2014 Foot Locker Nationals finalist Logan Morris is undefeated this season and looks poised for a return trip to Balboa Park after setting the South Carolina state meet course record in 17:28.31. We talk to the senior about philanthropy, college choices, being the "Team Mom" and more! Watch selected highlights from the Skype call in the video above, or read the full interview below.
Jojo: Can you tell us about what happened this weekend?
Logan Morris: I definitely wanted to set the record [at the SCISA Championships, the private school state meet]. Heading into the meet, I knew I'd have to run faster than 17:35 and I knew it was possible but it wasn't gonna be easy. I knew my splits and I knew the 1000 meter marks, so I just tackled the race. I started out fast and definitely finished out strong and was happy to go under the record [in 17:28.31].
What was your previous best time on that course?
17:59 [at the 2013 Championship].
Can you clarify exactly what kind of record that is?
It's the fastest state meet time in South Carolina out of public and private schools. The fastest-ever [5K] time in state history was at a smaller meet so I don't know how accurate that was [16:49 by four-time Foot Locker finalist Kate Niehaus, who went on to run for Stanford], but it's the fastest ever time at the state meet course.
Has that record been a goal of yours for a long time?
Not really, it kind of just emerged throughout the year. When I found out my time was kind of matched up to where I had a good shot, I realized I was capable of reaching it so it definitely was a goal for me heading into the meet.
This is your senior year. How would you evaluate your season?
I think I've been blessed with an amazing season. I've had a course record or meet record almost every race I've been at. I've been undefeated so far and I've just been overwhelmed with how my season's gone. My marks are all ahead of where I was at last year so I'm so excited to go to Foot Locker South and finally race some competition. Sub-17 is the goal but definitely to be ahead of where I was last year.
Have you kept track of local results from different states to see who your competition might be at Foot Locker?
The South team from last year was very young, there were only a couple seniors. Most of the team is returning, so it's gonna be a really competitive race. There are a lot girls who are doing really well so far this season so I think it's still gonna be a fight to get back to Nationals but it's a good challenge and I'm ready to go for it.
How does it feel to represent South Carolina on the national stage?
I think I'm blessed to run for South Carolina. I know for other girls, they have a lot more competition in the state but I think I've developed through the years and I have a platform with the people in South Carolina and an influence. It's an honor to have people look up to me and I get messages on instagram and Twitter. I know that going into Foot Locker is a whole different world, it's not like racing in South Carolina. There's lots of girls on my level. I love representing my home state but also competing against other girls in the south.
What's your training like right now?
Right now I am adjusting into a harder training block heading into Foot Locker South. I'll probably have one more race before Foot Lokcer just to keep my racing flats on and speed going but it'll definitely be more workouts, 2-3 a week and a long run in there and some easy runs to recover.
What do you usually do for a long run?
I go by minutes, so I'll usually do 70 or 80 minutes depending on the week and how I'm feeling.
What's the hardest workout you've done this year?
Actually, yesterday was a really hard workout for me, especially coming off from state and an exciting weekend. I had 5000 meters total of hard workout but I mimicked in pace what Foot Locker South would be like: hard 1000 at the start, switching out to two 500s at a little slower pace, another 1000 meters followed by two 500s and finishing up with another 1000 meters really hard, like at the end of the race.
It took awhile but it was fun and I was definitely picturing the finish line for the last bit, so I think it really helped me prepare for a couple weeks down the road.
Have you done this workout before, earlier this season or in years past?
This is the first time I've done a workout like that. Most of my workouts are about 5000 meters of hard stuff. I'll have rest in between or different ways to reach that 5000, whether it be 1000 meter repeats or 800s or 400s.
Are you going to repeat this one again before Foot Locker South?
I like variety so I don't get bored doing the same workout but it was a really good workout, so I'll probably do it again in two weeks or so and I think it'll be a good shake out before the race.
How many miles a week are you running right now?
I think it's around 40. I don't have high mileage, I try to keep it kind of low to maximize my potential in college.
Speaking of college... do you have an update for us?
I haven't made a commitment yet. I'm hoping to sign next week though, so I want to commit in the next few days and hopefully know where I'm going to college so I can focus on training and running fast.
Which schools are you considering right now?
Right now, I have Georgia and Clemson as my final two.
What's the recruiting process been like for you?
It's been stressful at times. I've gotten kind of overwhelmed thinking about this huge decision, but it's definitely been a blessing to know these college coaches are recruiting me and they want me to be a part of their program. I just take it step by step. I think I've kept good relationships with the coaches throughout the whole thing and I'm really excited for the future.
Outside of running, I've noticed you're involved in some philanthropic organizations. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I definitely use running as a platform to share why I run and that's ultimately just to bring glory to God. I feel like he's given me this gift and this platform, especially in my state and recently also nationally so I really want to use this gift he's given me to make his name known.
There's an organization called Carolina Miracle League, which is for mentally and physically handicapped children who want to play baseball and so they make that possible. You have a buddy and you play baseball with these kids. Even if they're in a wheelchair, you push them around the bases and help them hit the bat. I'm using my senior season to help raise money for them and help them changes lives for the people in my community.
I started helping out with the games in middle school and it's kind of hard when cross country season kicks up and track but I've kept relationships with them through high school. This year, I really decided I wanted to dedicate my season to kids who maybe can't run on their own but want to have a chance to have fun.
You have a lot of younger teammates who look up to you. Can you describe Spartanburg Christian and how is it different from other high school teams?
We are definitely a young team, we have three high schoolers and the rest are in middle school. And we can actually run sixth graders, too, so we have three sixth graders and one of them ran at state so we have a very young team. This year has been kind of a rebuilding year but the girls have adapted really well and I think in a year or two they'll be better than my team two years ago. It's exciting to see what kind of influence I have on these younger girls in bringing them up in running and leadership. I think that they're gonna take off and run great in the next few years.
Are you like the team mom?
Definitely. I feel like the team mom. I call them my little ducklings, they kind of follow me around all the time. I've been to all the races, I know what to do. I encourage them to take leadership roles because next year, I won't be there. They really take running seriously and work very hard and hopefully next year just keep up what they're doing bc they're gonna do great things.
Do you have any funny stories from having so many young teammates?
They definitely keep things fun and keep me laughing. We have a fun run each year. It's our last practice, just to kind of lighten things up. This year we dressed up as Minions, it was kind of funny. Probably not something I would do on my own but just knowing that these little girls would love this idea, we just encourage that and had a great time. I probably would not have done that with a team that was all high schoolers but it was one of the best practices of the year.
Do they introduce you to new types of music? What do they like to listen to?
The little girls, they like to sing on the run, so while they were running, they were also singing. I don't know how! They sing the dance songs like "The Quan" and all those things, some of them I didn't even know but it was funny to listen to.
Do you have any specific goals you'd like to share?
Definitely, Foot Locker is a huge goal of mine and if I can make it to Nationals, I want to be able to contribute to the South team and hopefully place really high. I've been working hard and it would be great to see that hard work pay off, so that's a huge goal.
Last [track] season, I had a little bit of an IT band probem so I didn't get to race full out until the end of the season and my training was not up to par, I guess. So this year, I really want to see what I can do because I haven't performed at my best since sophomore year in track so I'd like to break five minutes in the mile for sure. I'd like to get close to 10:25 range in the two mile.
You went to New Balance Outdoors in June, do you have plans to go back to New Balance Outdoors or Indoors?
I know I do want to go for outdoors, for sure, I'm not sure about indoors yet because we don't run indoors in the state of South Carolina so I'd have to find a way to qualify. But I'm definitely open to the possibility because running in the Armory in New York is really exciting.
I actually went freshman year [to race the freshman mile], didn't really know what I was doing but it was fun. It was a great experience, one of the first expriences I had at the National level and I think really it definitely set dreams for me for the future because I could see I could compete against girls from other states and across the naton. It gave me a passion to go run harder and qualify for bigger meets.
Is there anything else that you'd like to share?
I'd like to share the way that people can contribute to my campaign for Miracle League, Racing for a Miracle. Click here to learn more about Logan's campaign, Racing for a Miracle, and donate to the cause through gofundme.