MONROE — Morgan Robertson, 16, a junior at George Walton Academy, was not the only local student chosen as one of the winners for Positive Athlete Georgia.
The awards, created by the nonprofit organization created by former University of Georgia player Hines Ward, honor students from around the state for showing the attributes of a positive athlete, including leadership, dedication, teamwork and more.
This year, several local athletes were honored in the East Atlanta region awards from Walton County, including Adoris Gibbs from Social Circle High School in girls basketball; Cody Connard from Loganville High School in golf; Kevin Allen from Loganville Christian Academy in boys soccer; Lindsey Peevy from Walnut Grove High School in girls soccer; Alysse Lancaster from Monroe Area High School in softball; and Micah Thompson from SCHS in wrestling.
Robertson, however, who was chosen as the region winner in girls track and field, didn’t just have to overcome competition from the thousands of other students nominated in the field. She had to overcome much more after she was diagnosed a year and a half ago with leukemia.
Robertson has played sports since childhood, starting with track and field and expanding into softball as she grew older.
“I’ve been running track since primary school,” Robertson said. “And then one day my dad threw me into recreation softball and I liked it, so I’ve stuck with both.”
She was a strong competitor throughout middle school and into high school as she competed on the ninth grade team at GWA.
But she was unable to compete this year due to her cancer diagnosis and her primary challenge was no longer beating her best time or another team but the disease in her own body.
“It didn’t really faze me when I was told,” Robertson said of her cancer diagnosis. “I just knew we needed to jump on it. I set to work finding out what I could do to help beat the leukemia and we got started.”
Unable to compete in softball or track, Robertson still helped out where she could, serving as a manager for the football team and a basketball cheerleader, and her sunny disposition as she worked to get back to the sports she loved was noted by many.
“I told people, ‘Don’t handicap me,’” Robertson said. “‘I can do it.’”
That dedication was why she was nominated by her coaches for the Positive Athlete Award, a fact Robertson was highly surprised by when she was chosen as one of the winners.
“I felt like, ‘Really, me?’” she said. “I was just so shocked.”
Now, Robertson is cancer-free and is fighting to get back into shape for the coming season this fall.
“I’m working out at home after school,” Robertson said. “I’m like a beast at softball now. No one can stop me.”
That attitude is what got her through her bout with leukemia and what she expects will keep her positive for next season and many after that.
“Being a positive athlete means being dedicated to your school, no matter the struggle,” Robertson said. “It’s about giving 110 percent, and that’s what I try to do in everything.”