This Maryland high school player profiles series is presented by the U.S. Army.
Morgan Vandergrift, a junior on the Hereford High School wrestling team, was nominated for the Maryland high school player profiles series by Bulls assistant coach Brett Baier.
“Morgan was our captain last year as a 10th-grader because of his hard work, dedication and leadership abilities,” Baier said. “This year, he was [going] to be one of our co-captains. And although Baltimore County Public Schools put the brakes on the winter sports season, Morgan has still been going to practices at Champions That Wrestle [in Westminster, Md.,] and making the most of his opportunities to compete by going to events like the Maryland Junior Wrestling League in December.”
In 2020, Vandergrift finished fourth in the state in the 120-pound weight class at the MPSSAA Class 1A/2A championships, won a Baltimore County title and was a regional finalist. At that MJWL Winter Series event in December, Vandergrift finished in second place in the 132-pound weight class.
Vandergrift also plays left back for the Hereford boys’ soccer team. He answered a few questions about being nominated.
PressBox: What does it mean for you to be recognized by your coach like this?
Morgan Vandergrift: It’s [an honor] to be picked out of all the kids from our team – and I guess from school, because [Baier] is also a JV soccer coach.
PB: How did you get into wrestling, what do you love about the sport, and how did you become as good as you’ve become?
MV: I’ve been wrestling a little while. I’ve been wrestling since I was 5, so probably about 13 years or so. It’s a lot of hard work that I have to put into this sport. I do it year-round. I do extra stuff during the offseason. Right now I’m on a club team since we’re not able to do stuff in the high school room. And I do extra runs when we’re not in practice and stuff like that — just trying to get myself above the average wrestler.
PB: What’s been your favorite moment from your high school wrestling career so far?
MV: So one day we had this practice, and my coach told me that I wasn’t moving fast enough on bottom. And we had one of our college kids in there. And he told me to hold him down in front of the whole team. And so basically I held him down for a decent little bit. And he’s like, ‘All right Morgan, he got out on you. Now let’s see you get out on him.’ He thought I wouldn’t have gotten out. And I got out. Basically, proved him [wrong].
PB: Sports-wise, how have you handled the pandemic? What have you been doing to stay busy?
MV: It’s been pretty rough. Like I said before, I’m on a club team right now so I’ve been using that to stay busy, and I’ve been going to tournaments on the weekends. I also like to go on runs and do stuff at home, anything cardio-wise to make sure I stay in shape for the wrestling season, which is probably not going to happen this year but you never know.
PB: What are your goals for the rest of your high school career, and do you have any plans for after HS?
MV: I’m thinking about going to college and maybe doing some wrestling. And for the rest of my high school, I’d like to win a state championship for high school wrestling. That would be a big accomplishment. And it’d look really good for colleges.
To nominate an athlete or team for a future U.S. Army Player/Team Profile, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Impact.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Brett Baier