By REID TUCKER
Gabe Moore has just about done it all when it comes to track and field, but that didn’t stop him from one-upping himself.
The Freeport senior has done well representing his high school at regional and state competition, and he’s claimed wins at numerous national invitational meets in his free time. He even finished sixth in the decathlon at the World Youth Games, held last summer in Ukraine, as a representative of the United States’ team. About a month ago he signed a full-ride scholarship with the University of Arkansas, the best track and field college in the nation.
Now he can add “national champion” to his résumé. Moore won the pentathlon at the 2014 New Balance Nationals Indoor meet, held Saturday, March 15, at The Armory in New York. He took first place in two of five events and earned podium finishes in the other three to rack up a combined final score of 4,054 total points, besting last year’s third-place score of 3,794. Moore was better adjusted to the high-pressure environment this time around and came out on top in the 11-man field, even beating his Team USA comrade John Lint, of Westerville, Ohio, an accomplished multi-event athlete in his own right, by 90 points.
“This was a different feeling altogether,” Moore said. “This is my first time being a national champ, and being able to consider myself the best in the country out of a really strong group of athletes is even more motivation to improve. I can’t rest at all. I’ve got to keep working harder to stay at the top.”
The win in New York was also significant for Moore’s coach, Willie Parker, who joined him at the competition. Moore’s championship victory marks the first time in Parker’s career as a track coach that one of his athletes won a national title, a matter of no small meaning for the duo. Moore even got a phone call and words of praise from his future coach at Arkansas, which took second at the NCAA indoor track championships last weekend.
“It’s awesome to share this accomplishment with [Parker],” Moore said. “I owe him a lot, so to be able to say we did this together is really something special.”
As for his performance at the meet, Moore finished first in long jump with a 23-foot, 5.5-inch mark and in the shot put event with a 49-00.25 mark. He set a personal record in the 60-meter hurdles, posting a time of 8.25 seconds, good enough for third place, and also finished third in the 1,000-meter run, crossing the finish line in 2:54.22, a little less than two seconds behind Lint. Moore rounded out the pentathlon with a second-spot finish in the high jump, reaching close to his personal best height with a mark of 6-05.50.
By REID TUCKER