Last year everyone called Malvern’s Zoe Moser a freshman sensation. This year they can just call her champion.
Moser, who podiumed as a freshman in Div. III in both the 100- and 200-meter races last year at state, went into this year’s state meet with every intention of bettering her prior pair of fifth-place finishes. She did so in style, blazing to victory in the 200 while taking second in a photo finish in the 100.
After winning both the 100 and 200 prelims in times of 12.25 and 25.42, respectively, Moser was on the precipice of pulling off a rare double gold. However, her day on Saturday in the finals began with a crushing disappointment when St. Peters’ Alyssa Wade ripped off a 12.13 in the finals, edging out Moser by 0.01 in a photo finish that saw the two run away from everyone else.
“What made it really disappointing is that I tripped getting out of my blocks,” Moser said.
That close call could ignite her or send her reeling in the 200. It turned out she got more than a little fired up, finding her way to first place.
Moser stormed out of the blocks, took the lead and never looked back in running an impressive 24.48, leaving little doubt as to who the victor would be in this one. Kennedy Gebhart of Fort Loramie took second in 25.29 while Wade grabbed third in 25.34, but this belonged solely to Moser.
“This is so sensational. I had to work really hard to choke back my tears even as I was crossing the finish line,” Moser said. “With everything we’ve been through, and with the success we have had this year, this is a tremendous way to top off the year. I really think that second in the 100 drove me to dig deep and try even harder to win. That was really hard on me.”
Joined by 4-by-100 teammates Lauren Foster, Jasmine Goldsworthy and senior Kelsi Hulit in the 4-by-100 relay and Hulit in discus and the shot, the Hornets were able to pull off a school-best finish as a team, placing third, just two points out of celebrating as runner-up in Div. III on the stand at the end of the meet.
Aside from Moser’s huge effort, Hulit capped off her incredible career by snaring silver in the discus and adding a solid fifth in the shot put. Her shot effort of 40-03.25 was nearly 2 feet beyond her regional championship throw while she saved most of the drama for the discus, where she sat sixth going into the final throw of the day. There she uncorked a beastly heave of 137-06, which moved her into the runner-up position.
“This was such a fun year because of my teammates and coaches,” Moser said. “It’s been all great. My teammates and coaches have been really wonderful and inspirational.”
Moser said there is no chance to sit back and revel in the aftermath of the title run in the 200. There is work to be done to improve that one final spot in the 100 and times to lower.
“I can get better,” Moser said. “I will be working out this summer to get faster. I’ll accept that second place in the 100 for now.”
As for performing on the state’s largest stage, Moser said she continued to be in awe at how many people come down to watch and support all of the athletes who have worked so hard to get there.
“It’s amazing to me to realize how dedicated these people are to show their support to all of us,” Moser said. “I know I am going to remember this moment for a long time.”