What's better than defending your county title? Doing it with a fractured big toe, of course.
After injuring the extremity during a game of Frisbee in the fall, North Babylon's Kris Moran faced an important decision -- take the winter season off or run though pain.
"We ran at a low key Armory meet early in the season. I ran a 4:40 in the mile and couldn't even do the 4 x 8 because my foot hurt and the fitness wasn't there," he said. "I was debating taking the season off to let the foot heal. But sticking with it is paying off."
It certainly has. Moran ran 9 minutes, 27.05 seconds in the 3,200 at the Suffolk Large School championship on Feb. 2, holding onto the title he won last season. Two weeks later, Moran finished second in the New Balance boys High School mile at the Millrose Games, finishing in 4:13.86.
That time is the best in the state and eighth in the nation, according to the website milesplit.com.
"I wanted to stay somewhere in the middle and have a good finish," Moran said of the race. "The first two or three laps, I was dead last. The pace was going a little too slow, so I moved up to about fourth or fifth. With two or three laps left, I was jockeying for second."
Saturday, Moran finished second in 9:19.89 in the 3,200 at the state championships at Cornell.
"It went out pretty slow," Moran said. "I had to take the lead for the first mile, then Sibby [Hanson of Arlington] made a move with about five laps to go. It wasn't my best day, but I'm all right with second place. It's a big honor to come here and run against some of the best in the state. I'm happy with how I did and I'm happy to be here."
Despite the pain he feels during practice, Moran said his toe isn't much of a problem once the starting gun goes off.
"I really don't feel it much because the adrenaline is flowing," he said. "I might feel it a little in the beginning, but once the race starts unfolding, it's not a factor."
Four days after winning the large school 3,200 title, Moran signed a letter of intent to run track at Notre Dame in the fall.
"I've been a Notre Dame fan all my life," Moran said. "When I went on my visit, I realized that the coaching staff and the facilities are world class. The combination of education and athletics is, I felt, unparalleled to any university. It was a great fit for me."