Morgan Reid is goal-oriented.
What that means is open to interpretation. She says her biggest thrill is scoring goals, not defining whether she means throwing a ball through a basketball hoop or kicking it to the back of the net in soccer.
She does both incredibly well.
She was a four-year starter in basketball at Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons High and led the team in scoring and assists each season. She also was a four-year starter in soccer and is ranked among the top high school players in the country.
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She just returned from the U.S. Under-20 women’s national team camp in California, where she was one of four high school players participating.
But perhaps her goal preference doesn’t have anything to do with athletics. She had goals of being an outstanding high school student and being admitted to a university with a strong academic reputation.
She graduated with a 4.65 GPA and will enroll in the fall at Duke, where she received a soccer scholarship.
A point guard, she had basketball scholarship offers, too, but she decided to stick with soccer, which she has played since she was 4 years old. She already misses basketball and hopes to play intramural basketball at Duke.
And if being The News & Observer high school female athlete of the year was a goal, she can check that off, too.
Not on the stats sheet
Her combination of athletic and academic achievements earned her the honor, but girls’ basketball coach Jessica Lowe said Reid’s contributions can’t be quantified by statistics.
“She is the best at knowing when someone needs a hug, or an encouraging word or some motivating,” Lowe said. “When I met her as a rising ninth-grader, she did not carry herself as a 14-year-old girl. She carried herself as a seasoned veteran.”
Reid had mental toughness even then but becoming a team leader was a learning process, Reid said.
“I had been on teams with older players, and they had been the leaders,” she said. “I had to learn to take that role. To me, being a leader is how you respond in pressure situations.”
Lowe recalls a second-round basketball playoff game at Eastern Wayne when the Crusaders trailed by one point with eight seconds left. As the team reached the bench during a timeout, Reid said to give her the ball.
“She never would have said that three years ago,” Lowe said. “She wanted to step up and lead the team in a tight spot. She scored and we won.”
Michele Miller, the Cardinal Gibbons girls’ soccer coach, said Reid’s leadership showed during every practice.
“Morgan is this fantastic leader, almost like a big sister to everyone,” Miller said. “With all the success that she has achieved and all the experiences she has had, she still considers herself to be just a part of the team. Others may put her on a pedestal, but she doesn’t put herself there.”
Reid said being a leader isn’t always easy and she understands the responsibility that comes with leadership.
“It can be tough at times, but you do what you can to help the team,” she said.
Success comes with preparation
Reid would have had made tremendous contributions to the Cardinal Gibbons programs even if she had not been an outstanding leader, Lowe said.
“Forget about being a great person and a tremendous leader for just a second,” Lowe said. “Morgan is an incredible athlete. She has been the most athletic girl on campus since the first day she walked into the school. She has this enormous physical ability that she has worked to develop.”
Miller said Reid is quick, strong, coordinated and agile and has unbelievable endurance.
“But what sets her apart is her work ethic,” she said. “She is always preparing herself to play.”
And Reid brought a love of high school soccer that infected the entire team.
“She is one of the elite players in the country and is head and shoulders above the rest of our team,” Miller said. “I wondered how she would handle playing with a high school team instead of an all-star team.
“But it was unreal. High school soccer is all about teammates, school and community, and she embraced all those things. She loved it so much that she was torn about missing 10 days during the playoffs to go train with the national team. We told her that, of course, she had to go train, but she kept up with everything we did. She was very much a part of us even when she was away.”
Reid returned from the U.S. camp in time to play eventual 3A state champion Chapel Hill in a third-round game. Chapel Hill won 2-1. The Crusaders had split two regular-season games with the Tigers.
“I think we played as hard as we could and that we came very close to winning a state title,” Reid said. “We and Chapel Hill were very close. Before the game, I thought we were playing for the state championship. I still feel the same way.”