Oriana Morales began running cross-country in sixth grade, and her track career in seventh grade, both at Seymour Middle School.

She has continued both sports throughout her days at Seymour High School, and has left her mark on both programs.

She ran in the state cross-country meet, and has helped the track team win three sectionals.

“I really enjoy running,” Morales said. “Somebody told me about cross-county. I was like, ‘What is that?’ They said you just run, and I said, ‘OK, I’ll join in.’ I’m glad I did. I’m happy I did track, too.”

She has ran different events during her track career at Seymour High School, and said this spring she is concentrating on the 400 and 4×400 relay.

“Those are my main events now,” Morales said. “I’ve been getting close to a 1:06 split in the relay. My last race I ran 1:06 in the open 400 so I’m hoping to get 1:04 and keep it going down. I actually ran the open 400 my sophomore and junior year.” She said she has ran the in the 1,600 relay the past three years.

Morales said she likes the shorter races.

“I love the speed. I love going fast,” she said. “I like running second in the relay. So far the first runner has given me the lead. If not, if the girl in front of me is not that far away I try to catch them no matter what. I try to catch them at the beginning, right away.”

The senior enjoys running on the Seymour track where she has helped the Owls win the sectional the past three years.

While she loves the sport, the people mean the most to Morales.

“The thing I like mostly about track is because I have friends there, my best friends and they are really supportive,” Morales said. “Even if I don’t do well in one of the races, they still tell me ‘you did pretty good, you did well, don’t put yourself down,’ ’’

She was in the varsity lineup in cross-country all four years at SHS, and helped the Owls advance to state three years. She missed part of her junior year because of knee problems.

Her career-best time was a 19:24 she ran at Brown County.

“Brown County is my favorite course because it goes by so fast,” Morales said. “I like flat courses. Our home course was tough. I wasn’t there to run many practices on the course because I had to do some things with my family.”

She said she always wanted to get off to a good start.

“I would start off pretty strong in my first mile,” Morales said. “After that I would try to control my pace throughout the race. When I was close to the finish line I would start to speed up and when I got so close I would just give it my all and sprint all out.”

Whether it’s on a course or track, Morales always tries to stay focused.

“The mental part is really important for me,” Morales said. “When I’m in a 400 and my legs are feeling tired I know I’ve got to push it. It’s just five or 10 more seconds to go strong. I have my parents on the side supporting me, yelling for me, ‘there’s a girl right behind you, you’ve got to go.’”

Morales said has enjoyed attending SHS.

“I’ve gotten a really good education,” Morales said. “I’m going to remember all the bus rides, and the food after the cross-country meets.”

Morales senior focus

Name: Oriana Morales

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Veronica Quirino and Saul Morales

Sibling: Esteban

Sports: cross-country 4 years, track and field 4 years

Athletic highlights: XC: state meet 3 times, most improved; track: sectional champions 3 times, 4×800 relay school record, regional qualifier 800, 4×800 relay, 4×400 relay.

Organizations: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club, choir.

Plans after high school: attend Indiana University Purdue University Columbus.

Favorite food: chicken enchiladas

Favorite TV show: Riverdale

Favorite musicians: Drake

Favorite athlete: Emma Coburn

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.