Moore Looking Ahead To Tampa

After successfully defending his 400-meter hurdle title at the Mid-American Conference Championships, Jamestown native Mitch Moore has his sights set on the East Preliminaries next week. Submitted photo

The run-up to June can be a hectic time for student-athletes of all ages, especially when it comes to balancing training and studying.

For University at Buffalo senior Mitchell Moore, the addition of having to prepare for the NCAA Division 1 East Preliminary meet is one objective that does not feel like a burden.

Last Saturday, Moore was one of four Bulls to medal on the final day of action at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at UB Stadium, running a personal-best time of 51.98 in the 400-meter hurdles to defend his championship from a year ago.

That performance extends Moore’s career for at least one more meet, the East Preliminaries, that will take place from May 24-26 in Tampa, Florida.

“I was super nervous going into the race because I hadn’t quite had a time good enough to get me into the NCAA meet,” Moore said of his final race in Buffalo last Saturday. “It could have been my last race ever, so I really wanted to get a good time in for the NCAA meet and obviously I wanted to defend my title and defend it on my home track in front of my friends and family.”

Home-track advantage has always proven to be good luck for Moore, reaching all the way back to the days when he set the Jamestown High School 400-meter mark on his home turf at Strider Field.

In the end the pressure of the home spotlight, in combination with some less than ideal weather, did nothing to deter the talented and determined senior, who will make his second trip to the East Preliminaries after qualifying in the 400-meter run a year ago.

“We haven’t had great weather. It was pretty windy on race day and that was in the back of my mind as well,” Moore said.

While it is certainly an accomplishment to be heading to Florida at this point in the season, there is no doubt that Moore would like for his NCAA career to come to an end in the first week of June at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“It’ll be the top 12 in this meet that move on to the next meet,” said Moore. “With time I’m thinking (the mark) will probably be around 51 flat or 51.5, so I’ll need to PR by a little bit. Compared to some of the races we run during the season this is top-of-the-line competition. You’re competing for a spot at the National Championships, so compared to most of the competition this will be significantly better and I’m looking forward to it. “

Pushing Moore to his success on the track this year has been Bulls’ assistant coach Charone Williams, who primarily works with sprinters, hurdlers and relay teams.

“Also my high school coach, Ron Graham, has had a big influence on me,” Moore added when looking back on his coaching influences.

Another lifelong hurdling specialist, Graham helped Moore to his success with the Red Raiders and paved the way for his years in Buffalo.

“I know very well that this could be my last meet, but that being said I just have to approach it just like any other meet. I’ll have to not let that get into my head that this could be my last chance. I just have to put the race together that I know I can run. I think I have a lot left in the tank.”