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Central Kitsap's Shane Moskowitz graduated in a class of his own
Running away from disappointment may have helped Shane Moskowitz chase down his calling.
Moskowitz couldn’t hit a baseball or make a jump shot in seventh grade at Central Kitsap Junior High School. But after he posted his best time in the 1-mile race during gym class that year, there was no turning back.
Although it was the fifth-best time in the class, it was fast enough to boost Moskowitz’s confidence.
“From then on I loved it,” he said. “It was the one thing I was competitive at.”
More than competitive. Dominant.
He went on to win five state championships at Central Kitsap High School — one in cross country and four in track — and earned a full-ride scholarship to Oklahoma State University, maintaining a 3.6 grade-point average along the way.
For those reasons, he is the 2010 Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot Male Student-Athlete of the Year.
Moskowitz is the most accomplished runner Central Kitsap has ever produced.
As a junior, he placed second at the Class 4A state cross-country championships. He won titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races in track that following spring. He competed in national events across the country during and between both his junior and senior seasons, earning All-American status in 2008 after placing 14th at the national cross-country championships in San Diego.
During his senior year, Moskowitz broke the course record at Sun Willows Golf Course in the state cross-country meet en route to first place. A few months later, he successfully defended his crown in the 1,600 and 3,200.
His five state championships are more than any Central Kitsap athlete, cross-country and track and field coach Mark Ward said.
“He’s a fierce competitor and is always there to shake his opponent’s hand,” Ward said. “He has this ability to compete hard, yet keep everything in perspective.”
Moskowitz kept school in perspective during his time at Central Kitsap.
Ward remembers days when the endurance-specialist skipped practice to complete school work. And when he brought textbooks on the team bus going to and from meets.
“When he commits to something, he finishes it,” Ward said. “You could see that in running and with his school work.”
Although he admits to not being a good test-taker, Moskowitz completed a few Advanced Placement classes and maintained better than a B average. He enjoyed math until senior year, when he discovered calculus, and also likes to write.
He approached school the same way he did running.
“The work that you put in is exactly what’s going to come out,” Moskowitz said. “If you work really hard now, it will all show in the end.”
This might only be the beginning for Moskowitz, who will leave Aug. 8 for Oklahoma State. He is already training for the fall season and looks forward to an elevated level of competition.
Whereas he was accustomed to leading the pack in high school, the long-distance specialist expects a bigger challenge at the next level.
Which isn’t necessarily bad.
“I’ll get pushed every single race,” he said. “I think I strive off that kind of stuff and I’m sure any good runner does.”
Moskowitz spent this week instructing a youth clinic along with Olympic High School track and field coach Greg Chapman and other athletes from the area.
The participants ranged in age from 6 to 14 years old, learning the hurdles, sprints, relays and, of course, the long-distance events.
Coaching the youngsters left Moskowitz wondering whether things would have been different had he discovered the sport at an earlier age.
“I’m jealous, I guess you could say,” he said Tuesday following the second day of camp. “I never had this, I never knew there was something like this.”
Moskowitz doesn’t know what may await in college, either, but he believes he’s ready.
“It’s scary, I’m nervous,” he said. “But I’m so excited, I’m so ready for it.”