We Salute Morgan Koca, Mill Valley

Name: Morgan Koca

School: Mill Valley

Q: What does your training look like right now given the current situation?

A: Right now I'm keeping my training basically the same as it would've been if we would've been having a regular season. I am still getting in hard effort runs or mileage every day (besides Sundays). 

Q: What are you doing to stay busy other than run right now?

A: To stay busy I am spending lots of time with my family. There have been many game nights, yummy dinners, and "This is Us" watch parties. 

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?

A: I think that my most memorable race would be the Olathe Twilight cross country meet that was held last year. I had never ran an xc meet at night, and it was a super cool environment there. Also, at that meet I really surprised myself and pushed myself farther than I thought I could go. It was at that meet that I really started to feel confident and strong, and finally felt like I was beginning to see my hard work pay off.

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?

A: This wasn't funny at the time but looking back the funniest thing that has happened during my running career would be that on one summer run with the team a dog attacked me and bit me. I had to go to the hospital and get stitches, and now everyone on the team makes fun of me for it and I have two battle scars, so it's pretty memorable and funny to look back at now. 

Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

A: There are lots of studs out there that have pushed me over the past four years, but I try really hard not to compare myself too much if I can help it. Therefore, I always tried to make my biggest competition myself and focus on my race and improvement at each meet. 

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?

A: I think my greatest accomplishment would have to be winning two team state titles with my favorite people. The feeling of all that hard work paying off is something I can't compare to anything else. Those are days I will never forget and wouldn't trade for the world!!!!

Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

A: I think I would've just cherished the moment more. Instead of trying to rush through practice some days I wish I would've just enjoyed the time with my teammates and soaked up what I didn't know I'd be losing so soon. I also wish I would've had more confidence in myself from the start and been more motivated in my beginning years of high school.

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

A: The most difficult obstacle I had to overcome was just the comparisons that would come up in my head. I would really try to block them out and focus on my race, but it was hard not to compare my warmups, food schedule, pre race routines, times, etc. Although I think that towards the end of high school I overcame this and got a lot better at not worrying about what others were doing. 

Q: What will you miss the most?

A: I will miss sooo many things about high school running, but I think most of all I will just miss the team culture that Mill Valley Cross Country has created. The people are really what have made it so enjoyable, and I'm going to miss them and all the fun memories that we've made together. 

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?

A: My advice to younger athletes would just be to not waste any day or opportunity to get better, and to truly enjoy each moment of high school running because you never know when it could get taken away from you.

Q: What kind of an impact has your coach had on you and your team?

A: My coach has had such a tremendous impact on me and my team. He has truly believed and invested in us, and he has pushed me so much throughout my running career so far. He has challenged me and always been there no matter if things go good or bad! 

Q: What are your college plans?

A: I am planning to attend Creighton University and continue running on the team there! I am also planning to study elementary education. 

Q: Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

A: Oh my goodness there are so many people I want to say thank you to but I have to thank my parents most of all. They are honestly the best parents I could've asked for and are so kind, understanding, supportive, and much more. I wouldn't be doing any of this without them. 

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: I just wanted to add that although everything is not what we were envisioning for right now there is nothing we can do to change the situation. Therefore, we all need to make the most of this time! Use it to spend more time with loved ones or just take some much deserved you time, and don't let yourself get down because a positive attitude is a game changer when it comes to situations like this one! We are gonna get through this!!!! 

Q: Favorite Meal?

A: Ohhhh this is a tricky one but probably a burrito bowl with LOTS of guac. 

Q: If you could be any animal what would you choose? and why?

A: I think I would want to be a giraffe. I don't really know why I have just always liked giraffes. I think they're super fun and interesting.

Q: Your favorite superhero?

A: I don't really have a favorite superhero, but right now I would say the true heros are the nurses and doctors who are relentlessly working to fight against not only this virus but all viruses. They are the real heroes of this world, and I admire them for all the work they do.