Colorado Student-Athlete Spotlight: Joe Morris
February 01, 2011
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Setting a school record in the first race of the season usually doesn't happen.
Notice the choice of words in the first sentence: 'usually' not 'never' because that's exactly what Joe Morris, a sophomore transfer from Tennessee, did in his first race in a Colorado uniform.
At the Potts Indoor Invite, Morris flew to the finish line in the 60-meter dash in a mere 6.63 seconds, setting a CU record that has stood since 1999 when Jonathan Prather finished in 6.67 seconds. His time of 6.63 is currently the fifth fastest 60-meter dash in the Big 12 and is tied for eighth best in the nation collegiately.
"I was happy," Morris said. "I kind of knew I was going to do it because I knew I could already run the time."
Although Morris accomplished something that may take an athlete a career to do, he has many more goals to strive for this season.
"The first thing I thought [after the race] was, 'OK we passed that step, now let's move on to the next one,'" Morris said.
The next item on Morris' list of goals to accomplish this season is to improve his 60-meter dash by .03 seconds which would not only reset the school record, but also automatically qualify him for nationals.
The second item on his list is to "keep enjoying it."
"I'm always thinking, 'How am I going to do the next big thing? How am I going to make the next big move?'" Morris said.
Morris redshirted last season after his transfer to Colorado. Sitting out a year only built up excitement that helped him perform in his first race.
"First, I was feeling awesome because I love the jerseys and everything, so I was glad to actually be in a uniform since I hadn't been in one for so long," Morris said. "It was a relief. It made me think back at everything. I had to sit out and get the grades nice, but now I'm back and I've made it. I think that helped. I was pumped and ready to go."
Morris has the sort of attitude that any coach would want in an athlete.
"He's always happy and excited about something," said assistant coach Drew Morano. "He's always motivated and focused and wanting something else. He's always pushing for something. He's always fun to be around."
For example, Morris calls a track meet "his kind of party."
"I think to myself, 'We're having a party,'" Morris said. "That's my favorite time of the day, favorite hour. When I'm sitting in the blocks, I'm thinking, 'This is going to be fun.' I just wish it lasted longer."
Morris talks about running with a huge smile glued onto his face. Could this athlete ever have a bad day?
"It is very rare to catch Joe in a bad mood," Morano said.
"I do have bad days, but the race clears out my bad day," Morris said. "It's all about my mindset. This is all I do; track is all I do. When I wake up I'm always thinking about track."
Aside from all the goals Morris has for himself, his coach expects a lot out of this young athlete this season.
"I fully expect him to get down in the 6.50 range, and I think he can be an All-American in the 60-meter dash, which means making finals at NCAAs," Morano said. "I'd like to see him win the Big 12 title in the 60. I know he can go a long way, and I know he's got some time to get there."
Considering the times Morris has been running this early in the season, it may not take that long to get to where Morano is talking about.