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Luedy places ninth nationally in heptathlon

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Jul 26, 2017 at 6:36 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan. — For two months, Morgan Luedy has been stuck on the number 9.

But for now, that's plenty good enough for the recent New London graduate.

The track and field standout placed ninth out of 27 athletes Tuesday in the women's 17-18 division heptathlon at the USATF National Junior Olympic track and field championships, held at Rock Chalk Park on the campus of the University of Kansas.

She just missed a podium finish (top eight) by 50 points in the seven-event competition. That comes less than two months removed from placing ninth in three of her four events at the Division III state track and field championships in Columbus.

“I was joking with my parents, because ninth has been my number at state and now at nationals,” Luedy said on Tuesday. “It would have been cool to get on the podium, but I was really just excited to see the growth from last year to this year — and getting a new PR in the heptathlon (4177).”

A year ago in July 2016, Luedy placed 17th in the country out of 27 competitors at the same event, which was held in Sacramento, Calif.

On Monday, Luedy finished in 16.10 seconds to place 13th in the 100 hurdles. She was 10th in the high jump (4-feet-11) and 16th in the shot put (27-4). In no surprise, since it was also her best event of the high school season for the Wildcats, Luedy was sixth in the 200 (26.34).

She closed out the heptathlon on Tuesday by placing 17th in the long jump (16-3.75), eighth in the javelin throw (93.7) and 10th in the 800 (2:32.25).

“I thought I did very average overall compared to previous times, distances and heights — nothing too bad,” Luedy said. “I didn't have any personal bests, except in the javelin and shot, but that just came with extra practice and experience I gained the past few weeks.”

Luedy, who will continue her career at Cornerstone University, an NAIA school in Grand Rapids, Mich., said competing at the state meet helped her this week.

“I think the experience at Jesse Owens stadium prepared me well for nationals, and vice versa,” she said. “A lot of athletes are in shock when they perform in big stadiums with the best of the best as competitors, but having been to state three times and nationals twice, it’s not as scary.

“You just have to focus on one event at a time and doing your best,” Luedy added. “The nice thing about the heptathlon is different athletes have different strengths and weaknesses, so it’s really a battle against your PR. if one event goes bad, you have to get over it and try to make up points in the next event. You have no time to feel sorry for yourself or to celebrate, because a half hour later, you’re competing again.”

At New London, Luedy pulled off one of the toughest possible feats in 2016, as she qualified for state in four of the five individual sprint events. She followed that with her 17th place heptathlon finish.

Luedy was again in four state events this past June, but opted to run in a relay with three teammates as opposed to four individual events. She has four school records at New London and scored 1,060.91 career points at the school.

“Short term plan is to finally take a break,” Luedy said. “ I’ll train for the heptathlon and really whatever my coach thinks I can excel in once college starts. I probably won’t compete in summer track and field and just focus on training for collegiate competition.

“My long term plan is to make an appearance at the NAIA national championships and hopefully be an All-American, or even national champion,” she added.

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