by Andrew Stark
Morgan Brigman was recently named Independence High School’s Girls Student-Athlete of the Year after helping to lead the Patriots’ girls soccer team’s resurgence. Brigman, a Winthrop University signee, excels on the field, maintains a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the Patriots’ D.R.E.A.M team.
Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly recently caught up with Brigman to discuss the 2012 season and see what lies ahead.
Q: The Patriots increased their win total from last year (from five to eight). What made you a better team this year?
A: Overall, this team wanted it more. Before the season started, we went in coach (Abbie) Allison’s room and determined our main goal was to win the conference but that we knew that would be tough. One of our other goals was to improve our record, and everybody was on the same page so we were able to increase our wins. We come out here and work hard every day, so obviously we wanted to get better and have that hard work pay off.
Q: You guys just missed the playoffs. How disappointing was that for you and the other seniors?
A: It was disappointing. We played on a Friday and didn’t find out until Sunday that we didn’t make it. It was a nail-biter, but it was disappointing, for sure. It is my senior year, and it would have been cool to go to the playoffs, but it is not the end of my soccer career.
Q: You changed positions from center defender to an attacking center midfielder. How tough of a transition was that?
A: I played every position this year. At first it was hard and I was like, ‘What do I do, Coach Allison?’ Of course she helped me. It turned out to be really fun because I like to switch it up and try to score some, too. You can ask anyone on the team, and they would say that I had to play defense, but I kept wanting to push to go (up field) a little bit more. I liked having chances to score.
Q: You are a three-time letterwinner in soccer. Your first was as a sophomore, helping Butler win its first conference championship. How hard of an adjustment was it to switch schools and soccer programs?
A: It was hard at first. That first summer, I was depressed because I was going to have to leave all of my friends and it would be hard to make new friends. Of course, I worried about the soccer aspect because (the Patriots) were not that good and I wanted to play and be at least decent. But I came here and I had an open mind, and now I love it.
Q: You and the other seniors have helped build up the Independence soccer program. What does that mean to be a part of that?
A: It means a lot because it shows that me and the other seniors have stepped up and helped to make the soccer program known. We are good in football and softball, but once we picked up some (soccer) wins, people started coming to the games, so it was exciting being a part of that.
Q: What did it mean to you to beat Butler?
A: It was exciting because we thought it may have been our last game. I scored, which made it more exciting, but everyone was excited and we celebrated after the game.
Q: Coach Allison said that was the first time Independence had ever beaten Butler in soccer.
A: Oh, I didn’t know that. Well, I want to go celebrate again right now!
Q: You are playing soccer at Winthrop next year. What are you doing to get ready for soccer and college, in general?
A: For soccer, I have been working out a lot. I just got a gym membership, and the Winthrop coaches gave us a summer workout packet, so I am running and sweating a lot. For school, I am trying to figure out what I want to major in and adjust to being away from home. I am also working at Harris Teeter to get some spending money.
Q: What are some things you are considering majoring in?
A: I considered physical therapy at first but am not sure I want to go to school extra after I have already done four years. I was considering that but also maybe want to be a teacher. Winthrop has a really good teaching program, and I love kids and baby-sit all the time, so maybe teaching kindergarten.
Q: You are a member of the D.R.E.A.M team and you just finished your big end-of-year project. How did that go?
A: It went really well. We had pledges who signed on to “rise against bullying” which was the theme. We got a plaque and attached each one of the pledge’s name to a balloon, which Chik-fil-A sponsored. They filled the balloons with helium and we released them after everyone pledged to rise up against bullying. It was really cool.
Q: It is quite a commitment being on the D.R.E.A.M team. How important is it to you?
A: D.R.E.A.M team is so important to me – I love it. My freshman year at Butler I saw people walking around in D.R.E.A.M team uniforms, and I didn’t know what it was. Right when I found out what it was, I knew I wanted to do it. I stayed committed in high school not to drink or smoke. Last year, I was so nervous to try out but was so excited when I found out I had made it. It is a big commitment and it means a lot.
Q: You were named the 2011-12 Girls Student-Athlete of the Year at Independence. That is a really big honor.
A: It was very exciting. At the senior awards banquet, I got my award for the most athletic girl. I am girly, but I want to be athletic at the same time. So to be the most athletic girl at a big school like this, I was really honored.
Q: Your grade point average is pretty high. How important is that to you to have a good balance of school and athletics?
A: I have always been taught that education is what is going to carry me. I have soccer, but what if I (get hurt)? Soccer could be over, and then I would just have my academics to fall back on. Soccer played a part, but academics are what got me into college. If I didn’t have the grades, I couldn’t play soccer. I know I will be rewarded if I do my best.
Q: What drew you to Winthrop?
A: There are a lot of schools out there, but I visited (Winthrop), met the team and went to summer camp and just fell in love with it. My mom (Paula Floyd) went there, and everyone is so nice and the atmosphere is small. And, of course, it is close to home and I’m a mama’s girl, so it made sense.
Q: You only have a few days of high school left, what are your thoughts on moving on to college?
A: It is bittersweet. I am ready for high school to be over, but I am not sure I am ready to go off to college just yet. I am going to enjoy the summer. People say I am going to look back on high school and miss it, but not right now. I am ready to move on.
Q: Looking back on your high school soccer career, how do you think your career went?
A: Overall, I think I had a good career. There are some games I wish I could go back to, but overall I think I did well and stayed committed. I had a lot of fun with my teammates, and I have a lot of memories that I try to keep in my head and take pictures of. It has been really fun being on a team and making great friendships, so I am thankful for that.