The tears overwhelmed Central Kitsap cross country star Shane Moskowitz a year ago at state. Out-kicked by then fellow junior Mack Young of Redmond, Moskowitz lost the Class 4A title by three seconds.
On Saturday, back at the site of Moskowitz’s disappointment — Sun Willows Golf Course, so many things were different.
For one, it was the first time his father, Robert, was able to attend one of his state meets (track or cross country).
Secondly, the race went off with a major hitch: an 18-minute delay after several runners had to be bandaged up after falling. This caused Moskowitz (like many colleagues) to request extra clothing while having to warm up yet again in blustery conditions with the temperature in the 40s.
But the third — and most important — difference was that the Oklahoma State commit won.
“For the whole year, I’ve been training just for this — to come back here and win,” said Moskowitz, who cried following the 2008 race. “Last year, I really thought I had it and I made a move at 1,200 meters. But seeing him pass me, it was the hardest feeling ever. He just mentally destroyed me and I couldn’t hang on.”
This time, feeling as if the race was becoming tactical and the pace cautious just 400 meters in, Moskowitz took off. “You don’t even know what my stomach is doing right now,” quipped Robert, as he watched his son come across the first mile in a blazing 4 minutes, 40 seconds. “That’s not like Shane. I don’t know what he’s doing.”
Robert’s nervousness subsided about the two-mile mark, when Shane led by a good 75 meters. And as Shane popped into sight atop the final hill and began his descent to the finish line, Robert sprinted by a host of spectators to greet his victorious son.
“We don’t live together, but he tries his best to make it to some of my races,” explained an emotional Moskowitz. “So when he came here and I finally won it, it was an awesome feeling. I was crying and had a couple tears in my eyes. And he was crying — I couldn’t even understand what he was saying.”
This 16-second victory over Narrows League foe Conner Peloquin of Gig Harbor came in a course-record 15:06. The defending state champion in the 1,600 (with a personal best of 4:11.75 in the Narrows League championship) and 3,200 meters (personal-best 8:59.53, second-fastest time ever by a Washington junior) is quickly rising up the list of the state’s all-time greats.
“That, with the false start and weather and everything, was incredible,” Jackson coach Eric Hruschka said. “He’s now going to go down as one of the top five or six runners ever to come out of here. He’s that good.”