Rooting for the undercow

May 28, 2006

I don’t know who was favored to win the Washington state 1A high school 800-meter race this past weekend, but it sure as heck wasn’t Will Moseley.

Will is one of the distance runners coached by Liz at the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. I’ve only met the guy once but am predisposed to root for him, since both of his parents went to Williams College, as I did, and his sister will be a student there in the fall. Plus his name is William. It’s hard to get much more Williamsy than that, short of getting a Purple Cow tattoo.

Anyway, Will heads into the Tri-District track meet needing a top-five finish in the 800 or 1600 to qualify for States, a fairly lofty goal for a sophomore. The 1600 is a bust, though, and he only has the 8th-best time in the 800 heats, barely avoiding elimination. In the 800 final, he takes the lead, gets tripped from behind by a competitor, manages to stay on his feet, and winds up 4th in 2:01, a personal best time by 2 seconds.

On to the state meet in Cheney. Will runs 2:03.18 in his heat; 2:03.19 turns out to be the cutoff for advancing. In the final, he’s 4th for a while, makes a charge into 1st … and then holds everyone off in the final straightaway for a 1:59 victory! Incredibly, this is the first 800 that Will has won all year. His improbable but well-deserved triumph reminds me of two points:

1. Few things are as exciting as the discovery of previously untapped potential.

2. With all due respect to the Lord Jeffs, Polar Bears, etc., it never hurts to have the Purple Cows on your side.

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