Lansdowne High's Morgan Thayer, right, played basketball in the winter and softball in the spring. The 2017 Arbutus Times Female Athlete of the Year was a cheerleader in the fall.
Lansdowne High's Morgan Thayer, right, played basketball in the winter and softball in the spring. The 2017 Arbutus Times Female Athlete of the Year was a cheerleader in the fall. (File photo)

For each of her 12 seasons at Lansdowne High, Morgan Thayer was involved in sports and she contributed in vastly different ways.

The 2017 Arbutus Times Female Athlete of the Year was a key contributor in the outfield and in the middle of the batting order during softball season.

In the winter, she sometimes went unnoticed on the stat sheet, but her ability to do the little things on the court helped the team perform better.

During the fall, she supported other Vikings teams, while competing as a cheerleader.

"We make sure that you know we are there," Lansdowne cheerleading coach Katelyn Tobias said.

Thayer was a cheerleading captain during her junior and senior seasons and Tobias admired her ability to lead.

"She was very outgoing in her own way," Tobias said. "She really pushes to get that next skill and will push her teammates, but she is not loud."

Thayer started cheering for the Arbutus Golden Eagles football team at age 5 and her vast experience helped her mold the younger cheerleaders at Lansdowne.

"She was great with my underclassmen that I would pull up from JV," Tobias said. "She always welcomed the new cheerleaders under her wing. She helped them out in practice or out of practice. She was really great."

Despite only cheering for one season each year, Thayer was a key component.

"She was an all-star and she was one of my best tumblers, which many people were surprised, when they look at her play softball and basketball, they don't expect to see her with her tumbling skills," Tobias said.

Thayer's flipping skills surfaced when she was young.

"As a kid I always knew I wanted to do a back handspring and when I cheered for the Arbutus Eagles I got my back handspring and then from there I just pushed myself and kept trying and kept trying for higher skills," Thayer said.

The 5-foot-5 athlete was also key to the team's pyramids.

"She was also one of my strongest bases," Tobias said. "Cheerleading is very athletic and her being in such good shape from multiple sports made her an even greater asset to our stunting and our pyramids."

Thayer understood the value of working as a unit while cheering.

"You have to work together as a team and you end up being one big family and it's amazing," she said.

Morgan Thayer reaches for a ball during a game during the spring. Thayer moved from second base to outfield for the 13-5 Vikings.
Morgan Thayer reaches for a ball during a game during the spring. Thayer moved from second base to outfield for the 13-5 Vikings. (File photo)



Her assets on the basketball court with the 8-12 Vikings were delivered in subtle ways.

"She did all the things, like setting amazing screens, and she was just so athletic she would out-jump people to get rebounds," Lansdowne basketball coach Nick Welsh said.

Her ability to distribute was also one of her strengths.

"She was very unselfish and made sure everyone got shots," Welsh said. "She was definitely a player who makes a big impact, but not necessarily on the stat sheet."

"I was never a big scorer. When I was a kid I was always afraid to shoot," Thayer said. "I always just liked running and I'm fast so I would always get back on defense."

When she wasn't making players better on the court, Thayer was doing that off of it.

"Some of my fondest memories of her was helping girls with their homework while we were sitting in the stands," Welsh recalled. "She was always very nice, very welcoming and all about the team aspect. She was wonderful person to have on the team."

"I always helped them with their homework," Thayer said.

Meanwhile, she made more and more progress on the basketball court and learned to appreciate the sport even more.

"This year in basketball, I really broke out of my shell and I was driving to the basket more and I was more aggressive and I just felt really comfortable on the court," Thayer said. "It made me really love the sport even more and it was actually a hard decision whether to play basketball or softball in college."

Thayer will play softball next season for Albright College after batting .294 with a .600 on base percentage for Lansdowne during the spring.

Her bubbly personality was another asset for softball coach Ken Goodman.

"She was always up on the softball team, good personality, very happy all the time," he said. "She would do anything you asked, no complaints. It's hard to lose that type of personality. You always look for those to bring the team up."

Thayer batted third or fifth in the batting order during her senior year and she drove in 12 runs for the 13-5 Vikings.

"We moved her down to fifth just to spread the bats around," Goodman said. "We were really thin offensively this year."

Thayer was second on the team in runs scored (23) and she belted one home run.

Defensively, she was invaluable.

After starting at second baseman as a junior, and beginning this year there, Thayer moved to right field.

"The first half of the season, I had her at second base and she didn't do a bad job there, she did very well for me," Goodman said. "But the need was in the outfield and I knew she was fast and had a really good arm. She did a fabulous job for me in the outfield."

Because junior ace pitcher Jordyn Goodman, the coach's daughter, is a pitcher with a lot of velocity, Thayer stayed in right field.

"With Jordyn pitching, most of the batters are right-handed, and when they make contact, it's going to be to the right side, so I moved her to where I thought she would get the most action," Goodman said.

"I went out there [outfield] and I fell in love with it," Thayer said.

At Albright College, Thayer plans to major in biology and minor in accounting.

"I'm hoping to become a doctor," she said.

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