By Hannah Amante
Graduating senior Sam Morales is an aspiring entrepreneur, caring teammate and proven asset to the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos as a mid-fielder for soccer and a sprinter for track and field.
He said he considered it a “privilege” to be able to play two sports at CPP.
“Most people who play sports and want to play at the collegiate level don’t really get the chance to,” Morales said. “I love sports, or any activity where the harder you try the more benefits you see. A lot of people who know that I do two sports can’t really believe it, but I enjoy every minute of it.”
The Yorba Linda native started playing soccer at the age of nine and continued through high school, community college and his time at CPP.
He was introduced to track and field at Esperanza High School and joined both the soccer and CPP track and field teams in 2010, when he transferred from Santiago Canyon College.
He finds it hard to decide which sport he prefers more.
“I fully love doing both,” said Morales. “I find different facets of each sport beautiful. Soccer probably fulfills my passion a bit more because I’m more effective in it. I’m very quick, but in track you need power on top of speed. Soccer has shorter running distances.”
Morales had a top mark of 11.39 seconds in the 100 meter event on Dec. 25 at Claremont-Mudd Scripps.
On April 1, Morales competed on a team that took first place with a combined time of 41.76.
A business entrepreneurship student, Morales has managed to graduate in four years, even with his busy schedule, or perhaps because of it.
“I’m kind of motivated when I have a lot to do,” said Morales. “I don’t know where I find time sometimes. I guess with all the overloading you kind of just ante up and gear up for more. Because I loved [both sports], I didn’t really second-guess it. I liked the challenge.”
During his free time, he enjoys reading his Bible and staying physically active. He likes playing Frisbee at the beach, skateboarding, wakeboarding, surfing and playing basketball and football with his friends.
Morales said many people in his life have motivated him to succeed both athletically and spiritually, crediting his family and God as being constant sources of inspiration. His father coached and mentored him in soccer from elementary through high school.
“He’s never told me I need to be the best soccer player,” said Morales. “He always said, ‘You need to try hard so you can accomplish great things for yourself. You need to want more.’ He made sure I was a hardworking athlete instead of just riding on talent.”
His mom has also been supportive, and he is close to his four siblings, who have all grown up playing sports.
Morales also credits the coaches he has had since high school, especially Ryan Bousquet, who passed away at a young age.
“He was a motivation to me when he was alive, and when he passed, I really looked at his life and achievements and went on to become soccer captain at Santiago,” said Morales.
Morales said his passion for sports will go hand-in-hand with his entrepreneurship degree. After he graduates, he plans to open and operate his own sports coaching facility for athletes from fifth grade through high school. He said the facility would help enhance specific skills in different sports at different levels.
“I would help develop their skills and drive early on so that can pan out into their personal life and motivate them to attend college,” said Morales.
Morales is the first person in his family to attend college.
“I definitely value the worth of a college education, and a lot of kids don’t have that privilege,” said Morales. “I want to help kids be the best they can be.”
He is also considering an on-location food market tailored to the appropriate calorie and protein needs of an athlete. He admits that it is a lot to think about, but said “the passion is there so the know-how is there, too.”
Morales also hopes to travel more once he graduates.
“I think I’ve done the least amount of traveling out of all my friends,” he said. “Being on the soccer and track teams here have made up the majority of my traveling experiences in my life, and it’s been really enlightening even though it’s only been within the states. It puts into perspective how big this world is.”
Morales is close to his teammates and considers the friendships he has developed to be the most memorable thing about his athletic endeavors at CPP.
“We’re all going to be in each other’s weddings,” he said.
His teammate Jacob Deavers has been on the CPP track and field team for all four years of college.
“He’s one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met,” Deavers said. “And he’s also a great friend. If you need to talk to someone, he’s always there for you. He’s always enthusiastic about helping people and has a really positive outlook.”
Troy Johnson, head coach for track and field, said he admires Morales’ dedication in both sports.
“I come from an era of multi-sport athletes,” he said. “Sam is a throwback in that sense.”
Johnson said Morales is known for being a constant source of encouragement to his teammates.
“He brings the team aspect of soccer to our team in track,” said Johnson. “He’s there for his teammates at all times.”
Delanie Dunn / The Poly Post
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