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Morss leads Leopards to meet win

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

PLAINVILLE -- Senior Levi Morss, a standout football and track and field athlete for La Crosse High School, strongly considered signing with NCAA Division I Wichita State University for track. Morss had a letter of intent, but has since had a change of heart. He will still participate in college track, but in Manhattan.

"I think I have finally made up my mind to go walk on at K-State," Morss said. "It's been tough. First off, I had to decide what I want to do, track or football. Then, I had to decide where to go."

Morss, one of the key pieces in the Leopards' Class 1A state-title winning track team last spring, helped La Crosse collect the boys' team title in cold and windy conditions Tuesday at Plainville. The Leopards scored 121.5 points, 17.5 more than runner-up Thomas More Prep-Marian in the 11-team meet.

Morss won the 100-meter dash (11.04), 200-meter dash (22.81), took second in the long jump (21-0), and third in the 400 (53.38). In the long jump, Morss, the defending Class 1A champion, finished 2.25 inches behind Plainville senior Dalton Werner, the defending Class 2A state champion. Hurt by cold weather at many meets this season, Morss hasn't been satisfied with his marks this spring.

"I don't know if it was the track or what it is, but last year, I was jumping 21s, like 21-4 or 21-5," Morss said. "I came to this meet, jumped 19-7. I don't want to be negative. I did good here today, but I think it's the track."

The long jump field featured six jumpers over 19 and 10 over 18, including Leopard senior Clayton Basgall, who jumped 18-0.25.

Basgall, a starter for the Hays Legion baseball team that won state last summer, missed football and all but the end of basketball because of a knee injury. Hays Legion coach Brad Kelly also contacted several colleges on behalf of Basgall.

However, Basgall, helped by a bullpen session at Maize South, signed with Independence Community College as a pitcher. He also had an offer for Allen County Community College.

"It's a big weight off of my shoulders," Basgall said. "I was wondering all through winter and in the fall what I was going to do and how I was going to get ready, but trainers, they got me ready. I had to do a lot of throwing on my own to get my arm in shape for that bullpen."

WSU showed interest in Morss, who went down on a visit. He liked it and saw Marcus Moeder, a Leopard alum and current Shocker jumper. Morss, though, was uncertain how long he wanted to do track.

"I have never heard anything bad about K-State," Morss said. "I hear more talk about the good of K-State and how grand and majestic it is. I kind of made up my mind that's where I wanted to go."

But then the Shockers offered a scholarship. Morss, though, is still leaning toward the Wildcats. Morss wanted to have the option of football if he changes his mind; WSU doesn't have football.

"It backed me up for football, it had track," Morss said. "I think it's my fit. I don't think Wichita was my fit."

TMP girls roll to title

The TMP-Marian girls put up 138.5 points, 34 ahead of Oberlin-Decatur Community. TMP captured seven gold medals in the event.

The 1,600 relay finished first in a time of 4:27.81, and its 3,200 relay team finished in 10:40.53. Senior Heather Ruder won the 3,200-meter run in 12:07.37, while senior Allison Pfiefer won the 1,600-meter in 5:44.87.

Michaela Flax also collected a gold medal in the 300 hurdles in 49.24, while teammate Bailey Hageman won the 100 hurdles in 17.37.

Samantha Younie also won the triple jump, jumping 32-3.