Marcellus Moore Was Given The Worst Beat Imaginable

* Marcellus Moore was third overall in the 200m at the Big Ten Championships

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

- - - 

Think you got it tough? Talk to Marcellus Moore

The Illinois native may have been given the worst beat in American track and field just a few weeks ago, losing not just one but two seasons in one fell swoop. 

It's true. When the decision was handed down by the NCAA in March that it was not only cancelling the Indoor Track and Field Championships, but also eliminating the spring season, Moore was out of his freshman outdoor debut in college and his senior outdoor high school season.

The 17-year-old had graduated early at Plainfield North High School in January to enroll at Purdue.

"When I found out, we were in track practice," Moore said. "Some of our guys were at the indoor (championships). We were about to get in blocks for practices. Our coach came up to us and said, 'I have to let you know that our season is done. They shut down indoor nationals. I went, 'No!' It was so crazy."

The whole point in skipping his final high school season was to make sure he was ready to make an impact with the Boilermakers' football team as a freshman. That meant playing in the annual spring game (April 4). It meant getting in the weight room and studying the playbook with teammates. 

It meant losing what could have been a record-breaking senior season on the track in Illinois. 

"Going early has always been a goal of mine," Moore said, "ever since I was a sophomore in high school. I wanted to get a head start, to try and get ahead for football and try to get time and learn as much as possible."

But it didn't mean losing track all together. The benefit of him enrolling early was that he would get an early start on college track. In his first few meets with Purdue, as one of the youngest Division I athletes in track and field, Moore did in fact see progression, logging an indoor personal best in the 200m with a time of 21.01. 

He earned All-Big Ten with a third- and fourth-place performance in both the 60m (6.69) and 200m (21.01) at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships.

"As soon as I got out (in the 200m)," Moore said, "I knew I had to attack the curve and try to maintain. I got out real good and just tried to finish." 

By season's end, he had the 37th fastest 60m and 38th best 200m in the NCAA. He didn't make the NCAA Indoor Championships, but he knew what it would take in the years to come. 

"I wanted to come here and make an impact," Moore said. "And I can't make an impact. Last year, I was hurt a lot of outdoor. I never got to do a lot of what I wanted to. This year was a big redemption year. I didn't get a chance to do that."

Injury had shortened his junior season at Plainfield North, preventing Moore from really shining on the track, even though he scored a state title in the 200m with a wind-aided time of 21.22. He didn't lower his sophomore best marks of 10.31 seconds in the 100m or his 20.88 in the 200m. 

His goals as a senior would have been to lower his state 100m record and maybe grab a few more, possibly in the 200m, 4x100 and 4x200. But he also did not regret his move to enroll early.  

By February, Moore was transitioning well. He was bonding with his teammates at Purdue, including junior Waseem Williams and senior Samson Colebrooke. Both had made NCAAs, with Williams in the 60m and Colebrooke in the 200m. 

* Marcellus Moore finished third overall in the 200m at the Big Ten Indoor Championships

- - - 

"I actually didn't feel really intimidated," he said. "I've always competed with older athletes. I thought of it like, 'These are the same athletes I competed against two years ago.'" 

Moore said the duo had helped him acclimate over his early days in college, and not just on the track.

"They took me under their wing," Moore said. "They taught me some life lessons." 

Everyone had big goals for the spring, the biggest of which being the possibility that they all could get on a NCAA Championship contending 4x100 team. 

"I feel like that relay team would have been something special," Moore said. "We had big aspirations. We fell a little short not being able to run it."

But Moore, much like thousands of athletes across the country whose seasons were cut short, will never know those luxuries. 

And while he may get an extra year of eligibility on the back-end of his career -- he's already six months ahead of high school athletes anyway -- if he so chooses, that doesn't provide much comfort. In one possible scenario, he might not need it if his football career surges ahead. 

After heading home for spring break, Moore learned he's going to spend the rest of the semester there taking online classes. 

But he says he's enjoying his time at Purdue so far. He's majoring in kinesiology and has two classes in his first semester within his field. He's also taking communications and an intro to college class. 

"It's been real fun for me," Moore said. 

If all of this wasn't enough, there's also this: 

Moore was scheduled to walk with his high school classmates in June at an official graduation ceremony, but he's not really optimistic that it will happen, either. The Illinois High School Association is currently meeting to determine whether April 7 is an appropriate date for sports to begin again. 

Related Links: