At age 15, Morgan Patla has already distinguished herself in the classroom and on the field of play.
The Lake-Lehman sophomore has earned her competitive stripes in both track and field and cross country, and she proves her academic achievement as a member of the National Honor Society.
Morgan, who resides in Harveys Lake with parents Krista and Ed, recently attended the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University as an alternate on her school’s 3,200-meter relay team — quite an accomplishment for a sophomore.
“We’re really excited,” Morgan said during a phone interview on May 25. “Today, we made it to (tomorrow’s) finals.”
The following day, the team went on to finish sixth in the state in Class 2A off of a No. 9 seed.
Typically, Morgan competes in the 400-meter and 800-meter individual mid-distance events.
“I like the 400 because the competition is right next to you, and you’re rounding the last bend and it’s all or nothing,” Morgan said.
Training for such events, she said, can be rigorous but worth being prepared.
“It takes a lot of physical strength and mental strength to tell yourself, ‘I can get through this, and I can finish,’” Morgan said.
She enjoys running for its cathartic quality.
“When you’re running, it’s almost like everything else melts away. When you run, you can kind of calm yourself down,” Morgan said.
Next year, she hopes to make “states” as a starting member of a team rather than as an alternate.
Morgan’s academic conviction is no less concentrated than her athletic ambition — she’s been on the Lake-Lehman district honor roll since sixth grade.
This year, she maintained a grade point average of, “I believe a 3.7 or 3.8,” and she said she enjoys studying chemistry, other sciences and history.
“In chemistry, we learn how to work with chemicals and balance equations, and it’s pretty fun,” she said. “Currently, we’re learning civics (in history class), so we’re learning about our executive department and all the branches. It’s interesting to learn how it all works.”
Next year, she’ll be taking anatomy, a subject she hopes helps her with her future educational and vocational ventures.
“When I go to college, I want to work somewhere in the medical field, so I’m excited for that,” Morgan said.
In addition to her classroom and sport-field engagements, Morgan is a member of Lake-Lehman’s chorus. She hopes to participate in both academics and athletics in college and plans to spend her summer running and spending time with friends and family.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.