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Catching Up with Morgan Johnson (’09)

MACON, Ga. – The First Presbyterian Day School Sports Information Office will be interviewing former Viking and Lady Viking athletes throughout the summer months as part of a “Catching Up With” series.

First up is Morgan Johnson (class of 2009), who just completed a standout career at Valdosta State University playing softball for the Lady Blazers that included winning the NCAA DII National Championship in 2012.

Earlier this week, Johnson was named the Gulf South Conference Conference Women’s Commissioner Trophy winner as the conference’s top female student-athlete. This marks the second consecutive year that Johnson has taken home the award. She is just the sixth student-athlete to win the honor in back-to-back years.

Johnson batted .374 with 67 hits in 2013, smashing 17 doubles and 12 home runs in her senior season. She finished the year with 49 RBI and scored 55 runs.

In the classroom, Johnson was equally as impressive, finishing her college career with a 3.69 GPA.

FPD Sports Information Director Chandler Lee conducted the interview, which can be read below.

CL: Morgan, congratulations on your award and a standout career. What does winning this award mean to you?

MJ: I was very honored that I could represent my school in this way. I was happy to be able to do it for the University and I was also very happy that I could put forth the effort that I have in the last four years and have it come to something that meant something to me.

CL: What was it like playing softball at a high level and competing for a national championship?

MJ: My first year I ever played in college we went to the national tournament, so starting out the expectations were really high because in the past our team had not gone to a national tournament. From then on out, those are my expectations – to go to the national tournament. When we didn’t go in my sophomore year, it was a disappointment. We came back my junior year and the whole team decided we wanted to make it back and win it all. We had gotten there my freshman year and had fallen short. We wanted to win a championship, which we did. This past year those goals were still set. We wanted to go back and defend it the best that we could even though the team was a little different.

CL: Take me through the at-bat you had to propel you into the national championship game.

MJ: The entire game we had gone scoreless and I had bunted my first at-bat and then walked on eight straight pitches my next two plate appearances. I had seen a bunch of pitches after my bunt, but they were all balls. It was the bottom of the seventh and we were batting as the home team. The first pitch the girl threw me was something that I liked. It was inside and a little bit lower. I made good contact with it and hit a home run over the left field fence and that ended up being the only run we needed. That was probably one of my favorite memories I have from playing softball.

CL: What was it like winning a national championship?

MJ: We had fallen short my freshman year, so it was the biggest goal at that point in my life. To be able to put it al together in the face of adversity was really special. We lost the first game of the tournament and were down in some of the other games leading up to the championship game. It was the biggest sense of accomplishment because we came together and accomplished our goal.

CL: What was it like playing softball with your sister, Fran (’11), who also graduated from FPD?

MJ: I can’t even describe it. I have played with her my entire life in almost everything. I didn’t know she was looking to play softball in college but when she did, it was something that was really special. We’ve played teams that have sisters on them, but it’s not common. And, the fact that she is as good as she is, to start, and play with me in the field was awesome. I’m just proud of her for how hard she worked to get where she was her freshman year to now.

CL: Talk about your time playing softball at FPD under head coach Jim Turner. That was a really big stepping stone for you playing at the next level.

MJ: That was so long ago! (laughs). He is definitely a good motivator when it comes to coaching you. I am very happy that I got to play for him and for the school. Playing for FPD definitely made me the player that I was going into college.

CL: What is your approach when you step into the batter’s box?

MJ: It’s different every time I step up. If I’m having a good day then, obviously, I will step in with more confidence. It varies every time because sometimes I will have to bunt or swing away, so it just depends on the situation.

CL: You are done playing softball at the collegiate level. What’s next for Morgan Johnson?

MJ: I am at the Coliseum in Macon for orientation. I graduated with a nursing degree in May and want to work in the cardiovascular operating room. I will get to work with my dad some. I’m looking forward to it!

CL: Morgan thanks for your time and we at FPD wish you the best in your future endeavors.

MJ: Thank you! I appreciate it.

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The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory as a member of the Georgia High School Association. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by visiting www.twitter.com/FPDVikingSports.