Central's Moreland wraps up senior year with two top-10 finishes

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brookins coached his last meet before beginning retirement.

JEFFERSON CITY -- Minutes after helping her 1,600-meter relay team to a seventh-place finish in the Class 4 finals Saturday, Central's Brittany Moreland seemed genuinely thrilled.

It took her a bit -- no one looks all that happy after sprinting 400 meters -- but she swore she was after the relay team finished in 4 minutes, 3.59 seconds.

"It's so good," Moreland said. "I've been blessed with a great high school career, and this is just the perfect way to finish it."

One night after running the fastest 1,600 leg of her career and helping an outside-looking-in Tigers team into the finals, Moreland ran a personal best 2 minutes, 17.4 seconds in her other event, the 800, to earn another seventh-place finish.

Yes, it's been a good year for Moreland, the senior who won Central's Darla Pannier award for being her school's top female athlete, but it didn't come without effort.

Central assistant coach Mark Hahn, who has coached Moreland for four years in both track and cross country, couldn't be happier for her.

"She definitely was a standout as a junior high athlete, so in that respect, what she's done isn't a surprise," Hahn said. "But you can have all the talent in the world in distance events and if you don't have the dedication and discipline, you're not going to be good on the high school level."

It is those final two qualities that make Hahn sad to see her go.

"We expect to lose a lot with her," Hahn said. "She does everything right. She's that leadership-type that you've got to have.

"Hopefully that mantle will be picked up by somebody. She's certainly given the example."

Moreland, who focused on running the mile for her first three years of high school, said she made the switch to the 800 because of both personal preference and Hahn's guidance. As good as she has been, however, Moreland isn't worried about her relay teammates -- Ivana Jackson, Mary Dohogne and Asia Thomas -- struggling without her.

"Our team is really responsible in general," Moreland said. "I think they'll be fine without me."

While Moreland heads off to the University of Missouri-Rolla to concentrate on academics in the fall, Central coach Lawrence Brookins will be heading off to retirement, but is excited about the group he leaves for his replacement.

Of Central's nine participants in this weekend's Class 4 finals, eight are underclassmen.

In particular, Brookins was very excited about his two young pole vaulters, sophomore Matt Deisher and junior Ray Woldtvedt, who came in 10th and 11th respectively.

"They struggled this weekend," Brookins said. "They've both jumped much better in the past couple weeks, but their window of opportunity to grow is huge."

Central's 800 relay team of Jackson, Thomas, Sadie Pittman and Erica Childs fell short of qualifying for the finals, but ran one of their better times of the year at 1 minute, 45.17 seconds.

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