Morgan Causey stood in her black track uniform and spectated with unrelenting anxiety as rubber-tipped spears flew through the air in front of her.
After qualifying for the final round of the Class 6A girls javelin state championships by the slimmest margin imaginable, Causey produced the best throw of her career in her third and final attempt of the championship round. The throw put her in first place, but as the last seed, she had to wait for everyone else’s last toss to see where she’d land on the leaderboard.
Throw after throw, mark after mark, her drive of 121-01 stood as the one to beat in a field of Alabama’s best.
Pelham’s Elizabeth Hayhurst, the class’ best thrower in sectionals, went last.
Her javelin landed short of 120 feet. Causey was a state champion.
At first she felt relief, but it evolved into joy.
“I told my mom I didn’t even have time to be excited over it because of how bad I did [at first],” Causey said. “But once I stepped on the podium, it felt really good. Better than anything you could imagine.”
Causey’s final effort may have been a textbook execution, but everything before deviated from the day she scripted in her head.
Through two throws on the largest possible stage, Morgan Causey was 20 feet short of her personal best and roughly five feet off the mark needed to advance from the girls javelin state semifinals to the championship round.
Her third and final throw of the semifinal stage, which registered 99-10, still logged in 15 feet below her personal best.
But it qualified her for the championship round by one inch.
“I talked to [throwing coach Rob] Weighall, we said that the kids are peaking at the right time,” Wetumpka head coach Warren Brown said. “She could have put out 121 earlier in the season, we wouldn’t know what she had left in the tank. But to see it come at the right moment just makes it special.”
Causey required space to relax between the semifinals and finals.
After advancing by such a nervous scrape, she spoke with Weighall and tried to refocus.
“I literally looked at my mom between rounds and I was like, ‘Why am I here,’” Causey said. “‘I haven’t been doing good. I don’t even deserve to be here at this point.’ But I took some time for myself and thought, ‘You’re fine. You got into finals. You’re not here for no reason, just do what you have to do.’ Self-encouragement really, and the support of my coaches and parents.”
She recorded a mark of 111-03 on her next attempt, which would have placed in her fifth, and fouled on her next-to-last throw. If she was going to finish her career with a PR and pick up a medal, it’d have to be on her last mark.
That’s when Causey produced her 121-foot strike.
“My third throw, I thought, ‘Okay Morgan, let everything go. Just breathe. Do what you know what you can do,’” Causey said. “I went up there, ran down the runway. I cocked it back, and when I released it – it felt good. It felt better than all the throws that I had thrown prior to that. And when I saw it go right above the line I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the one right there.’”
Causey’s been enjoying success outside athletics as well, Brown said, recently committing to LSU to further her education.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better start for our state championship weekend,” Brown said. “She’s the first one up, she comes back with a gold medal, putting the pressure on the rest of her teammates. You gotta love it. We love it, we’re proud of it.”
Wetumpka still has several state qualifiers to compete Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned to the Herald as more results unfold.