Haws makes mark on BYU cross country team

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Senior Morgan Haws has led the BYU women’s cross country team during her only season running at BYU.

Haws began her collegiate career at Weber State and ran cross country for the school for three years. During her time there, Haws was the second-best runner on the team and consistently improved through each season.

After three seasons, Haws decided to serve a mission and, upon returning, knew she needed to transfer to BYU.

“I loved it at Weber,” Haws said. “When I got back from my mission I was planning on going back to Weber, but then I got the strong feeling I needed to come to BYU so I did.”

Haws transferred to BYU in January 2011 and immediately competed in indoor and outdoor track to help get her in shape for cross country. During the track season, Haws won the 5,000-meter Mountain West Conference indoor title and was named to the All-America Second Team for the outdoor season.

Haws said she enjoys all that BYU offers.

“I love the team and I love the coaches,” Haws said. “I really like the atmosphere here. It’s a really great atmosphere for school and for running.”

Although Haws is a standout athlete for BYU, she has not taken the typical route to becoming a collegiate level runner. In high school, Haws did not run cross country and only did track her senior year because her little sister convinced her to.

“When my little sister was a freshman, she tried to convince me to go out for the track team with her,” Haws said. “I didn’t want to but she kept having so much fun that I finally decided to try it out and see if I liked it. I really liked it so here I am now.”

During this season, Haws has lead the Cougars in the team in the five invitationals she has competed in. Haws placed second overall at the Griak Invitational and Notre Dame Invitational, fifth at the Wisconsin Invitational and third at the West Coast Conference championship. On Saturday, she had her greatest achievement yet, placing second in the NCAA Mountain Region Championships. The team finished fourth and earned an at-large spot in the national championship race next Monday.

BYU coach Patrick Shane believes Morgan is one of the best runners in the country and contributes to the team in a large way.

“Morgan is having a breakthrough year right now,” Shane said. “She is in my opinion a top 10 national individual runner and could be a top five, which really helps our team especially in large national races.”

Shane is particularly impressed with the strong willpower Haws brings to the sport.

“Morgan has some very special qualities,” Shane said. “She is very determined and is absolutely steadfast in what she wants to accomplish. She is willing to pay the price to do what she wants and puts herself in the position to do her best.”

Haws is also known for her nice personality and her competitiveness.

“She’s a pleasant young lady and does whatever she is asked to do,” Shane said. “But underneath that pleasant demeanor is a fierce competitor that is willing to go out and lay it on the line and challenge herself against the very best.”

Even though Haws will only be on the BYU cross country team for this season, Shane is happy he has had the opportunity to coach her.

“I am thrilled to have her on the team this year to set the example by her actions and behavior,” Shane said. “Her approach to cross country is really paying off this year and I couldn’t be happier.”

Haws has continued to improve this season and is excited to see how the rest of this season goes.

“This is my best season,” Haws said. “I have just gotten better and better with every race I run. It will be interesting to see how this year ends.”

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