Leah Moran can’t say one way or another if her jumping career at Indiana University is through.
The Stillwater native and Academy of Holy Names graduate was among the thousands of seniors who had their spring sports seasons eliminated when colleges nationwide called everything off last month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’d love to come back, but a lot of things have to fall into place,” Moran said.
Athletically, everything fell in place for Moran at the Feb. 28-29 Big 10 indoor championship meet, when she won the long jump with her best performance ever and placed second in the triple jump. Not long after, the 21-year-old community health major with a minor in gerontology knew there would be no spring season, and no chance to add to her large list of jumping accomplishments that includes four outdoor state high school titles.
“My feeling, at first, I was kind of in shock. I didn’t think it was real,” said Moran, who is on course to graduate in May. “At that point I told my coach I didn’t want to end my senior year like this. This is not the way I had it pictured. I’ve been competing since I can’t remember, and it’s been such a big part of my life. I want to have my last season knowing it’s my last season.”
Moran just might get that.
On Monday the NCAA Division I Council announced that it had voted to grant all athletes who participate in a spring sport an additional year of eligibility. Moran was competing this school year on an 80 percent athletic scholarship and a 20 percent academic scholarship. She said there are a multitude of questions that need to be answered before she determines what her future holds.
“It was a waiting game to see what the NCAA decides. Then we hear that they are allowing schools to give scholarship money, but is it the same or less? What kind of money does IU have to give out?” Moran asked.
Moran is getting married in October and said she would like to skip the first semester of the 2020-21 school year in order to plan and prepare for her special day.
“It’s going to be a busy time for me. I don’t want to have to worry about a test,” Moran said. “I’ll have to see if that is an option because I would like to come back.”
Moran holds the Indiana indoor and outdoor triple jump records, and that Big 10 title she won in late February was her first.
“Over time I have been able to process everything a little more,” Moran said. “If that was my last meet, I can say I accomplished so much, and it’s been an exciting four years. I have a lot of good things I can look back at.”
Moran has two sisters, sophomore Kelly and freshman Kara, who are members of the Stillwater track and field team. They helped Stillwater win the team title at the Section II Division IV indoor championships in mid-February when Kelly placed first in the long jump and 300-meter dash, and Kara contributed to a first-place 4×200 relay and finished second in the triple jump.
“I’ve got two sisters coming up,” Leah Moran said. “If my track career is coming to end, I’m so excited to watch both of them and see what they can do.”