Matthew Moorer takes aim at Michigan track history

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Matthew Moorer

Ypsilanti – Matthew Moorer put himself on the map a year ago during his junior season at Ypsilanti Lincoln when he won the Division 1 state championship in the 400 meters.

Moorer improved dramatically from his sophomore year to his state championship run of a year ago, going from a 14th-place time of :50.50 in 2016 to :47.42.

“He’s a phenomenal kid and over the past couple of years has progressed a lot faster than a lot of kids that I’ve seen in the 19 years of my coaching,” said Ypsilanti Lincoln coach Kevin Davis of Moorer. “His work ethic is impeccable. He set out goals for himself and told me what he wanted to do, and he did everything the coaches told him to do and he started being successful.”

Moorer’s specialty is the 400, but he also runs the 200 and the 100 and last year broke the Lincoln school record in all three in one meet, going 10.84 in the 100, 21.6 in the 200 and 47.4 in the 400.

“Coming off of that we went to the New Balance Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he finished 12th in the nation and from that point is when all the college coaches started calling and e-mailing,” Davis said of Moorer.

Moorer, who didn’t run track his freshman year because he didn’t feel he was fast enough, decided to run as a sophomore to get faster for football. Now, he wants to leave as the fastest 400 runner in state history.

“This year the goal I’ve set for myself is to be the best that’s come out of Michigan and set the state record in the 400,” said Moorer. “I definitely feel I have a shot to do that.”

The lowest 400 time in state championship history is 46.6 by Omar Davidson of Mt. Clemens in 1984.

Moorer earlier this month signed with Baylor for track. He also was offered by Michigan, Oklahoma State, Connecticut and Illinois.

Moorer has already made memories his senior year by helping Lincoln win its first district title in football in a 21-19 triumph over Wyandotte, setting the tone with a 51-yard kickoff return, then scoring on a 70-yard TD run.

Moorer, who played receiver, slot, safety and cornerback, scored off an interception return from his secondary position in a regional final loss to Detroit King.

“He probably had as good a year defensively as any defensive back we’ve had,” said Lincoln head coach Chris Westfall of Moorer. “We played Bedford and he probably had 25 tackles. He was physical, just a very good player.”

Pioneer’s Foster running strong

Ann Arbor Pioneer junior Nick Foster is working hard to win the 1,600 meters state championship this spring after finishing third a year ago.

Foster ran a 4:13.57 in the 1,600 meters last year, finishing behind Rockford’s Cole Johnson (4:08.60), who returns, and Cameron Cooper (4:08.96) of Oak Park, who has graduated.

“Nick Foster won the state championship in cross country and beat Cole Johnson, and Nick’s running really, really well so he’ll be a strong contender in the 1,600 and 3,200,” said Pioneer veteran coach Don Sleeman.

Foster had an outstanding fall, helping Pioneer win the cross country state championship by topping the field, including Johnson, with a time of 15:16.1 in the 3.1 mile course at Michigan International Speedway.

Foster improved 44 seconds from his 16-minute run during his sophomore year to set the school record at MIS.

Sleeman thinks Foster can break the school record in the 1,600 (Nate Karr, 4:08.8, 2010).

“Nick’s run faster than that (4:08.8) in the relay, but until he does it outdoors it won’t be recognized,” said Sleeman. “He (Foster) has every indoor school record in the distance events right now – 800, 1,600, 3,200.”

Foster just wants to continue to improve so he’s ready for the 1,600-meter state championship June 2.

“I’m trying to not focus on times, but my goal obviously is to win the state championship in both the 1,600 and 3,200.”

Belleville’s Bush has yet to compete

Connor Bush was a freshman phenom last season at Plymouth when he won the Division 1 state championship in the high jump at 6-6.

Bush has since transferred to Belleville, where he played basketball this past winter, helping his team earn a trip to the Class A state quarterfinals.

Bush, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, has continued his basketball season while playing AAU ball for the Reach Legends team based out of Detroit with his teammates including Harlond Beverly of Southfield Christian and Chandler Turner of Detroit Renaissance.

Bush was with his Reach Legends team this past weekend while competing in a tournament in Dallas, but plans to join Belleville’s track team soon to get ready to defend his state title.

“I just want to do it again, win the high jump state championship,” Bush said. “One of my goals is to break the school record, which is 6-10, then go and compete for the state championship.”

Bush says his track work has helped in basketball.

“It actually helps a lot,” said Bush. “On the basketball court I can almost get my neck over the rim. My vertical is 43.5.”