Tyler Morgan, a Windom Area High School athlete, competed in the Minnesota State High School Track and Field Tournament, June 5, winning the title of Minnesota State High School Shot Put Champion, throwing his all-time best shot put, at 52 feet and 10.5 inches. He also competed in discus throwing, where he took 5th place.
But Morgan’s desire to do great things did not end there. He has chosen to become a United States Marine.
“I've wanted to be a Marine since I was about three years old,” said Morgan. “When I was six, I got off of Santa’s lap at the mall in Mankato and tried to enlist. The recruiter told me to come back in 11 years and that's just what I did. I debated playing football or maybe throwing for track in college. I had some really tempting offers but in the end, (some) things are more worth doing with your life. I decided that the Marines was not only what I've always wanted to do, it feels right. It feels like what I was born to do almost. It just fits me and how much I like to have structure and to be part of something greater than myself. Plus, I like being a team player.”
And as it turns out, Morgan’s desire to work in a team is just what his Marine recruiter thinks is going to be one of the keys to his future success as a United States Marine.
“I think that Tyler will make an outstanding Marine,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Lindsey, Morgan’s recruiter. “He's had the desire to become a Marine since he was young and he's never really wavered from that. In addition, he's well-rounded – a team player, heavily involved in athletics and student leadership, active in his community, and academically strong. He's a positive influence on the peers around him, and his teachers, coaches, and influencers speak very highly of him. If he works hard as a Marine and continues to strive for excellence, I think he'll do very well.”
Morgan also played high school basketball, football and ran sprints for his school’s track team.
“I believe my high school athletic career will benefit me in many ways,” said Morgan. “For one, high school athletics has taught me a great deal about work ethic and determination. Those traits can help anywhere in life. And being active, fit, and in shape is going to help (in Marine training). I've put a lot of work into staying active and working out, trying to be the best I can. I feel this will benefit me as I move forward into the Marines.”
One more aspect of high school athletics that has parallels in the Marine Corps is the emphasis on competition.
“Tyler will need every ounce of his competitiveness as a Marine,” said Lindsey. “He’ll have to prove that he has what it takes. His athletic ability, resilience, and mental abilities are going to be tested and pushed every step of the way. I have faith in him, though.”
After he made his decision to become a Marine, Morgan made a weekly trip to the Marine Corps recruiting office in Mankato, Minnesota, in order to conduct training with the Marines there. This trip, over 70 miles for Morgan, usually culminated with physical fitness sessions led by local Marines.
“The Marine Corps is the best breeding ground for people who want to be successful and surrounded by people who want success out of life, as well as enjoy a physically active life,” said Lindsey. “As Marines, we strive to be physically, mentally, and morally fit.”
Morgan graduates from high school this summer, and after a few short months of preparation, will enter into Marine Corps recruit training in early September.
“If I could say anything to high school athletes it would be this. Take every practice and every workout seriously,” said Morgan. “And also, weigh out all of your options before you decide what you want to do after high school. Weigh out all of your options and be informed on every path available before choosing what to do with your next phase in life.”