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Roman Colosseum left lasting impression on Maci Morris

Maci Morris against Marghera in Italy.
(Photos by Noah J. Richter | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky senior Maci Morris said her team’s exhibition trip to Italy in August was “awesome” for many, many reasons.

“The scenery obviously was just great. It was awesome so see so many things. Those structures and buildings that are there after hundreds and hundreds of years are just incredible,” Morris said.

The Colosseum in Rome was one of her favorite spots.

“Being in a place where they saw gladiators and animal fights was something. That was my favorite place other than Lake Como. Venice was very populated and very touristy. We didn’t spend much time there but it is a beautiful city. I wish I had got on a gondola but it was cool just being there and seeing them.”

What about the food?

“It was delicious. The gelato was great. I had it at least once every day,” Morris, who said her favorite meal might have been lasagna and a T-bone steak, said.

She said one meal coach Matthew Mitchell had a seafood platter that included a barnacle — a marine crustacean with an external shell that feeds by filtering particles from the water — that had been attached to a cruise ship.

“They fry it as a delicacy. He said he just could not eat it,” Morris said. “I tried some raw salmon.”

Mitchell claimed he didn’t remember trying to eat a barnacle and said he thought Morris was confused. However, he agreed with her that the food was outstanding.

“When we were on the runway in Rome I told (my wife) Jenna that I hoped the plane could get off the ground because I weighed so much because I ate so much good food,” Mitchell said.

Morris said the basketball competition was good but the biggest surprise was running into UK fans who were not part of the tour with the team.

“We had quite a few people at games. There were a lot of people from Kentucky surprisingly there saying, ‘Go Cats.’ People that were not on the tour with us. Big Blue Nation really is everywhere,” she said. “It was a good amount of time for us to be there and I could have stayed longer. It was a nice trip and was really fun. Most of the people were really nice. It was just like America with a different mix of people. I just loved it.”

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