The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

June 15, 2014

Father-daughter bond fueled by competitive nature

FAIRMONT — Kelsey Morrone stood in front of her team, which had just been ousted from the state basketball tournament for the second straight season, and she gave them a speech.

She told them one simple thing: Don’t let it happen again.

The speech wasn’t for her own good, nor would it help her sleep better on the ride back to Fairmont from Charleston. But what it did was help her pass on the competitive nature that she brought to the team.

And that’s something she got from her dad.

See, the blood of a competitor lingers deep inside the Morrones’ blood, and it started in Kelsey at a young age.

During a C-Ball tournament in Shinnston as a child, a 7-year-old Kelsey and her team had lost to a team from Bridgeport, setting fuel to her competitive fire.

“I remember asking her if she wanted to get something to eat,” her dad, Mike, said. “She just said, ‘No, I want to go home.’ So I asked her why.”

Her response would let her father know that she would eventually grow up to be an athlete.

“‘I’d rather chew my arm off and eat it than lose to Bridgeport,’” he remembered her saying. “That’s what makes you smile as a dad. You know that that competitive drive is there.

“If you know our family, we’re very competitive. That’s just how we were brought up. She picks right up on that.”

Dating back to his own childhood, Mike can recall the competitive nature that was shared between he and his brothers and even his own father, who was a standout athlete at Rivesville High School.

“We were always out on the old East Fairmont High School football field playing some type of sport,” he said. “That competitiveness was passed on to us, and I think that was passed on to her.”

Mike isn’t lying when he says his side of the family is full of athletes. If you flip through the family album book — or just about any college media guide — you’ll find a Morrone who excelled in a sport.

There are two nephews, Sammy and Matt, who played football and baseball, respectively, for West Virginia University; two nieces who play golf at Marshall; Mike, who played baseball at Fairmont State; and countless others.

Now, Kelsey will add her name to the list after signing to play basketball at Potomac State University following this past basketball season, a basketball season that added even more tinder to the fire that is the Morrones’ desire to win.

While Kelsey finished her final season as a Polar Bear, Mike was starting his first season on the coaching staff at East Fairmont.

After a talk with his daughter, the two hashed out a plan that worked for both sides: Mike was able to see his daughter play every game, watching her games while scouting for the Bees, and Kelsey got to keep her competitive spirit alive.

“I was a little uneasy at first, but then I was like, oh, competition,” she said with a smirk.

As the two of them prepare to celebrate Father’s Day today, they’ll reminisce on their favorite memories.

Some memories have escaped their brains, but for the ones that remain stored in their lexicons, almost all of them share a common thread: sports.

“Basketball has always been our common bond. We’ve spent a lot of time out in the driveway shooting. When her mother and I divorced, that’s what we had,” Mike said. “We always had sports.”

Whether the memories be of the old days of Kelsey playing at East Dale and beating West Fairmont 31-22, with her scoring 28 of the team’s points, for a championship. Or a game against Barrackville when an undefeated team was winning by just one point at halftime and Kelsey received her first scolding during a break. If there’s a memory that the father-daughter duo can recall, there’s likely a sport involved.

From the time Kelsey was old enough to pick up a basketball until now, Mike has been instilling the competitive fires into his daughter’s athletic career, and neither of them would have it any other way.

“He taught me everything I know,” she said. “There were a lot of times we butted heads, but he pushed me harder than everybody else and it’s paid off in the long run.”

And even though Mike stepped across enemy lines this past season, he makes sure Kelsey has her No. 1 cheerleader in the stands.

“I still think she’s the best player in the gym. That’s me being her father,” he said. “I’m still her biggest fan when I walk in the gym.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

1
Text Only
Prep Sports
  • Jones uses his attitude to lead Polar Bears

    When you look around the football field come August, you’ll see plenty of new faces for the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears. But there will be at least one very familiar face.
    TJ Jones is one of just a handful of seniors on this year’s Fairmont Senior team, and he’s hoping to go out on top.

    July 24, 2014

  • Jones uses his attitude to lead Polar Bears

    When you look around the football field come August, you’ll see plenty of new faces for the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears. But there will be at least one very familiar face.

    July 23, 2014

  • Different stressors lead to multiple issues for athletes

    Juggling multiple things as a teenager is never an easy task and can be quite taxing on your body — mentally and physically.
    There are many psychological and sociological reasons why teens participate in multiple sports or why they choose to specialize in one particular sport.

    July 20, 2014

  • Question marks linger at RB position for Bees

    Players come and go but when they leave, question marks are left behind.
    That’s the case for the East Fairmont football team as August quickly approaches.
    Last year the Bees leaned on a core of running backs to strengthen both the passing and ground attacks, with backs like Scotty Shroyer and Ronnie Mills lining up at all different kinds of positions.

    July 19, 2014

  • Boddy handoff mw.jpg Boddy poised to make leap to feature back

    It takes a unique skillset to do what Malik Boddy does for the Fairmont Senior football team.
    The running back/defensive back/return specialist steps into a more called-upon roll this season for the Polar Bears.
    But before you look at this season’s workload, you must look back on his past roles.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • (MAIN) Taylor kicking-MW.jpg Buonamici hopes to follow in Knight's footsteps

    “I’ve got to end it on a make,” Taylor Buonamici said after the ball she kicked narrowly missed the uprights at Duvall-Rosier Field.
    She placed the football back onto the tee, sized up the yellow field goal posts, took a deep breath and began her trek.
    Three steps back, two steps to the right.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Redmond comfortable leading Huskies’ power running game

    Football is known by many to be the sport of traditions.
    For North Marion’s football team, that tradition is being a smashmouth, downhill, physical football team. And that starts with the players carrying the football.

    July 15, 2014

  • Balance key to preventing youth sports burnout

    Unless you’ve just won a NASCAR race, burning out is not a good thing.
    All too often it seems that athletes are being pushed to a highly competitive level at a younger age each and every year.
    Studies from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine have shown that an estimated 27 million youth in the United States between the ages of 6 and 18 play team sports; 60 million play at least one sport and 44 million play multiple sports.

    July 13, 2014

  • Bees’ OL poised to lead team in right direction

    Getting your team out of a funk can sometimes be a daunting task.
    For East Fairmont’s football team, it may seem that overcoming a 3-7 season could be a hard-fought battle. But don’t tell the offensive line that.
    “We just want to set a standard,” senior offensive lineman Jacob Brown said.

    July 12, 2014

  • One step closer to dream, Kesling signs with Garrett

    Getting where you want to be is a process. Fairmont Senior’s Johnny Kesling knows that.
    For Kesling, the next step in reaching the ranks of Division I baseball is to fine tune his skills.
    Kesling took that step Friday, signing to play baseball with Garrett County Community College, a junior college in Maryland.

    July 12, 2014

Featured Ads
Prep Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos