“I almost went out for the football team, but my dad talked me into running cross country because I had pretty good mile times in eighth grade,” said Mooneyham. “I decided to give it a try and it definitely worked out for me. I’ve grown into the sport. It definitely beats getting tackled.”
Although Mooneyham still maintains a passion for watching football, his ability to run has made him the area’s most sought after track athlete in the Class of 2013.
For Mooneyham, who was also the Class 4 state runner-up in cross country, becoming a great runner didn’t happen overnight.
But entering his sophomore year things began to click.
“My sophomore year I cut 25 seconds off my mile and over a minute in the 2 mile, just with the added preparation of running cross country and training for those distances,” said Mooneyham.
It was also around that time that Mooneyham realized that he could do something special with running.
“My sophomore year in districts at track I realized that I could do something special with running. My goal that year was to break 10 minutes in the 2 mile, and I ran a 9:47. Before that I was running in the mid-10s.”
That all led to Mooneyham’s senior year being one of the best individual seasons in Glendale history.
In addition to his state championship in the Class 4 3200M (9:06.86) and state runner-up finish in cross country (15:53.74), Mooneyham also finished fifth in the 1600M (4:16.20), scoring 14 points alone for Glendale at the state meet in Jeff City.
The 3200M race saw him storm back in the final 100 meters to give Glendale its second state championship of the weekend (Spencer Haik won the 1600M title).
Ironically, the same scenario played itself out at the Class 4 state cross country meet, but Mooneyham came out on the short end.
“At state cross I let the guy get too far ahead of me, and didn’t have enough time to catch him. My mindset at state track was to stay as close as possible to everyone, and then catch them in the end. I was a little skeptical as we got to that last 200 because he started to pull away, so I knew it was time to go. But on that last 100 I really just let it go and it worked.”
It may have been the last race of his high school career, there is still plenty of running left for Mooneyham.
He will to continue to compete in cross country and track next year at the University of Missouri.
Chris Mooneyham may dream of freshly cut grass of a football field occasionally and juking 250-pound linebackers.
But in the end he is doing what he was meant to do.
Favorite Athlete: Usain Bolt (we have the same birthday) Favorite Team: Indianapolis Colts Prerace ritual: Pray Most Disliked Athlete: Chad Ochocinco who changes their last name to their football number? Favorite Movie: Remember the Titans Favorite Musical Artist: Imagine Dragons Favorite Actor: Chris Tucker Favorite Athletic Memory: Winning State in the 3200 Song on your iPod people wouldn't expect: Call me maybe Hidden Talent: Flipping pancakes
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