MACOMB, IL – When Western Illinois University graduates Harry Morris and Kerry Jamison Morris were members of the University’s track and field team in the 1980s, both dreamed of someday making it to the Olympics.
Harry, a 1982 graduate with a degree in geology, was a pole vaulter and decathlete at Western, and Kerry, a 1982 graduate with a degree in home economics education and a minor in physical education, was a sprinter and heptathalete.
This month, the couple will see their family Olympic dreams realized as their youngest daughter, Sandi, 24, leaves for Rio as a member of the women’s Olympic Track and Field Team.
Last month, Sandi competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR, and won a silver medal and the chance to represent Team USA in the pole vault. Sandi is leaving for Rio in two days to prepare for competition.
The women’s pole vault prelims are Tuesday, Aug. 16 and the finals are Friday, Aug. 19. Harry and Kerry will be in Rio to cheer their daughter on.
In high school, Sandi set her high school pole vault record, won two state of South Carolina pole vault titles and won the USA under 18 national championship. When Sandi entered high school, her mother, Kerry, became the head track and field coach at Greenville High School (GHS) and Harry coached Sandi and the other pole vaulters.
After high school, Sandi went on to become a four-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, where she also broke the NCAA collegiate indoor record (15 feet, one-inch) and the NCAA outdoor record (15 feet, six inches). After her graduation, Sandi became a professional pole vaulter for Nike.
In 2016, Sandi won the 2016 USA Indoor Championship in Portland, OR, with the third highest women’s vault ever recorded in the world at 16 feet, 2.75 inches.
“We have always been very proud of Sandi and her accomplishments, on and off the track,” said Kerry. “Through Sandi, I was able to fulfill my dream as a high school track coach and watch her grow into a great athlete. Now, we are on our way to the Rio Olympics as the quintessential fans. We could not be more proud.”
In addition to Sandi, the couple has two other children, Crissy, 30 and Jami, 27. The family lives in Greenville, SC.