal record) in the high jump. “I jumped 5’3” at the regionals. I actually PR’d in almost everything at the regionals,” she said, adding, “I was just having a very good day for some reason.”
The biggest drawback at the national event, according to Luedy, was the heat. “It is a dry heat. It was 22 percent humidity one day and I am used to what we have here. It was 108 degrees when I was running the 800 and we had to put water down on the track for the 200 so we didn’t burn our hands. The mornings were nice, but once it got to the middle of the day it was so hard. The heat is something I think may have contributed to my lack of success, it was just so hot and I wasn’t used to it.” She added, “Also the flight was six hours.”Morgan will be a senior at New London High School this fall where she said she will be participating in cross country, basketball and track. She is the daughter of Anthony and Dawn Luedy.