Think of Carl Moe, and you think running.
Talk to Carl Moe, and you talk running.
For the longest time, there really wasn’t anything else.
Just ask him.
“In high school, everything worked out well, everything else was taken care of, and I ran well,” said Moe, a former cross country and track star at Auburn Riverside High who now is in his final weeks of competing for the University of Washington. “I came into college feeling pretty good and had great expectations. Then some things didn’t go very well – I had a year and a half of one injury.
“Then I realized running isn’t the only thing I’m doing. It’s family, friends, school, and how I treat people around me.”
In fact, Moe could be considered as Exhibit A for well-balanced. He already has completed his undergraduate studies, earning his degree in economics last year. Now, he’s planning to head off to chiropractic school, hoping to begin that four-year program in July.
The latter is something to which Moe definitely can relate, given the assortment of injuries with which he has dealt during his Husky career.
“A chiropractor took me by the hand and showed me that kind of stuff,” Moe said, “and I researched it.”
But even within all that balance is still a guy who just plain loves to run.“Track is my first love,” said Moe, who also is solid on the cross country trails, but has been bitten by the injury bug a few times during that sport’s fall season. “Through the years, I’ve dealt with a lot of different racing experiences, and I’ve matured as an athlete. I know when I can push the envelope, and I know when to (back) off a little more.”
Moe, now 24, was a dominant force at Auburn Riverside, especially during his senior season. In November of 2002, he won the Class 4A state cross country championship, becoming the first Western Washington runner since 1990 to win the title, and the first runner from South King County to claim it since 1967.
Then in May of 2003, Moe ran to the Star Track state 1,600-meter crown with a meet-record time of 4:05.09.
“Carl was a one-in-a-million kid,” Ravens coach Bill Sumner said. “He worked hard his junior year, but his senior year, he put in the miles and the time. If it was a bad day – a bad day for Carl was a great day for everyone else.”
An up-and-down ride
Just like the courses on which they often run, cross country was a bit of a roller coaster ride for Moe at Washington. As a freshman, he ran in the middle of the seven-man pack and helped the Huskies earn their first NCAA berth since 1993.
He redshirted during the 2004-05 school year with plantar fasciitis (a foot injury), then returned to the trails the following two seasons and again helped Washington get to the NCAAs. His final cross country season last fall again was shortened by injury.
Track has been a much brighter story. Moe set a UW freshman record in the 1,500 meters of 3:44.91 (which since has been broken), and set another frosh record of 8:02.82 in the 3K, which ranked third all-time on the school’s list.
After that redshirt year, Moe earned his first All-American honor, leading Washington’s distance medley relay to fifth at the NCAA indoor championships in 2006. Last spring outdoors, his only attempt at the mile resulted in a 4:01.33, fourth-best in UW history, and he again was an All-American on the distance medley.
Then, there’s the steeplechase, a distance event that includes multiple hurdles and water jumps.
Moe took it up as a freshman, and it has become, for the most part, one of his preferred events. He qualified for the NCAA outdoor championships last season, and advanced to the semifinals, but then was disqualified when officials ruled he impeded another runner.
“Last year, I kind of dove into it and had some success,” Moe said of the steeplechase. “I had kind of played around with it a little bit, and then my coach and I talked about it and what would work best for us.”
Years from now, chances are he’ll still be running. Still thinking it. Still talking it.
But then – as now – Carl Moe will be much more than just a runner.
“When I came to college, I just wanted to run,” Moe said.
“(But) I’ve learned that not just one thing defines me.”