May 22 – DELAWARE, Ohio – Bethany College sophomore Umar Moore (Coraopolis, Pa./Moon) culminated a fantastic sophomore season by capturing his first All-American honor in the long jump on the opening day of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University.
Moore captured a fifth-place finish in the long jump, becoming just the second Bison in history to earn All-American status. It was the first for Bethany since the 2008 season, when Matt Cruse earned a seventh-place finish in the 110 meter hurdles. Umar also now holds the highest finish for any Bison competitor in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“All of the hard work and dedication that I have put in over the past two years have helped me get to this point,” remarked Moore of his All-American status. “This is something that I will cherish for a long time, and it will motivate me to strive for the next goal, which is to be a National Champion.”
Moore’s day did not start out as he would have hoped, jumping 6.48 meters (21’ 3 ¼”) in his first jump, before fouling in jump number two. However, sitting in last place with just one jump to go to get into the finals, Moore persevered, uncorking a leap of 7.03 meters (23’ ¾”) to rocket him into the finals.
“I have always been a last jump kind of guy,” remarked Moore. “I really enjoy the pressure of having my back to the wall with one jump to go. I have a lot of faith in myself as well as my coaches, and I went into the final jump knowing what I needed to do to get into the finals. I just went out there and executed.”
After earning a spot in the finals, Moore then bettered his top distance, posting a 7.06 meter leap (23’ 2”) in his fifth of six jumps, pushing him up to fifth place, which is where he would finish.
Moore, who qualified 16th for the National Championships, was making his second-consecutive appearance in the Outdoor NCAA Championships in just his first two seasons with the Bison. Last year, Moore took 15th with a jump of 22’ 9 ¾”. It was a mark that Moore was determined to improve.
“Last year, it was just kind of surreal to be at the NCAA Championships as a freshman,” commented Moore. “However, in the offseason, and all throughout the year I have used that performance as motivation to get back and continue to improve.”
Moore, who qualified for the NCAA Championships by twice unleashing a leap of 23’ 6”, had captured the PAC Championship in the long jump earlier in the year. He also tied his personal best of 23’ 6” just a week ago at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships.
“Umar was just able to go out there and focus the way that great athletes are able to,” remarked head coach Andy Upton of his sophomore’s performance. “There is just something that separates the All-Americans from other talented athletes out there, and Umar has that ability to be one of the best.”
“I think this is an accomplishment that is not only for me, but for the whole Bethany track and field program,” commented Moore on his success. “I know that we have other athletes on this team that are fully capable of getting here and doing what I was able to do. I hope that seeing me achieve this honor will show them that they also have what it takes to get here and do great things.”