Three-sport student athlete Morgan May — soon to graduate with the Coast Union High School Class of 2013 — is justifiably proud of her academic achievements, but notwithstanding the major successes she also enjoyed in competitive athletics, she moves on just two goals shy of the dreams she cultivated as a freshman.
Morgan is a kind and calm young woman who transitions into a fierce competitor on the field. She set out to participate in three sports all four years at Coast. She almost turned that dream into reality.
After lettering and excelling in tennis, soccer and softball through her junior year, and playing tennis and soccer her senior year, she tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on her right knee near the end of the 2013 soccer season. That was one dream that didn’t pan out.
The other ambition was to play all three sports her senior year with her freshman sibling Maddie, a coalescing of sisters the two had talked about for years.
Again, she almost made it. They were sister-sister on the tennis and soccer teams but, because of her injury, Morgan’s fond hopes of sharing softball skills with her little sister — Maddie’s best sport — didn’t work out.
Those disappointments aside, the May sisters might not have played even one single sport — or attended one class — at Coast Union in the first place had it not been for school counselor Cheryl Seay.
In an interview with Michelle and Fred May, under a towering and very rare Dawn Redwood tree that shades the Linn’s Easy as Pie cafe patio on Bridge Street in East Village, Morgan’s parents recalled decisions they made after relocating from Orcutt five years ago.
The May family moved in part to give their children — including David, four years behind Maddie, and Jack, a toddler when they moved — a chance to live in a healthful community and yet attend a high school which challenged them academically and athletically.
The sports mentality in Orcutt was “almost toxic,” Michelle explained; that was one reason the family moved. Shortly after settling in Cambria, knowing little about CUHS, they went to the Coast Unified district office to explore getting a transfer so Morgan could perhaps enroll at Mission Prep.
A woman in the district office — Fred referred to her as “a smart woman” — suggested that before considering a transfer, the family should first visit CUHS, to “see what they had to offer,” Fred explained. So Morgan’s parents walked into the high school office to arrange an appointment with a counselor.
“‘No’, they said at the front desk, ‘she’s right here,’” Fred recalls. “Mrs. Seay was wonderful. She sat down with us for an hour and a half. I was real impressed with the curriculum. All she said about athletics was, ‘If your kids want to play, they’ll be on the team.’”
That was the clincher for the Mays. So Morgan started eighth grade at Santa Lucia Middle School and Maddie enrolled in Cambria Grammar School.
Michelle and Fred were determined to make sure their girls kept busy, including being in sports, getting good grades, and spending very little time in front of the television set. “We taught them to make commitments to sports and academics,” Michelle explained. “We wanted them to be so busy there wouldn’t be time for TV.”
Morgan had been playing on a traveling club soccer team for three years in Orcutt and, because she was so keen about soccer, she joined a Paso Robles traveling club. During her freshman and sophomore years at Coast, after tennis and softball practice sessions, her mother drove her to Paso Robles to practice with her club team.
Fred — who works at Diablo Canyon — noted that his schedule often conflicted with his daughter’s games and practices. But when he was able to be the driver, he reached a decision as to his daughter’s use of social media — in particular, texting. “’This is our time, this is the only time we have together, so put your phone away,’” he recalls telling Morgan in the car. “I know they didn’t see the importance of those small nuggets of time, but for me those little 10-minute drives here and 30-minute drives there, those were big.”
As for Morgan, she chose challenging herself in sports starting at age 6. With a lot of help from her dad — “He kind of pushed me, a lot … until I became self-motivating” — she became a high school sports luminary. She was named “Female Athlete of the Year” at CUHS her freshman year. Also, in 2009, she won awards in tennis (“Most Improved”) and soccer (Coach’s Award). In 2010, her sophomore year, she received Most Valuable Player awards in soccer and softball. In her junior year (2011) she received the Kim Kinney Award in softball and Coach’s Award in tennis.
Academically, she made the honor roll her first two years and her senior year at CUHS. Her plan after graduation is to complete her general education requirements at Cuesta and then transfer to a university to complete her nursing degree and become a registered nurse.
Her favorite quote from her father — posted on her bedroom wall — sums up Morgan’s approach to life: “Good, better, best, never should you rest, until your good is better than their best.”
That’s also poignant counsel for sister Maddie, and for brother David, who is showing talent playing for the Cambria Reds Little League Team in preparation for his opportunity with the Bronco baseball team in a few years.
And the beat goes on for the May family.