Morton will continue running career and carry on family tradition with Asbury program


John Henson

Ella Morton signed with Asbury University on Monday to continue her cross country and track career. Pictured with Morton at the signing ceremony are her parents, C.D. and Jennifer Morton, as well as Harlan coaches Anne Lindsey and Trevor Fitzpatrick and Asbury assistant coach Molly Halpin; not pictured: Harlan assistant coach Mike Pace.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

When choosing a college where she could continue her education, Harlan High School senior Ella Morton was already familiar with Asbury University since that was her father, Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton, went to school in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Still, she wanted to see for herself as she reviewed her options.
“I was definitely influenced by that,” said Morton of her father’s loyalty to his alma mater, “but I loved it on my own also. I loved the small environment, which is what I’m used to. I feel I can grow in my faith there, as well as grow as a runner.”
An honor student at Harlan, Morton earned an academic merit scholarship from Asbury.
Morton has been a leader for the Harlan cross country and track programs during her high school career, qualifying for the Class A state meet in cross country in each of the last two falls while also running the 1,600 meter and 800 meter races in the spring.
“As a runner, Ella has steadfast determination when it comes to competing,” said Harlan coach Trevor Fitzpatrick. “During the middle of the cross country season, Ella injured her ankle so badly that she had to be carried off of the track. During that moment, the easy thing to do would be throw in the towel and call it a season, but that’s not who Ella Morton is. The level of motivation to achieve her goal of qualifying for state remained as strong as ever, which she eventually did shortly after setting a new school cross country meet record. Ella has been an absolute pleasure both to coach and to get to know. Asbury is gaining an exceptional individual and athlete.”
Morton will also have a former teammate running with her at Asbury as Lucy Bryson, another former Harlan standout, is completing her freshman year. Bryson’s father and uncle, Stephen and John, were Asbury classmates of C.D. Morton. Former city schools superintendent David Johnson is also an Asbury graduate.
“We’re excited to have her,” said Asbury assistant coach Molly Halpin, who was in Harlan on Monday for Morton’s signing ceremony. “She brings another sweet personality to the team and she has a great heart and passion for running.”
“I’m elated that Ella has chosen to sign with Asbury,” Fitzpatrick said. “Back in the fall, when Ella would talk about the list of colleges she was considering, she would calmly and logically discuss all of them except for Asbury — her eyes lit up and she came to life when she talked about Asbury.”