Canyon girl to represent U.S. in Turkey

The United States will be represented by 18-year-old MorgAnne Thompson at the Wushu World Cup in Turkey this October.

Thompson has practiced the Chinese martial arts for eight years and her instructor Albert Treto said she has had passion for the sport since she was a small.

"Ever since she was a little girl, she saw one of my first fighters that traveled overseas and fought in Beijing, and I could just see there was something special about her," he said. Her hard work, her ethics and her training was just exceptional since she's been a kid."

Thompson's competitors are coming from all over the world, including Russia, Poland and China. She will fight girls in her same 56-kilogram weight class and if all goes well, she could land a seat in London for the 2012 Olympics. Thompson said she is beginning to get overwhelmed as it comes down to the wire, but she remains confident and is looking forward to the experience.

"It's kind of intimidating, but I'm ready for it and I'm excited to be there and be a part of it and see all the other countries and fight for the USA, you know, and just represent them," she said. "I think it's a big honor."

Thompson's father Luke enrolled both of his daughters in martial arts years ago to ensure they could defend themselves. He said he is confident in his daughter's abilities and worry of her getting hurt is not something that consumes his mind.

"I know she has a possibility of getting hurt, but I'm not worried about it because she's fit, she's physically ready to go."

Being a senior at Canyon High School has put even more on Thompson's plate. She trains every day, sticks to a strict diet and does not have much time to socialize. In her free time, she does her homework so she can remain in the top 10 percent of her class.

"I think it's definitely worth it. It keeps me disciplined in what I do and it keeps me out of trouble, too. It's a big price to pay, but I think it's all going to fall into place together when I get there."

A baked goods auction will be held at Canyon's Conner Park on Saturday, Sept. 3, to raise funds for Thompson's trip to Turkey. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be served and the family will also be accepting donations.