GAINESVILLE — Practices have gotten lonely for Gainesville long jumper David Moore.
As the last Leopard track member still competing, the senior has been spending the last two weeks working one-on-one with track coach Keith Hall.
“It’s a lot more quiet around here,” Moore said with a smile.
There will more of a buzz in the air on Saturday when Moore sets off for Austin to compete in the UIL State Track and Field Championships after punching his ticket to state in the long jump with a regional gold two weeks ago week.
“It’s a dream come true,” Moore said. “Going to state is something I’ve wanted to do since I was little. It didn’t matter what it was, I wanted to go to state. Now here it is.”
Moore’s path to state got interesting at the Region II-3A track and field meet in Commerce last week. By compairing distances from past meets, Moore knew he would be in the mix to go to state.
But Willie Sims from Celina came out of no where to challenge Moore for the gold. He put up a season-best 22 feet, 5.5 inch leap.
“I didn’t think that dude from Celina was going to jump like that,” Moore said.
Sims beat Paris’ Joe Wallace in a tiebreaker and Kaufman’s Myron Wrenn, who was a favorite going in, finished fourth at 22 feet, 5 inches.
Moore won with a leap of 22 feet, 11.5 inches.
“I knew I had some competition from (Wrenn) because the meet before he jumped a 23-8,” Moore said. “So I was a little nervous going in. But once I did my first jump, I knew I was like ‘OK, I’m straight.’ I knew I had a good chance after that.”
Moore’s leap was the fourth best out of the four regional winners in Class 3A. Splendora’s Jay Bradford has the best at 23 feet, 10 inches.
The season-best for Moore is 23 feet, 4 inches.
“I’m trying to get past that,” he said. “I’d like to get up to 24 (feet).”
Moore admits he still has some work to do before heading to the state meet, which will be held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.
This is only the second year for Moore to compete in the long jump in high school. The senior was a regular near the jumping pit in junior high, but didn’t take up the event again until he was a junior. As a junior, Moore reached regionals but didn’t make it to the finals.
“That was tough,” said Moore, who also reached regionals in the 100-meter dash this year.
Known for his big plays both on the football field and basketball court, Moore said the other sports benefit him when track season comes around.
“Basketball you’re always jumping,” Moore said. “So you’re legs are ready to go when track season comes. Football, you do squats and a lot of sprinting. It all helps each other in a way.”
The state track meet will be the final event for Moore’s illustrious high school career before he heads off to East Central Oklahoma on a football scholarship.
But first, Moore is steady focused on the task at hand. A gold medal at state.
“You can’t help but be a little nervous,” Moore said. “But I’m kinda pumped up, too. I want to go down there and have fun. I want to see what I can do against some of the best athletes in the state. I’m excited.”