Even as she completed a successful junior season in cross country and track, Morgan Schuetz knew something was wrong.

“There were times when everything was fine,” Schuetz said. “Then there were other times I’d run a 200 sprint and have trouble breathing normally.

“People would tell me it was OK, but I didn’t believe that. Here I am a distance runner, and I’d have trouble breathing after 200 meters. It didn’t make sense.”

After trips to several doctors, the Parkview Baptist senior finally got a diagnosis - asthma.

Schuetz could finally give her problem a name. This fall season has been about learning to train and compete with asthma.

“I understand now that there are going to be days when I feel great and other days when I don’t,” Schuetz said. “Days when it’s really humid are tough for me. That’s why I like the way the weather is right now. It’s perfect ? not a lot of humidity.”

Schuetz and other runners in the Baton Rouge area now have their sights set on next week’s Metro Meet at Highland Road Park and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Cross Country meet scheduled for Nov. 14-15 in Natchitoches.

Stories about cross country runners with asthma are certainly nothing new. Two factors make Schuetz’s situation a bit unusual.

Being diagnosed with asthma between her junior and senior seasons - later than most youngsters and teens - is one factor.

Schuetz’s status as an elite runner with aspirations to compete on the college level is the other. She’s already had an official visit to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is looking at several other state colleges.

Those schools are looking at Schuetz because she was the Class 3A runner-up in cross country last fall and went on to win the distance trifecta of the 1,600 (5 minutes, 27.88 seconds), 800 (2:20.96) and 3,200 meters (12:11.34) at the Class 3A outdoor track meet last spring.

“Morgan has a lot of talent,” Parkview Baptist coach Chase Duplessis said. “Her stride and technique are great.

“But the thing I like most about her is her competitiveness. She goes out wanting to win every meet she runs in, regardless of how she feels.”

Duplessis said the asthma diagnosis has not changed Schuetz’s work load. In addition to taking oral medication, she also has two inhalers, one for daily use and another that serves as a rescue inhaler.

Schuetz’s best finish this fall was second at the St. Joseph’s Academy Invitational. She ran the three-mile race in 19:00.

Another senior, Christian Life’s Anna Katherine Devitt, has been the area’s top runner in most meets.

But with the drop in humidity, Schuetz is excited about the possibilities for the Metro and Class 3A state meets.

“There are some things I can’t control,” Schuetz said. “I’m going to go all out. I’d love to break 19 and see how high I can finish.”

Cross country polls

The latest statewide high school cross country polls provided by the Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association.


Large schools - Class 5A-3A

1. St. Joseph’s Academy?(8) 98

2. Dominican (2) 92

3. Mandeville 73

4. Fontainebleau 66

5. Mt. Carmel Academy 52

6. St. Scholastica 44

7. Ruston 35

8. Walker 25

9. East Ascension 20

10. Northshore 12

Also receiving votes: St. Michael, St. Thomas More, Barbe, C.E. Byrd, Dutchtown, Benton.

Small schools - Class 2A

and below

1. Menard (8) 98

2. Newman (2) 86

3. Louise McGehee 71

4. Episcopal 70

5. Sacred Heart-N.O. 59

6. St. Thomas Aquinas 45

7. Choudrant 25

8. Country Day 19

9. Christian Life 12

10. University High 11

10. St. Edmund 11

Also receiving votes: Catholic-Pointe Coupee, Ascension Catholic, Hanson Memorial, St. Martin’s.


Large schools - Class 5A-3A

1. St. Paul’s (10) 100

2. Brother Martin 86

3. Catholic 84

4. Jesuit 63

5. Walker 50

6. West Monroe 42

7. Shaw 31

8. St. Thomas More 25

9. Rummel 14

10. Ruston 9

Also receiving votes: Parkway, Dutchtown, Ponchotoula, St. Michael.

Small schools - Class 2A

and below

1. Episcopal (5) 95

1. St. Thomas Aquinas (5) 95

3. Newman 67

4. Ascension Catholic 61

5. Country Day 59

6. Lakeside 44

7. Runnels 39

8. Menard 31

9. Choudrant 26

10. University High 21

Also receiving votes: Anacoco, Patrick Taylor, Northlake Christian, Christian Life, John Curtis, Elizabeth.