Morgan, Westview long relay win Metro titles
After every meet, be it the opening day dual against Glencoe for the Class 6A state championship, Westview senior Keizo Morgan empties his tank.
His competitive ambition is absurd. Morgan is a middle distance runner who once dove across the finish line of a 400-meter Metro League district final in the name of first place. He'll do whatever is required to win.
On Friday at the Metro League district championship meet at Liberty High School, Morgan already had an 800 title in his back pocket. Yet his 4x400 relay team still needed him to be at his best. With Jesuit in hot pursuit in a neck-and-neck long relay, it came down to Morgan and Jesuit's Alex Wan — a battle of short speed against conditioned stamina. In true fashion, Morgan delivered.
As Westview's anchor leg with a suitable lead, Morgan ran away from Wan, looking over his shoulder only after he'd safely crossed the finish line with first place (3:23) to help send his squad to the 6A state meet at Hayward Field on Friday and Saturday.
"I know I can beat anyone in the 400," Morgan said. "And as a team, we were expecting to win this. We have a lineup this year that we've never had. We had the confidence going in. I was a little worried Alex was going to catch me, but I told myself to go out hard and my distance legs would take care of the last 200 (meters) of the race."
"It's crazy," Westview freshman Denzel Pinto said. "(Morgan) looks so chill when he's running, it's insane. Now we have to go to Hayward and go out with a bang."
"We just ran the fastest relay of our career," Westview junior Payton Kubalsky said. "It just feels so good. We've all gone through a lot of adversity the last month or so, so it's great to come back and shine."
Ross led off the relay and gave Westview a two-stride lead, an edge that Pinto — a star freshman Morgan predicts will win multiple state titles — Kubalsky and Morgan maintained. This foursome got a boost when Pinto joined the Wildcat program over the summer, adding a 400 speed demon to the fold. Pinto took second in the 400 on Friday. Morgan and Kubalsky were part of the 4x800 relay that beat a number of teams from around the West Coast at the Nike Twilight Relays.
"We really made a commitment to proving ourselves this year," Ross said. "I've watched (Morgan) run the past three years and he's been able to hold it down almost every single time. I had no doubt going into that last leg."
Morgan avenged what was a second place finish against Sunset's Ethan Reese a year ago in the 800. Leading with about 200 meters to go, Morgan ran out of gas and could only watch in horror as Reese raced by him down the homestretch at Cronin Field in 2017. But with a revamped race plan and additional strength and speed in the chamber after a year in the weight room, Morgan came back this spring more motivated than ever.
"I let the field do the hard work, and then went (with 200 to go)," Morgan said. "Last year I was really bummed because I really wanted to win (the 800). I spent this whole year thinking about what I needed to do over the course of 12 months to withstand a big kick from (Reese). All that extra work paid off."
Westview junior Cielo Del Rosario won the javelin by throwing a 175-11 for the Wildcats, who came away with three Metro titles on the boys' side.
For more on the Metro district meet visit www.beavertonvalleytimes.com.