Alyson Morse is one of the top sprint kayaking racers in the nation. As part of the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team, she was a national champion in two events and competed at junior world championships.
She has a busy training and racing schedule that takes her to other areas of the country. “I’ve been blessed with a mental attitude to push myself hard,” she said.
Morse got into kayaking when she attended a summer camp with her younger brother. She loved it and stuck with the sport. She trains year-round, even in tough weather conditions.
In addition to water training, she trains on dry land and on some days does both. During the peak season, that’s an average of five hours a day, and as many as seven hours during double-training days.
This year, Morse is once again working toward the goal of going to the junior world championship. She’ll be participating in various trials and training camps in Oklahoma City or Lake Placid, New York.
While kayaking is a major focus, Morse also has a weekend job and is active with a youth group. She is a mentor in training. She is active with the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
To keep up with all her commitments and maintain an excellent GPA, Morse said she has to give up social time and other extras. “It’s a delicate balance,” she said, adding that she learned self-discipline when she attended online school.
“Alyson takes the same work ethic everywhere she goes,” said her English teacher, Lynda Richards. “No matter what Alyson is doing, she does it with full effort and attention to detail.”
Morse credits her faith and work ethic for her success. She acknowledges her schedule can get overwhelming so learning time-management was important.
“My proudest part is growing into a more independent and mature person,” she said. “It’s because of my kayaking, my youth group and my job.”
She plans to attend Oklahoma City University and be part of the sprint kayaking program. The university has a world-class training facility including a man-made canal for the sport. Her goal is to study kinesiology or exercise science and work with Olympic athletes.
“I’ve gone to different Olympic training centers in the summer and got to meet many trainers,” she said. “It’s a really cool job.”
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parents: Craig and Sarah Morse
Activities/achievements: sprint kayaking national champion (1,000m bantom and 500m junior), Olympic Hopefuls Regatta, international regatta champion, ranked No. 1 nationally for juniors; equestrian competition Mason County champion, state qualifier, Leadershow high point trophy; National Honor Society; Arbor Day photography contest winner.
Favorite teacher: Lynda Richards, English, “because she will never give up on her students. She has fun, yet still keeps her classes efficient and on task. I have not only learned academically in her class, I have learned life skills.”
Best thing about high school: “No matter if I am feeling well or not, coming to school, being around the staff and other students, my day becomes better.”