400m Specialist Kristopher Moore Is A Mystery Talent No More

If it seems like Kristopher Moore is some mystery talent blossoming out of nowhere, there's probably good reason for that. 

The Clinton (MS) High senior, who inked with Hinds Community College over the early signing period, spent last year's indoor season on the sidelines out of precaution for an injury that was sustained in the new year, he said.

The only indoor outing Moore ran came in January, when he pocketed a 49.95 second 400m run at the Last Chance Invitational in Alabama. 

But Moore's choice remained a good one. He went on to have a impressive spring, claiming a runner-up finish at the outdoor Mississippi State 2A/4A/6A championships in the 400m, going 48.32 seconds, while also producing two efforts under 48 seconds. His PR of 47.82, however, wasn't within the top 100 performances nationally. 

Moore was still under the radar until December 9. 

That's when he entered the record books by posting the fastest indoor time in December on file nationally, going 47.82 seconds at the Holiday Invitational in Birmingham. 

"When I crossed, I felt good and I felt like I ran faster than my first meet," Moore recalled recently. "I looked at the clock and saw 47.89. I had a big joy and I was relieved." 

"We sat down the week before and said, 'We want you to run 47,'" said Jonathan Perkins, Moore's coach. "We didn't get 47 the first meet, but in the second meet we told him we wanted him to run the first 300 the same and hit his marks. He hit exactly the same marks. That last 100, he held it. We thought he could get 47. By golly, he did it."

If that seems like a wild transition, it kind of is, especially considering Moore wasn't experienced on a hydraulic track. But he lined up in lane five, took the curves hard and was ahead at the stagger, earning the inside lane. He kept his form late and drove through the line. 

He held off Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa's Okheme Moore by 13 hundredths of a second. 

"My first lap I said to myself, 'I'll sprint as fast as I can and let that carry me until second lap.' I had to hold form," said Moore, who opened his season with a 48.14. "My last 100 I had to keep pumping my arms."

His indoor campaign isn't over just yet, either.  

Moore is headed to the Ice Breaker Invitational from January 5-6 and will run at the Last Chance Invitational from January 26-27. 

Depending on where Moore stands at that point -- if he drops his 47 to a 46 -- there's a potential he could try to see what he could do at New Balance Nationals Indoor, Perkins said.

Perkins said while his practices are generally the same for everyone, it also includes a system where he calculates specific split times for specific athletes like Moore. Training includes workouts of 500s, 150s, 70s and 60s. Over the season, Perkins will let Moore let loose in a 60m dash, too. 

The last team from Clinton High to travel to New York for nationals, Perkins said, was two seasons ago on the girls side.  

Last year's boys championship winner, Tyrese Cooper, went 46.55 seconds for the win, while five others broke 48 seconds. 

Moore's time, though, already stacks up as the fourth-best time from that championship last year. And six athletes who ran in that championship are back this season, not including all the contenders. 

So the road to a national appearance will be tough, but Moore has the potential to do it. 

"I know he has the potential to be a consistent 45 sprinter," Perkins said. "And I think the mentality is, 'He's hitting the marks in practice.' He's doing well in indoor. We'll see if we can get 46 in the next two weeks. That will open the door to get to nationals." 

If Moore chooses not to go to nationals, there's always a national championship to look forward to down the road, Moore said. Hinds Community College has prepared at least two Olympians over the past two Olympic cycles, including Jeff Henderson, who won gold in the long jump at Rio. 

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