Thanks to COVID restrictions, gymnast Amelie Morgan didn’t have the option of visiting Utah when she was considering which college she might attend.
So the British Olympian did what many teenagers would do to learn about something, she took to social media.
Morgan, who helped Britain win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, pored over YouTube videos and other social media channels to see what Utah would have to offer.
What she saw, combined with the recruiting efforts of coach Tom Farden, were enough that Morgan was swayed to make Utah her destination.
Suffice it to say everyone involved with the Utah program is glad she did.
No. 4 Utah at Washington
Monday, 7 p.m. MT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Records: Utah (8-1, 4-1), Washington (4-5, 1-3)
Morgan, who was once destined for Cal, has been a crucial part of Utah’s balance beam and uneven bars lineups. On the bars she has scored 9.825 or higher and on the beam she has earned 9.75 or higher in every meet as the leadoff gymnast.
“She is making some huge statements with her gymnastics,” Farden said. “She isn’t a household name like Grace McCallum or Kara Eaker, but what she has done is incredible for us. We knew when she was willing to come to Utah sight unseen she was up for an adventurer and she is a bit of a gamer.”
Morgan’s beam work might be her most impressive efforts, considering she has changed her routine three times.
“We are tweaking things to get the bet out of her routine, but not a lot of athletes can do a different beam routine three weeks in a row and hit it,” Farden said.
Morgan admits coming to Utah was a little “daunting,” but she has settled in quickly both in her routines and in her role with the team.
“I am a competitive person and I like to be pushed,” she said. “In a way, I’d rather fight for that place in the lineups.”
Often it takes freshmen a little time to adjust to collegiate gymnastics, particularly if they are coming from the elite levels where difficulty is emphasized more than clean routines.
That she has done so well is remarkable, considering she was coming to a new country and new system too.
“The first three or four meets I was more nervous,” Morgan said. “I’ve settled into everything new and I’m comfortable in the leadoff spot. I like pushing the rest of the team to do better.”
Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by her teammates.
“She is always calm and collected,” senior Sydney Soloski said. “She never complains and just does her work and she has this aura about her where you just don’t worry about her. You have to be really mentally tough to be the leadoff on beam.”
Getting her balance beam routine finalized has taken a lot of her focus, but Morgan also is close to being ready on the floor and vault too, Farden said.
“She walks into the gym with a swagger and is one of those athletes who just doesn’t make excuses,” he said. “She shines on the most intricate events and that is what makes her so special.”