HPU FR from NV Copes with Dad in Afghanistan

By Erika Carrubba, HPU Sports Information

Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. the 19 members of High Point University were at Vert Stadium doing speed and agility drills to prepare for a season that is over a year away. Mike Morse (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) is the member of the team who came to HPU from the furthest distance away, traveling over 2,200 miles from Nevada to play for the Panthers. That distance is small, however, compared to the distance between Mike and his father Ron, who was recently deployed to Afghanistan.

Less than 24 hours before that early morning practice, Ron Morse, a sergeant major in the United States Army, left for his second tour of duty in the Middle East. It will be approximately a year before Mike sees his father again.

"This deployment came up very fast," Mike said. "He has been telling us it was a possibility for a while, but it wasn't until two weeks ago that it was definite. Even then it wasn't supposed to happen until after Thanksgiving. Last week he found out it would be Sunday."

Mike was unable to get home on such short notice but said he is accustomed to going a long time without seeing his father.

"We thought about trying to get a flight home but it was just too quick," Mike said. "Coach gave me permission to leave but my father thought it was more important I stay and go to class and team functions."

When Mike was a freshman in high school his father spent over a year stationed in Baghdad.

"I was a freshman in high school in 2008 when my father sat me down with my brother Kyle to explain he was going to Iraq," he said. "He made sure we understood that he was going with 11 good people to do a job and they would be back. They went to a bunch of prisons in the Middle East to deal with the abuses that were happening and make sure the rules were being followed. He was gone for about 13 months."

While that was the furthest Ron had traveled it wasn't the longest time he had spent away from his family as a member of the military.

"My father has been incredibly unselfish," Mike said. "Usually military families live all over the place and move all the time. We didn't do that. He allowed us to stay in Las Vegas the entire time and he would move wherever he was needed. He was gone an awful lot but it allowed us to grow up in one place. For two years he was eight hours away in Reno and during that time I only saw him for two months during the summer when I went and lived with him."

Las Vegas isn't known as a hotbed for lacrosse, but Morse started playing in sixth grade and, when he got to high school, he would travel to Maryland every summer with his club team to play in front of college coaches.

"There just isn't a lot of opportunity to be seen out West," Mike said. "When it was time to start thinking about college I knew I had to play in front of coaches on the east coast. My father was able to go with me on my college visits and was really part of the decision making process."

High Point head coach Jon Torpey saw Mike at a tournament in Maryland and asked him to come see campus before he made a decision. At the time Mike was seriously considering West Point and Hofstra.

"My Dad and I came to High Point and took a tour and it was just incredible." Mike said. "I think it will be really special to I was part of the first team here and my Dad and I both really liked the coaches. Every person on the campus was nice and welcoming and it seemed like the perfect fit. I obviously considered West Point very heavily but ultimately my Dad let me make my decision and it was High Point."

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