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"I want to be a tractor"

SPIKES meets Team USA athlete and Oregon Duck Ashlee Moore. The 19-year-old multi-eventer tells us why she’s always wanted to be a tractor; why Eugene is THE place to be; and why the heptathlon can be so cruel.

Tractor and field

“I started track when I was five. I was sitting at a high school track meet waiting for my brother – who was a ball boy for the football team – and I turned to my mom and said 'I want to be a tractor' and she didn’t know what I meant. I kept pointing at the people running and she was like, 'oh, a track star!'

“My first club was ‘Feel The Heat’ track club. When I first started, I was the only little kid on the team. It was full of adults. My coach at the time had never coached kids but he told my mom 'I like kids, so bring her out!'

“I fell in love with it from the beginning. Racing was fun. I’ve always been extremely competitive person, so it just felt natural to me.”

A Duck's life

“I’ll be at the University of Oregon in the fall. I ran my very first US age-group nationals here in 2004. From then, it was always in the back of my mind that I would love to go up here, run here, and be a part of the US team and the history here.” 

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Moore (centre-left) runs the bend for Team USA at Hayward Field

“I’m from Chandler, Arizona, where track doesn’t get that much recognition, and all over the world people don’t know a lot about it. Here, I’ve been in the newspapers a few times and just going down the street people have been 'oh I saw you in the newspaper'. Track is IT out here, and it’s awesome.

“Competing here [at Hayward Field] is awesome with the community and fan supoort. They wanna see a good race, they wanna see fast times, and I think they want it just as bad as we do.

“When you hit that home stretch and you here the crowd… I got goosebumps. I can’t wait to be up here and be a part of this team.”

Slumber parties

“To be completely honest, sleeping is like my favourite thing. I could sleep all day if I really wanted to.”

Moore t-shirts

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Family tees: As worn by the Moores in Oregon

“We have a family group message. They were trying to figure out, for like two weeks, what kind of saying they can do. It’s good to be able to look up and see ‘ooh there’s ten people all in white shirts, that’s my family’. It was really fun. I enjoyed it.”

It’s hard being a heptathlete

“In Sacramento [where Moore won the junior heptathlon at the US champs], when it came to the 800m my coach [Tim O'Neill] said to me ‘you know if you run 2:22, you’ll break the national record’. 

“I was like, ‘coach, my PR is 2:29, what are you talking about?’ And he was like ‘I’m just letting you know, it’s there. You can do it’.

“It was kinda scary to run that fast to me: oh jeez. So I went and talked to him right before the race and I told him: I wanna run comfortable. He was like, well whatever you do, don’t go running a 2:35. And I went and ran a 2:34! 

“I mean, there’s a first time for everything. It definitely taught me a lesson. No matter what, always go for it.

“That’s what I did here [in Eugene, at the Oregon 2014 World Junior Championships]. Again, I would have broken the national record with a 2:22 again, so I just went for it out here. It was definitely good – for about 500 metres – and then it hit me and I died hard. But at least I know that I tried.

“I saw my time [2:31] and I was like, oh, great… I was just hoping I could have PR’d or ran under 30. My coach tells me it’s hard to run a good 800m if you haven’t had the pre season training. I’ve played basketball for four years, so I’ve never had the pre season, or weightlifting training.”

Up next

“I would love to make another world team. There’s the Thorpe Cup for the multis. Colleigately, I would love to win PAC-12s as a freshman. That’s my main goal. And then, I’ve never done an indoor season. So I’m excited and nervous for that.

“I definitely want to break 6000pts next year, and I definitely know I can.”