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Casey Raced Peers, Not Clock to 800 State Title
By: Kevin Milsted

Blair High School's Morgan Casey found success through a mindset adjustment.

Three weeks before the state championship meet, Casey set a very lofty time goal for herself to run 2:14 in the open 800m. She planned out her splits precisely and tried to run a very specific way at the DCC Championship Meet. She ran 2:18.9 to set the meet record, but it was not what she was hoping for. It was slower than her personal best and a personal disappointment, according to a conversation with Mocorunning that day.

She subsequently won county, region, and state titles in the 800-meter run and lowered her time each week, 2:18.08 to 2:16.51 to 2:16.22. She did so not by aiming to hit certain splits, but by simply racing the girls around her.

After winning her first state title, the Blair junior explained her modified approach: "As my coach has been telling me, 'run against the competition and not against the clock,' because running against the clock is hard."

"Yasmine [Kass] and me were talking to Hayley [Jackson] earlier and she was like, 'yeah, it's really hard to run against yourself,' so I just kind of stopped worrying about times and more about place and just doing my best against the competition that I'm put against."

Casey said that she was a little freaked out to be put in lanes for the state championship 800m for the first time in her life. She felt like she did not get out as fast as she needed to because of the in-lane start. After the first 200 meters, she was nearly in last place (and by the way, so was Annapolis's Maria Coffin).

From the 300m mark to the 400m mark, she moved from nearly last into first place.

Casey described her thoughts on that final lap: "That final 400 I was like 'Ahh! I gotta go. I gotta get back up there.' So I pushed on the third 200 and then once I got in front I was like, 'I need to go now! These girls are coming after me. There's no way that they are far behind me at all.'

She was right. She was running in first place but she never had much separation from the field, particularly from Paint Branch's Kyra Badrian who was the defending outdoor 800-meter state champion. Over the final 100 meters, she finally began to separate from the field, but Annapolis's Maria Coffin appeared from nowhere with superior acceleration and passed everyone but Casey. Had the race been ten meters longer, Coffin may have won.

Casey did not see Coffin coming and did not know that she was coming, but she assumed from experience that someone would be coming.

"Running with Yasmine [Kass] where it's like I always know she's hunted me down in that last 200 if I'm ever in front of her...that helped a lot just knowing that on that 200 I gotta book it if I want to win and I have to want it really, really badly."

"I'm very, very happy," Casey said immediately following the race. "It's what I wanted to do, and I'm just glad that I did what my goal was and what all of my teammates believed I could do."

Casey said that she may potentially run a DMR with Josephine Brane-Wright, Leah Kannan, and Sadie Cheston-Harris at New Balance Nationals. Blair won the Viking Invitational DMR earlier this season in 12:48.80 which was a school record.


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