Incoming Oregon frosh Ashlee Moore ready to take on World in comforts of new home

By her high standards, heptathlete Ashlee Moore didn’t have her best outing at the Great Southwest Classic in early June. The recent graduate of Hamilton High, Az., wasn’t exactly pleased with her performance last week at the USATF Junior National Outdoor Track & Field Championships, either.

One could only imagine what would happen when she does get it all together?

In both meets, the University of Oregon-bound Moore captured the individual title. But it was her latest effort down in Sacramento, Calif., that carried the most worth. With an all-time best of 5,418 points, Moore not only went home with the hardware but earned a trip to a place she’ll call home in a few more months, Oregon’s famed Hayward Field, site of the IAAF World Junior Championships from July 22-27.

“It’s awesome,” she said, “especially because it’s my first year, my first year representing the USA.”

The 18-year-old Moore beat a talented field that included runner-up and recent New Balance National outdoor champion Shaina Burns of Lakeville South, Minn., and University of North Carolina freshman Emily Godwin. Burns scored a personal best of 5,363 points and Godwin secured third with 5,304 points, also a PB.

“Going into the meet I knew I had a good chance if I PR’d or came close to my PR’s in most of the events. I knew I had a good chance,” she said, about the June 25-26 meet. “But it was an okay ‘Hep.’ It wasn’t my best.”

Moore had four career bests at the national meet, all of which were achieved on the opening day. She won the first two events of the day, taking the 100 hurdles with a time of 13.80 seconds and the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 10 inches. She fell behind Burns by 65 points with her PB of 33-1.75 in the shot put to her rival’s 45-7.25 effort. But Moore resumed control of the top spot by finishing second in the 200m at 24.79, her first time under 25 seconds.

With her first-day total of 3,402 points, the gifted teen led Burns by 85 points going into Day 2.

“The first day was good,” she said. “I just wanted to keep the momentum.”

Moore kept that momentum and never relinquished the lead the last three events, despite an off-day, She was about a foot from her best in the long jump (18-11.5), more than 10-feet shy of her PB in the javelin (119-1.5) and nearly five-seconds less than her top 800m time (2:34.66).

Moore was competing at the Junior Nationals, held separately from this weekend’s meet, a month after earning gold at the Great Southwest in New Mexico on June 5. In that meet, she scored a then-best of 5,311 points.

“At the Great Southwest, I PR’d and didn’t have that great a ‘Hep’,” she said. “But it still showed all the potential left in me.”

Moore has had plenty to smile about this season. In addition to her victories at the Great Southwest and Junior Nationals, she also won the heptathlon at the Arcadia Invitational in California back in April, breaking 5,000 points for the first time with 5,048.  She also captured her third straight individual title in the long jump and was second in the high jump at the AIA Division I State Championships in early May.

That meet didn’t come without heartbreak, though.

“In the preliminaries of the hurdles, I fell after the first hurdle and didn’t make it to the finish line,” she said.

Moore was able to rebound from that mishap six days later by winning the event at the Meet of Champions in Phoenix with a then best of 13.98, a time that would have won the state meet. She was also second in the 200m with a 25.30 clocking.

During the season, the Hamilton grad estimates she trains three-to-four hours a day, six times a week. While it may seem overwhelming, she has managed the heavy load with limited stress.

“It’s not that hard,” she said. “You just have to break it down each day. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is conditioning and base work and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are event days.”

Moore, who was a star basketball player for the Huskies where she was named the district’s player of the year as a power forward this season, believes she has the ability to place high at the World Juniors. She considers Britain’s Morgan Lake of Wellington College as the odds on favorite for the crown.

In February, Lake broke the World Indoor Pentathlon Youth record in Sweden with 4,284 points. At the IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Gotzis on June 1, she scored a PB of 6,081 points in the heptathlon.

“She’s the best in the world,” Moore said. “If things go well, I can probably score 5,500 to 5,600 points. It’s just a matter of executing everything correctly.”

There’s one thing the determined athlete knows will be in her favor at the elite competition.

“With it being in the US and on a track I’ll be on the next four years,” she said, “I am definitely going to have the crowd behind me.”

Whether that will be the extra boost she needs to medal at the end of the month, time will only tell.

Related Links: