Fitness Goals Lead to Competitive Drive for Heather "The Hurricane" Moran, 2018 Clarksburg Toughman Women's Heavyweight Champ

By Julie Perine on February 03, 2018 via

Just a few short years ago, Heather Moran began taking Plyoboxing – basic boxing techniques combined with plyometrics, high intensity training and weight training.
“I had just moved back to the area from Wilmington, North Carolina and needed to get into something,” she said. “I picked it up as a hobby.”
In her class was Sam Pill, 2015 Toughman champion and Moran’s nursing supervisor at United Hospital Center emergency room.
Fast forward three years and Moran has a trio of boxing championships under her belt, including the women’s heavyweight division at the 2018 West Virginia Toughman Contest held last weekend at Clarksburg’s Nathan Goff Armory. In Saturday’s championship, she beat
Courtney McIntyre by knockout in Round One. In the preliminary match, Moran beat Mandy Wells – also by knockout in the first round.
“I wanted to show everyone I had been working so hard this past year training for this and bettering myself,” she said.
Sure, winning the jacket was great.
“But I also wanted to go back to Toughman this year, looking good and feeling good in front of all those people,” Moran said.
Moran was returning champion in the Toughman heavyweight division, having defeated McIntire for the 2017 title. She also fought in April of 2017 in Fairmont."
She couldn’t be more passionate about her newfound hobby. Her original goal was to work to become more fit and develop a new pastime. As she has learned boxing, elements of self-improvement and defensive strategy have heightened her interest.
“When someone is swinging back at you, there’s a whole other side to it,” she said. “And I want to keep getting better and better. If you work every day and give 100 percent, you can.”
During the last couple of years, Moran has improved her skill, thanks to her Main Street Fitness Plyoboxing instructor, Eric Lopez, and trainers Mike “Lo” Snyder and Keith Barr.
"Heather is very talented and strong-willed," Barr said. "Boxing is about 80 percent heart and she's every bit of that. I pushed her as far as I've pushed any fighter in training sessions and with ease, she persevered."
Barr said at each workout, he used to tell Moran that no one sees the hard work she puts in or the sweat, tears and sacrifices involved in being a good fighter - that they only see her on fight night with her hand raised high, making it all look so easy. 
"She made that a reality on Saturday by defeating her opponents quickly," Barr said.
And in her corner from the get-go was Pill, who has become a mentor, friend and “big sister.” She is the one, Moran said, who first suggested she train for Toughman.
She was with her last weekend, in the locker room helping to prep Moran’s body, and ringside – delivering nonstop motivation.
“She’s like my big sister,” Moran said. “She has been with me the whole time. I’ve always looked up to her. She just amazed me.”
Pill said she could not be prouder or happier for Moran's victory. 
"For someone who has never been too serious about advancing in fighting, she has been persistent in learning the sport," Pill said. "It is easy to relate to her training, since she is tall - and improving her left jab was key." 
Moran is a 2013 graduate of Grafton High School. In addition to working at UHC – now in the operating room – and working weekends at The Wooden Nickel in Morgantown, she is a fulltime student at Fairmont State University. In May, she will graduate as a surgical technologist. But before that, Heather “The Hurricane” Moran will fight at the Elkins Toughman March 9-10.
“Instead of heavyweight, I want to fight light heavyweight so I’m required to lose a little weight and maintain that,” she said.
A “solid brick,” Moran weighs in at 184 and will have to lose 16 pounds to maintain her aspired weight class.
But she is disciplined – and motivated.
“I have to stay healthy and run - three-minute sprints over and over again - and just putting time in at the gym with boxing,” she said. “Then about six weeks out from a fight, I cut everything out that’s not good for me.
Another source of inspiration for Moran has been her mom and stepdad, Rachel and Rick Pickrelo.
“My mom, who is a nurse practitioner at UHC, goes to all my boxing classes with me. She started about four months ago and really liked it. We take private lessons together,” she said. “And my stepdad has supported me a lot; always giving me pep talks before a fight. He says, ‘Win or lose, sportsmanship is the key. And I agree with him 100 percent.’” 
Editor's Note: Pictured below are all winners of the 2018 Toughman Contest at Clarksburg's Nathan Goff Armory: Men's Heavyweight champion Gerald Kelly and runner-up Zach Randolph; Men's Lightweight champion Jeff Hibbs and runner-up Brock Willis; Men's Middleweight champion James Rivera and runner-up Matt Marsh; Men's Lightweight champion Garret Mayle and runner-up Terry Eagle; Women's Heavyweight champion Heather Moran and runner-up Courtney McIntyre; Women's Light Heavyweight champion Kaitlin Bishop and runner-up Rose Moore. Check back next weekend for features on Randolph and Bishop, both of Bridgeport. 

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