May 21 – CANTON, N.Y. – For the first time in the history of the Bethany College track & field program, the Bison are able to boast a three-time All-American. Junior Umar Moore (Coraopolis, Pa./Moon) became the first in the annals of the program to accomplish the feat, capturing a seventh-place finish (23-07.50) in the long jump at the 2015 Division III Outdoor National Championships, hosted by St. Lawrence University.
Moore, who entered the Championships as the eighth seed, earned his way into his fifth National Championship meet by posting his season-best jump of 23-10.75 at the Dave Labor Invitational hosted by Slippery Rock University. That mark also broke the longest-standing Bethany school record of 23-07 which was set by Virgil Elliott in 1926.
Moore opened the competition with a leap of 22-05 on his first jump and followed that with a mark of 22-03.75 on jump number two. Sitting outside of the top eight with one jump left to earn a spot in the finals, Moore ripped off his best mark of the day, totaling a distance of 23-07.50. That jump moved him from 13th place all the way up to sixth in the standings.
“Umar has done this several times in his career,” commented head coach Andy Upton. “It seems as though every time he is in this moment, with his back against the wall, he is able to rise to the occasion.
“In this instance, he knew he only had one jump left to make it to the finals, and he went out and posted the second-best jump of his career.”
“I knew I could go out there and get it done,” commented Moore on the leap that propelled him into the finals. “I have been able to do things like that before, and I think my past experiences really helped calm me down. I just went out there and did it.”
In the finals, Moore tallied three more jumps, posting a best distance of 23-01.75 on his fifth jump of the afternoon. Despite not besting his third attempt of the day, Moore still walked away with the seventh-place finish, becoming the first three-time All-American in school history.
“For Umar to do what he did in a field like this is really something special,” remarked Upton. “This is the fifth National Championship meet that I have had the pleasure of attending, and I believe that this is by far the toughest field that I have ever seen.”
2014-15 proved to be a fruitful campaign for Moore as he adds another piece of hardware to an already overflowing trophy case. Earlier this year, Moore was selected as both the Field MVP and overall Most Outstanding Performer at the PAC Indoor Championships, before going on to earn his first Indoor All-American crown by placing eighth in the long jump at the Indoor National Championships.
“This year has just been awesome,” said Moore of his junior campaign. “I have some of the best coaches and teammates around that have really helped to push me to become better and better every year. I also have to thank my family who has been with me every step of the way over the last three years.”
Moore’s first All-American honor came during the outdoor championships of the 2013-14 season. In that meet, the then sophomore captured a fifth-place mark, posting a distance of 23-02.00. Moore then added his second award during the indoor campaign this season, notching an eighth-place finish with a leap of 22-05.00.
“Being the first three-time All-American in Bethany history was a goal of his,” stated Upton. “Every year we set goals for every one of our athletes, and that was his. He has been a joy to coach over the last three seasons because every time we give him a goal to obtain, he goes out, works as hard as he can and achieves it.”
So what’s on the docket for three-time All-American’s senior campaign? “I want to be able to go out and win both the indoor and outdoor crowns,” said Moore of his future plans. “I think that is the next step, and that is what I am going to go for.”