Case Western Reserve University sophomore Derrick Moore is aware of his competition at every track meet, but when it is his turn to attempt a high jump or to run the 400 meters, he is focused on himself and his technique.
Track can be a lonely sport and it takes a certain kind of individual to excel, because once the starting gun fires, no one can make you jump higher or run faster then you have prepared yourself to run or jump.
"Every day at practice I work hard, so I can be confident when I compete. Of course I get excited and nervous before the meets," Moore said of his mental attitude the day of a race. "But once the gun goes off, I am strictly focused on the task at hand."
Moore's hard work has led to top three finishes in the 400 and the high jump as well as an All-University Athletic Association performance at last year's championships.
"Derrick is a great kid," said Dennis Harris, head track coach at Case.
"He has a lot of raw talent, but he is not willing to just rely on that talent. He is very coachable and is committed to getting better. When I started recruiting Derrick in high school, he told me he had attended my NYSP (National Youth Sports Program) summer program at Case. He said that was when he started thinking about coming here. That's the kind of person Derrick is. He will get a goal in mind and work at it until he achieves it."
The sophomore business and premed major carries the same attitude he has on the track into the classroom. "I get as pumped up for a test as I do for a track meet," Moore said. "Of course I get nervous before the test, but I use that nervous energy to stay focused on the work that I have to do to be prepared. The preparation is the important part. Once the test starts, I just look at it as chance for me to show what I've learned."
The Trinity High School product has lofty goals both on the track and off. On the track, Moore would like to qualify for nationals. Off the track, he would like to combine his interests in business and medicine into a career of running a hospital.
"Being the CEO of a hospital would be my dream job," he said. "I know that is a long way off and I still have a lot to learn, but I am willing to work for it."
When asked if it is ever hard for him to stay motivated, Moore said, "It's never hard for me to find the motivation to prepare for a test or a track meet because of the sacrifices my parents have made to allow me to attend Case. If they are willing to make those kinds of sacrifices so I have the opportunities to succeed, then I am more than willing to make the necessary sacrifices to take advantage of those opportunities.
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