Thursday January 17, 2013Morgan Frazier: Quickly getting adapted to college life
by Jimena Panduro, UF Communications
Riding a rollercoaster takes courage. A rush of adrenaline kicks in. Consequently, so does the fear. It will be fast, unexpected and nerve-wracking but the result will be a thrilling experience. A similar description can be given for the sport of gymnastics, and for Florida freshman Morgan Frazier, it is all about the thrill.
As a fourth grader, given the option between soccer and gymnastics, Morgan decided to hang the cleats for good and chose gymnastics as the sport she wanted to pursue. She says it was not a matter of being better at it but instead she just liked it more. Gymnastics is a sport full of grace, beauty and technicality, yet for young Morgan it was the more challenging, yet exhilarating part of gymnastics that drew her in: tumbling.
Not many kids choose to contort their bodies in unique and challenging ways or choose to do high-risk, high-flying routines, yet this fearlessness is precisely what defines Morgan and what drew her into the sport.
“I liked doing things other kids my age couldn’t do” she says.
Morgan is one of four incoming freshmen this season, and she is also the youngest member on the squad. Being 17 and having graduated high school in December so she could enroll at UF this spring, college has been a big change for her.
“It’s definitely not like high school. First day was a little overwhelming with all the people and I’m on a bike so I’m trying not to hit anybody. But it’s been pretty good and I’m finding my way around.”
When it comes to her team however, she already feels right at home. In a squad full of veterans and All-American gymnasts, she provides a youth and vivacity with her big smile and her eagerness to train with one of the best teams in the nation. In return, they provide her with the comfort, support, and motivation to keep on getting better.
“They’ve been very helpful, especially my first week. They’re always encouraging me and telling me ‘you’re doing so well, we’re so proud of you!’, and that’s always a nice confidence booster,” Frazier comments.
A native of the Orlando area, Morgan has dreamed of being a Gator since she was little. She remembers how her club coach would organize bus trips to watch Gator teams perform in front of the O’Connell Center crowd. This motivated her to keep on working hard with the hopes of one day being on the floor herself representing the orange and blue.
Frazier is yet another Orlando Metro alum; a club that throughout the years has produced many Gator gymnasts, including All-Americans Amanda Castillo and Melanie Sinclair. She says this definitely helped fire her inspiration and keep her goals within reach since she was able to watch the gymnasts she grew up training with putting on a show for enthusiastic Florida crowds.
“Just to see my fellow teammates and girls that I knew on the team was awesome. And all these little girls looked up to them and I wanted to be just like them. I always liked coming to see Amanda and Melanie perform.”
Although Morgan has competed at regional and national championship level meets for years, including the 2012 Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships, where she tied for eighth in the Senior B Championships floor exercise, it was that first encounter with the fans at the very first home meet as a Gator that she was most looking forward to.
Was it everything she expected it to be?
“WOW. There’s no feeling quite like that - especially running out of the Gator head for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect. I was so anxious and overwhelmed but it was amazing and the fans were so cool. It was a rush of energy.”
As she embarks on her journey as a Gator, Morgan hopes to become an All-American and Academic All-American gymnast while upholding the winning tradition of the program and capturing SEC and NCAA team titles during her years at Florida.
With a promising future ahead and her love for thrilling moments, Morgan Frazier’s career is shaping up to be one wild and exciting ride.