April 3, 2013
Winding down his high school track career in Blaine, Wash. in the spring of 2009, Shayne Moore was expecting to give up the world of sports which had always been a part of his life, and attend nearby Western Washington University. But as the now senior captain of the Husky sprints group says, a call from UW assistant coach Raul Sheen changed that all around. Moore came in and scored for the Huskies in the 110m hurdles at the Pac-10 Championships his freshman year, but this final year has been his best yet. Moore and the Husky hurdlers will have a big meet in Eugene this weekend as they look to keep improving towards a postseason of big possibilities. He talked with GoHuskies.com this week out at the new outdoor track facility following practice.
GoHuskies.com: Coming off a good indoor season, you set a 110-meter hurdles PR in your first outdoor meet, and then matched that last week at Stanford. Do you feel like you're close to a breakthrough?
Shayne Moore: I feel really good right now. I'm still coming off some dents and dings but that's just part of the sport. I worked hard and lost about 20 pounds in the offseason. I'm feeling lean and fit, I ran my PR, and it's the fastest I've ever opened up by about half a second, so I feel great about that. Just going and running it again at Stanford just proves it wasn't a one-time deal. I'm ready to run.
GH: At Stanford it still seemed like you clipped a few hurdles and it wasn't perfectly clean.
SM: Definitely not. Once you go outdoors, I'm used to 60m hurdles, then you basically double the race. I'm just knocking some rust off still and planning things out; the season just started. Raul (Sheen), every race he tells me that I have all the base training, not to worry about having missed some time because I've had a hamstring and a knee problem, but my plan is just to be clean over the hurdles and run a clean race. Every race you need to get a little bit cleaner. So that's my plan right now. Every race, get a little bit faster and better.
GH: The hurdles have to be one of the most technical events in the sport of track. Talk about some of the details that go into becoming a good hurdler.
SM: Yeah, it takes years to be a good hurdler. I started when I was 13 so this is my eighth year hurdling and I still haven't figured it out yet. I'm still learning every year. Hurdles is kind of one of those things where you've either got it or you don't. If you're scared of the hurdles you're never going to learn how to do it. So when I was a little kid I was just running around with my hair on fire, and just went out and tried. As far as the technical stuff goes, that's every day practice. It's incorporated into all the drills we do and the fine motor skills. It just becomes muscle memory after a point. Now we're working on refinement -- finishing races, being clean. Another part is the stuff you don't practice, like when you do hit hurdles. You don't practice hitting a hurdle. How do you react to that in the middle of a race? Because you only have a fraction of a second to react.
GH: Knowing that just hitting one hurdle can ruin a race for even the best hurdler must be a tough thing mentally.
SM: It's tough. You have to be a battler to be a good hurdler. Everyone hits hurdles, even the best hurdlers in the world, like Aries Merritt, world record-holder, he hits hurdles every once in a while. You don't have a whole lot of time to think, you just have to go. You just have to keep pushing.
GH: What do your goals look like now for this last outdoor season?
SM: Pac-12 finals is definitely a big one. And I want to make it as deep into the post-season as I can. I've never made it to regionals, so I think this would be a great year to do it. I feel fast, I feel fit. This is a great team and I would love to accompany all of them. But we'll see. It's a tough sport; only the top 48 in the West Region go. So it's not just about me but what everyone else is running as well, but I think I'm in that mix. Regionals will probably be somewhere around 14.2 or 14.3. I've run 14.5 right now so I think that's definitely within reason.
GH: What did it mean to you to be chosen as a captain this year?
SM: It's a huge honor and I wasn't expecting it at all. James (Alaka), I've been with him for four years and I have so much respect for that guy. He's the true Mr. Track and Field for all of us, so I was definitely surprised but humbled and honored.
GH: The hurdles group as a whole has been having its best season in several years it seems like. What are your thoughts on how some of the younger guys are doing in practice and on race day?
SM: As long as I've been here this has definitely been our best year as far as times, and also team unity. I came in my freshman year and we weren't as much of a unit. I think this year we are a lot tighter as a team and we're working a lot better together in practice and it shows on the track. Chris Williams and Kaid Tipton are our two freshmen. And they are coming hard and working every day and their work is showing off already. Chris ran a 14.27 and he can go way faster than that. And Kaid actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was a freshman, a big, tall, strong kid. If he keeps grinding he's going to figure it out and be a good hurdler. And Howard (Lao), Howard has really been a big surprise for me. He was pretty beat up last year and having problems with his back, and this year he comes out and he's just killing it. He ran an 8.08 indoors and I think he's on our top-10 list now because of that. He's running great in practice, and he's a lot happier, you know? He's got a much better outlook; he comes to practice happy and joking around. So I'm definitely proud of him because you can see all the work he put in pay off.
GH: What have you studied and have you thought much about what's next after you get your degree?
SM: I'm an engineer. I'm in the bioresearch science and engineering major which is a type of chemical engineering that focuses on bioresources. So things we usually derive from fossil fuels, like petroleum, plastics, fuel is a big one, synthetic materials. That's what I'm studying. As far as what I want to do with it, when I came in to the University I was looking forward to learning about renewable energy and sustainable development. I wanted to learn about solar panels, wind turbines, things like that. But one thing led to another and I switched to this field, which is related. It's been a journey. I still see myself working in the energy industry, as an engineer.
GH: Will it be hard to step off the track for that last time?
SM: Definitely. It's been my life, I've been in sports since I was seven years old playing Boys & Girls Club flag football. Throughout my life it's been one thing that's always been there. I was a three sport athlete all through high school. I played football, basketball and track. Then here this is my family now. I met my two best friends through the athletics department. I met my very serious girlfriend here, potentially my future wife. It's just been a huge part of my life. I'll still be around because I have another year of school, probably helping out Raul if he needs it. I'm kind of scared, honestly, because it's opening a whole new chapter of my life, and kind of for the first time I don't know what's going to happen. But I almost never had this experience. I didn't get the call from Raul until about halfway through my senior high school track season, so like around May. I thought I was just going to be done with track, I was planning to go to Western and be a normal college kid. But he gave me the call, and it kind of changed my life.