There is often one defining moment in an athlete’s career. Whether it be one heroic game, an injury, or a backstory that sets them apart, what every sports cliché has taught us is that it is not the event that defines us, but how we handle it.
Morgan Jaycox: Marist college student, fashion merchandising major, attack on the women’s lacrosse team and athlete who used her obstacle to come back better and stronger. Jaycox recorded strong seasons both her freshman and sophomore seasons, but her junior season ended at 10 games after enduring a stress fracture in her shin. She was able to record 10 goals and nine assists before her season came to a close. With her solid contributions of eight goals and three assists in her first two seasons, she had high hopes for herself, her team, and a MAAC Championship going into her junior year.
“I was unable to complete the season, and I kind of thought last season was going to be my peak almost,” Jaycox said of the disappointment of not being able to finish out the season.
Unfortunately, Marist’s 2017 season ended in the MAAC semifinals with a loss to Fairfield University. However, Jaycox was looking nowhere but forward: her senior season. Watching your team play while injured on the sideline is difficult for most athletes, but Jaycox looked at what she missed out on as all the more reason to make following season count.
“Being on the sidelines to support my team was a big thing for me, but not being able to be on the field you feel a difference,” she said. “So this summer, I really worked pretty hard coming in here, and I felt very prepared this season. Just knowing the feeling that you feel when you can’t be on the field with your team that was kind of pushing me all summer to keep working harder.”
She went into the summer and into the preseason with a goal common to many of her teammates: to win the MAAC Championship. But for someone who missed the last part of her junior season, it means that much more. With one last shot to put winning a MAAC Championship on her resume, for Jaycox, and the rest of the seniors, every practice and every game means more than ever.
“Coming into this year I was like, ‘This is it, so leave nothing unfinished,” Jaycox said.
Using her shortened season to motivate her to work hard and come back stronger, Jaycox looks to help improve her team, just as much as herself. The close-knit dynamic of Marist Women’s Lacrosse is an aspect of the team that contributes to their success and has been a large part of Jaycox’s life at Marist over the past four years. It is also partly why coming back this season means that much more to her.
“We spend basically every single day together. We’re super close. It’s more of a family we say,” Jaycox said. “I’ve kind of grown with the classes I would say, and I’m really close with this group. Obviously, I’ve loved the ones that we’ve previously had, but I think we have something special here talent-wise and also personality-wise.”
With three games left in the regular season, Jaycox’s offseason work and motivation has shown impressive results. Leading the team with 47 points, she has been able to rack up 21 goals and 26 assists in 13 games. Her stats this season have soared high above previous seasons, showing a season and career high nine points and seven assists in Marist’s game versus Manhattan College in early April. With her success thus far this season, her focus remains on the upcoming MAAC Championship tournament.
“I’m looking for us to continue to play hard,” she said. “We just need to be consistent in our play and it’s there. It’s so important to come out and continuously be prepared for each of these games.”
It is not the disappointing aspects of life that define athletes, but how they handle them. In the midst of a record-breaking season, Jaycox turned her personal tragedy into triumph. With high hopes and determination for the postseason, she has the same focus of playing every game like it could be her last as a Red Fox, because this May, one game will be.