By Chris Metcalf
ROCHESTER – One of the area’s most versatile athletes is heading to NCAA Division I hockey at Clarkson University on a full scholarship.
Geneseo’s Morgan Walton will be playing women’s hockey next year for the Golden Knights, who compete in the ECAC, one of the six conferences that compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey.
Clarkson is located in Potsdam, NY.
Morgan transferred to Bishop Kearney following her freshman year at Geneseo Central.
She currently competes for the Bishop Kearney Select 19U squad, which competes in the nationally acclaimed USA 19U 19U Tier 1 League.
Morgan plays forward on the team, which consists of a mix of girls throughout the northeast.
Her team travels throughout the country including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, and Michigan.
They also play several games in Canada.
Her season culminates April 2-7, 2024 at the USA Hockey Nationals in Florida.
They are currently 13-3-1 on the season.
Playing at a D-I school has always been a goal for Morgan, a goal that has now been achieved.
“Going to a division one school, and playing the sport I love, is always something I dreamed of doing,” Morgan said. “I am super excited that Clarkson gets to be that school. It was a campus that I fell in love with when I got onto it and I knew it was the right place. It definitely is a place where I can achieve greater things.”
Morgan is the youngest of four Walton siblings and has always been around sports, including serving as a bat girl for the Twins/Devil Digs when her older brother Mitchell played catcher for the two-time Geneseo LL champs.
But it was hockey that stole her heart following in Mitch and other brother Michael’s footsteps.
“Growing up with my two older brothers and sister, we have always been a hockey family,” Morgan said. “Whether it was me running around the rink while Mitchell and Michael were at practice or it was me trying to skate with them and just watching them skate right by me. Those two really encouraged me to get into the game along with my dad. They first put me on skates when I was three years old at a free skate at the college. I had knee pads and a bike helmet on and didn’t let go of my dad once. Ever since then, I have always loved skating. I am very thankful to have the parents that I have because they have always been so supportive and sacrificed so much to see me achieve my goals and get to where I am today. I owe them all my success. When it comes to enjoying the sport what I like most about it is doing creative things and being able to have fun with my friends while doing so. You can come up with the most ridiculous plays and try things people have never done before because hockey is in a little bubble and you move so fast, making a mistake is easy to recover from. In the end, having all the fun in the world on the ice has led me to have friendships off the ice that will last a lifetime.”
Morgan admits, the transition from little Geneseo to Rochester, at first, was a tough one for her.
“Moving from Geneseo to Bishop Kearney was scary at first, leaving home in ninth grade, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was the first big decision I’ve made and it was to give up the life I had in Geneseo and basically start over with new relationships. It made me give up soccer which played a big part of my childhood and was a game that I loved almost as much as hockey and made me have to create long-distance relationships with the friends I’ve had since kindergarten. Not only did I have to create those friendships from a distance but I also had to leave my parents. As the youngest in the family, I always had people I could talk to, especially my mom and dad, and not having that during my first few weeks at school made me very homesick. After I had finally set in though, I have created a bond with all of my roommates and teammates where it is like I have a whole new family. Even though I still talk to my parents every day.”
A standout not only on the ice, Morgan is also a top student as well carrying a GPA of 98.5% and ranked in the top 10 of her class.
“My goal for being a student-athlete is to excel to the best of my abilities in both,” Morgan said. “At BK. I have developed a great skill of time management which I hope to continue using throughout my years at Clarkson. I succeed in the classroom because of my same work ethic as I do on the ice. I hope to come out of Clarkson with a great degree and be able to get a job right away.”
She will be leaving for Clarkson in the summer of 2025.
But first, she says her hockey team has a few goals they are chasing.
“To win a national championship,” Morgan said. “We are really connected this year and have great chemistry throughout the whole team. We all know what it takes to win and have a great culture with a bunch of kids who are always working hard. We all have the same goal really and we all know that we can push each other so that we can all improve. We have a type of culture that I know coaches dream of having. I think we will be a very successful team because of how unique we are.”
Morgan is a multi-sport athlete who also excels at softball for the Kings and was a two-time LCAA all-star soccer player for Geneseo as an eighth-grader and freshman.
In softball as a junior, Morgan batted .321 with a team-leading 22 RBIs including three triples. She posted an OBP of .380 and defensively she committed just one error all season at second base.
Impressively, Bishop Kearney was ranked in the NYS Large School rankings last year, despite having less than 100 girls in their entire 7-12 classes.
Morgan led Geneseo’s soccer program to a Section V title back in her freshman season.
In two years – her eighth and ninth grade years – she accumulated a team-best 31 goals and 12 assists and helped the Lady Devils finish 31-3-1 in that span.
“When it comes to being a multi-athlete sport, I have to say that I was very gifted with my balance,” Morgan said. “I believe having good balance makes a good athlete and I was born with it. Also, growing up I have always been a really competitive kid and anytime my siblings would have their friends over or they would go do a sport with their friends, I was always the annoying little sister that tagged along. I just was always playing sports and it helped shape me into the athlete I am today.”
And Clarkson University can’t wait!