Elmira’s Morgan Hanley will be taking her passion for field hockey all the way to the United States next year after she was scouted at a showcase competition.
The EDSS Grade 12 student earned herself a spot at Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU), a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 team. She’ll be attending the university in 2019, majoring in exercise science.
“I wouldn’t say I was expecting it, but we were going down to those showcases in hopes that something would come up – a big opportunity for me in the States,” said Hanley. “And that’s what happened, so that was exciting. All the hard work paid off.”
Hanley’s interest in sports has been longstanding and wide-ranging; she participated in competitive gymnastics, played badminton and ice hockey at EDSS, as well as skiing and snowboarding.
Her EDSS field hockey coach and former teacher, Lisa Douglas, took note of her athletic ability and leadership skills early on.
“She was our outstanding junior athlete in Grade 10,” said Douglas. “What makes her stand out isn’t just her athletic ability; it’s her dedication to the sport, her positive attitude, her hard work, commitment, her leadership – she’s an amazing leader as well.”
Her interest in field hockey came while she was dealing with a non-sports related injury.
“I did competitive gymnastics for eight years,” Hanley explained. “Then I had a broken foot, and I just decided it was time for a little bit of a change, so I moved to field hockey. It was a good change; I love gymnastics too – I still miss it to this day – but field hockey has been an amazing journey for me.”
Although Hanley focuses more on field hockey, both indoor and outdoor, her interest in gymnastics remains. She currently dedicates her time to coaching at the Woolwich Gymnastics Club.
“She switched her passion from competing in gymnastics to coaching gymnastics,” said Tina Hanley, Morgan’s mother. “Which she still does, just took on a different role in the gymnastics club. So rather than competing, she tried to help with coaching.”
She also joined the KW Dragons field hockey team in Waterloo, which gave her the opportunity to travel far for competitions. Her interest in field hockey ramped up after a trip to Toronto.
“Then we went to a tournament called May Meltdown in Toronto one year,” said Hanley. “And my eyes were opened to a whole new world of field hockey.”
Following a camp in Kitchener-Waterloo, she joined the A&C Field Hockey Academy based in Brampton.
“She was an amazing leader for our field hockey team and helped raise the game of other players around her always in a positive way,” said Douglas of Hanley’s field hockey ability. “She had excellent input in game-play situations on strategies; just a pleasure to coach. She’s one of those athletes that’s been a pleasure to coach all the way through from Grade 9 to now.”
Hanley also participated on Team Ontario and had received a gold and bronze medal with her team after competing in the Canadian national championships.
“She grew her love for field hockey the more she played and was exposed to different opportunities,” said Tina Hanley. “It’s just such an exciting world out there.”
“We’re very proud of her. And thankful for the new opportunity.”