Two years ago, Steve Sipior and his assistants stood on the artificial turf at Strider Field and surveyed the young athletes auditioning for a spot on the Jamestown High School track and field team.
Periodically, Sipior, the Red Raiders' head coach, or Ron Graham, one of Sipior's assistants, would raise a finger at one of the youngsters, pointing out something to the rest of the staff.
One athlete who drew considerable attention that day was named Mitchell Moore.
"It's funny," Sipior recalled, "but during his freshman year all the coaches were sitting there together, pointing out kids that we thought were going to make states someday and we said that about Mitch.
"We knew he was just a freshman, and at that point kids are still a bit gawky and growing into their bodies, but with Mitch you could tell (he had that kind of potential)."
What was merely potential a few short years ago has blossomed into actual talent today; and for proof one need only open The Post-Journal on mornings after a Jamestown meet.
Moore, a junior whose focus is the 110-meter high hurdles and 400-meter intermediate hurdles events, has arguably, to this point, been the area's top boys track and field athlete.
Competing in one of the most competitive divisions (Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1) of the section's highest classification (Class AA), he's yet to lose a single event in a dual meet.
In other words, he's winning two or three races every time he steps out onto the track.
"He's pulling in 15 or 20 points per meet for us," Sipior said. "It's been amazing."
And currently ranked No. 1 in Section 6 in both the 110 and 400 hurdles, he's showed no signs of slowing down.
Last weekend the Red Raider set a new standard in the 400 hurdles at the Olean Invitational, finishing the race in just 55.76. He also took the 110 hurdles in 15.66, and earned one of four Faye Cosens Memorial plaques.
This past weekend, meanwhile, he took part in the highly competitive Falconer Invitational. And when that was all said and done late Friday evening, Moore had been selected the meet's Most Outstanding Athlete, having captured the 110 hurdles, the 400 hurdles and the 200.
Moore was the only competitor to win three events at the Falconer Invitational.
"That's two MVP awards (at large invitationals) in a row," Sipior marvelled. "I don't (remember) a Jamestown athlete that has done that."
While Sipior had always seen the potential in Moore, he really began producing tangible results last year, as the junior qualified for the sectional meet and finished the 400 hurdles in 57 seconds.
"For a sophomore that was astounding," Sipior said.
With that to build on, Moore spent the summer working with Graham, and then the winter honing his skills with the indoor track squad, racing in the 55 hurdles and 600 dash.
The work with Graham, Sipior notes, was the real turning point.
"Ron Graham is probably one of the best hurdles coaches in the state," Sipior said. "I don't know of anyone who reads up on the sport like he does, and he's just pouring that information into Moore.
"Mitch is our not-so-secret weapon, Ron is our secret weapon."
Most important of all, Sipior expects the outstanding results to continue all the way to states.
"If he doesn't make it to states I'd be surprised," he said. "Anything can happen - that's why we run - but he's looking so fast, I'm wondering if he's ever going to lose."
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Mitchell Moore isn't the only area athlete to be highly ranked on the most recent Section 6 track and field leaderboards compiled by section6runs.com.
Maple Grove's Corey Wefing, who on Friday set a new Falconer Invitational record in the 3,200 meters, shaved a whopping 21 seconds off his previous top time to regain the top spot in the section ahead of East Aurora's Sean Phillips.
Alex Elderkin of Frewsburg is No. 1 in the high jump (6-3), just ahead of second-ranked Trevin Barber (6-0) of Allegany-Limestone and Rashad Graham (6-0) of Dunkirk.
Elderkin is also No. 3 in the triple jump (41-0).
For the girls, meanwhile, defending state champion Christina Walter of Maple Grove is No. 1 in the 100 and No. 2 in the 200. Her top time in the 100 dash is 12.26 while in the 200 its 26.10, just .86 slower than Lancaster leader Ashley Grazen.
Southwestern's Brittany Feldman is No. 1 in the 400 dash (59.06) and the high jump (5-1) while Ciena Simon of Jamestown tops the list in the 100 hurdles (15.37) - just ahead of Randolph's McKenna Maycock (16.12).