Like millions of other kids, Morgan Hurd was enrolled in a gymnastics class when she was a young girl, doing basic things like somersaults and handstands. Like a rare few, she excelled at it and stuck with it and now she’s one of the rising international stars in the sport.
Hurd, who lives in Middletown and trains at First State Gymnastics in Newark, was featured on the cover of the June issue of International Gymnast magazine, with the headline “SENIOR SLEEPER: Morgan Hurd is beginning to realize her dream.”
That dream, which started when she was a little kid, is to be internationally recognized as a world-class gymnast, and Hurd – who turns 16 on July 16 – has accomplished that. She’s generally recognized as one of the gymnasts who represent the next generation of elite performers. In recent competitions, Hurd finished third all-around at the World Cup of Stuttgart, Germany in March, and she finished 10th all-around (out of 33 competitors) at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy in April, helping the United States to a first-place finish.
“She works hard and she has heart,” said Slava Glazounov, the owner of First State gymnastics who serves as Hurd’s head coach, with assistance from Cleo Washington. “To excel at this level a kid has to want it, and she’s wanted it since Day. 1.”
Hurd was born in Wuzhou City, China on July 18, 2001 and was adopted by Sherri Hurd of Middletown. Her mom enrolled her in a gymnastics class in 2003 and it didn’t take people long to realize that Hurd had a natural talent and a special desire to excel in gymnastics.
“I was just trying to get her involved in things to see what she liked,” Sherri Hurd told Flogymnastics.com. “We tried ice skating, T-ball, soccer, but she kept coming back to gymnastics.”
Hurd – her friends and family call her Morgi – rose through the ranks quickly and even skipped levels 6 and 7 before excelling at levels 9 and 10 and now she has made a splash at the senior level, which is why International Gymnast made her its cover girl for June.
Hurd has verbally committed to the University of Florida for the 2019-2020 school year, but, like almost all world-class gymnasts, her real burning ambition is to make her national team and eventually compete in the World Championships and, of course, the Olympics – specifically, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“That’s her goal and that’s my goal and she has the resolve to reach that goal,” said Glazounov, a former member of the Russian national team. “She knows it won’t be easy, but she’s willing to put in the time and the effort to get there. This is not something you excel at right away. You slowly improve if you have the work ethic that you need to have and that’s what she has done.
“Morgan has the passion that you have to compete with the best in the world,” he added, “and you don’t see that in many 15-year-old girls.”
Hurd is an extraordinary athlete despite being just 4-foot-5, but she’s also just an ordinary teenager. On her bio page in the USA Gymnastics website, she says her favorite musician is Taylor Swift, her hobbies include sewing, reading and shopping, her favorite movie is (not surprisingly) Stick It, which is about gymnastics, her favorite book is Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper and her favorite food is sushi.
“She’s still a kid in many ways,” Glazounov said. “But she also has a determination to succeed that you don’t see in many adults.”
To find out more about Morgan Hurd and to follow her career, go to her web site http://gym-style.com/morganhurd/index.htm.