NCHSAA announces Female Athlete of the Year for 2019-2020

CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is pleased to announce the winner of the Female Athlete of the Year for the 2019-2020 School Year. The award is in its 35th year and winners receive the Pat Best Memorial Trophy.

This year’s Female Athlete of the Year is Morgan Smalls from Panther Creek. The winner, finalists and semifinalists were chosen from nominations received from coaches, media and school administrators.

Morgan Smalls – Panther Creek High School

Morgan Smalls is an elite level track and field athlete, leading the Panther Creek women’s track teams to a pair of NCHSAA Outdoor state championships as well as an Indoor state title in 2020. Smalls was the 4A State Indoor Meet MVP for the second year in a row, winning the Long Jump, Triple Jump and High Jump events for the second straight year. She has the NCHSAA State record in all three indoor jumping events and the outdoor high jump.  Smalls has won 13 individual state championships and three State Meet MVP awards during her career, cut short by the spring season’s COVID-19 cancelation. 

She was the first female athlete to clear 6’0” in the high jump at an NCHSAA State Championship meet, clearing 6’0.25” at the 2018 4A Outdoor Meet before clearing 6’1” at the 2019 4A Indoor Meet. Outside of NCHSAA competition, Smalls has continued her impressive performances. Morgan is also a 6-time New Balance All-American and won the indoor and outdoor New Balance Nationals Championship last year.  She represented Team USA at the 2019 Pan-American Games in Lima Peru, placing 10th in the high jump. Morgan will attend the University of Southern California to continue her academic and athletic career.