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Morgan Parsons isn’t just adept at being adaptable. The 17-year-old John Hardin junior is versatile at being versatile.
When her students or athletes complain about not having enough hours in a day to get something done, Jenny Brown – who is a John Hardin teacher, third-year speech-debate team sponsor, third-year prom fashion show fundraiser coordinator and the second-year girls’ bowling coach – simply laughs and tells them to do themselves a favor and have a chat with Parsons.
“She is absolutely the definition of well-rounded,” Brown said. “What’s most impressive about that is she doesn’t sacrifice her social life. She doesn’t sacrifice her family – she has a very supportive family. And she still has a 4.0 GPA and is in the top 10 percent of her class. When you meet her and look at her, she’s just a happy girl. You would think somebody with all of that on their plate would have more of an intense personality, but she just takes it all in stride. And one thing that she doesn’t give up is her eight or 10 hours of sleep at night. She just refuses to do that. And she has a part-time job.
“It’s phenomenal,” she added. “I have the utmost respect for the fact that she can do all of that and she does it well. It’s not like she’s just there. She’s a contender and a top competitor.”
In the summer and fall, Parsons is a reserve outside hitter for the Lady Bulldogs’ volleyball team.
In the winter, Parsons is one of the Lady Bulldogs’ top bowlers, competes in two events on the speech-debate team (she’s a co-captain and has competed at the state meet the last two years) and is a featured model in the school’s prom fashion show fundraiser.
In the spring, Parsons plays doubles on the Lady Bulldogs’ tennis team.
When she’s not doing all of that, Parsons is a 4.0 student with a 27 ACT score who hopes to attend the University of Louisville. Who also happens to work between eight and 15 hours a week at the Dixie Highway Wendy’s in Elizabethtown.
“I think it’s just because I like it so much, so it’s easy for me to coordinate it all,” Parsons said Wednesday afternoon during a break in practice at Dix-E-Town Lanes in preparation for the 2nd Region Bowling Tournament, which will be held at Dix-E-Town today (individuals) and Saturday (teams).
Parsons had success last year, winning the inaugural Hardin County Tournament of Champions girls’ individual title with a three-game total of 492 and teaming with Lucas Ward to win the mixed coed title with a two-game total of 331.
Making the day even better is the fact that Parsons harbored no intentions of winning anything. She was more concerned about modeling than bowling.
“It was very shocking, actually,” Parsons recalled. “When I went in, I was really thinking about the fashion show that night. I was like, ‘I just got my spray tan. I’m freshly showered. I’m good to go.’ But then I just felt it (bowling).”
Parsons will be back on the runway at 6 p.m. Feb. 16 in the John Hardin show in the school’s commons area.
“My favorite thing to watch Morgan do is model. She is a regular on the catwalk,” Brown said. “She brings her own brand of swagger to the runway along with that winning smile.”
Before she can turn her full attention back to modeling however, she’s got bowling tournaments to focus on. After finishing third in the girls’ individual portion of Monday’s Hardin County Tournament of Champions, Parsons could be facing several individual games today. Competitors are guaranteed three qualifying games before the top eight scores from the seven schools – Central Hardin, Green County, John Hardin, Nelson County, North Hardin, Taylor County and Thomas Nelson – qualify for a two-game bowl off.
The top four players with the highest scores through five games advance to the three-match stepladder, with the No. 4 and No. 3 qualifiers facing off in Match 1. The winner plays the No. 2 seed in Match 2, with the survivor of those two matches facing the No. 1 seed in Match 3 for the title.
In last year’s tournament final in Campbellsville, Central Hardin’s Keri Johnson beat Taylor County’s Megan Hedgespeth. Hedgespeth, who went on to finish as the state tournament runner-up in Louisville, is one of the favorites to win today’s region title.
“I’m nervous, but I think we’re ready,” Parsons said of the Lady Bulldogs, who are also led by senior Karen Ledford and sophomore Hannah Caudill. Ledford won the Tournament of Champions girls’ individual title, while Caudill was the runner-up. “I think we’ve come together as a team and we’re starting to get it all together.”
Parsons said competing on the school’s team has changed her preconceived notions when bowling with friends on weekends.
“Mental might be more than skill – it is more than skill,” she said. “You have to keep your head straight and you have to know what you’re doing. You have to hit your mark and you have to be almost robotic.”
Parsons’ season will end this weekend or two weeks from now in the second Ebonite/KHSAA State Bowling Tournament at Executive Strike and Spare in Louisville.
Then it’s onto modeling, tennis, speech, work and keeping her grades up.
Having been a coach or sponsor to Parsons in so many areas, Brown said the school is fortunate to have someone as well-rounded as Parsons.
“She’s valuable to her teams,” Brown said. “As far as John Hardin High School goes, she just makes us look good.”
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or email@example.com.