Though she is only a sophomore, Cherish Morrison’s meteoric rise in state track, not dissimilar to Luke Ridnour’s in basketball, has come with very grown up realities.
Already dealing with life in foster care, Morrison has sensed the rising tide of interest from college scouts.
When asked if she feels like a celebrity, Morrison said, “Yeah, I do,” noting that it began last year at the state championship meet, “people I didn’t know were coming up and calling my name like they knew me.”
Her notoriety is not limited to the press and college scouts. Northwest Conference (NWC) coaches and sprinters are painfully aware of Morrison’s feats and abilities.
Entering this week, Morrison has 2A state best times in the 100m, 200m and 4x200m relay with Robin Taylor, Rachel McKinstry and Kiersten Sigfusson. These are all events that she garnered state championships in last year.
She has the third best time in the state in all classifications and is only .7 seconds out of the top 10 nationally. She also won a state title in the longer 400m sprint last year, but encountered something in that event that she had never experienced. She lost a race.
At the Bedlington Twilight Invitational this year, Sigfusson ran a 59.7 good for second best in the state in 2A and beat Morrison. The longer race has revealed a challenge for Morrison to overcome.
“I have two umbilical hernias,” Morrison explained, “I started to notice them late last season, but since I didn’t race in the off season, they didn’t bother me.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, an umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine protrudes from the abdominal muscle. Most commonly found in infants, the condition usually corrects itself, as the child grows older. In adults, the condition usually requires surgery to repair. Morrison’s world-class sprinting ability has exacerbated the condition. She plans to have surgery this summer.
Despite the injury, Morrison has compiled a remarkable 55-1 racing record. To race each meet, she applies two pads that are to reduce swelling and then are tightly wrapped with elastic bandages. Still, Morrison is running roughshod through the NWC, leading the Borderites to a 6-0 team record so far this season. When asked if she believes she will not only repeat as state champion in the four events she won the previous year but also have the overall best time in the state in the 100m, Morrison was emphatic.
“Even though it hurts really bad, I’m still going to run through it,” she said, “because you can’t stop what you’ve already started.”