This was too close to decide…You be the judge on who was better. Post your answer below!!
#1— WILLIAM OBEA MOORE & WILLIAM REED
William Obea Moore (Pasadenia, Cali) (Muir HS)
- High School: (1994-1997)
-Hold World Youth Record for 400m dash at 45.14 as a sophomore in high school
-Triple gold medalist at 1996 World Junior Championships in Sydney in 4×1, 4×4 and 400m dash.
-placed 7th in semi-finals of 1996 Olympic Trials after projected to potentially make the team.
-signed with University of Southern California (USC) but never made grades to get in
-Attended Pasadena City College, Long Beach City College, and Morehouse College.
-Ended up at Life University (NAIA) but never competed
-involved in gang life and drugs/alcohol in Los Angeles
-been said that psychological pressures forced Obea Moore to withdrawal from several races.
Lindaman’s Take: For die-hard track geeks like me, this one stings a little. William Obea Moore was probably the greatest high school track talent to ever step foot on a track. Growing up through the USATF summer track season, Obea Moore sets numerous national age-group records starting at age 9, all the way up through high school. Competing for the national power track club, The Los Angeles Jets, Obea Moore destroyed any field of competitors he went up against. Obea Moore still holds 6 USATF JO National records after almost 20 years since he finished competing in the Junior Olympics. Obea Moore demonstrated great versatility and range as a runner; from the 100m –> 800m, he was unstoppable. Most notable were his 21.10 and 45.99 times in the 15-16 age group. Also running a mind blowing 47.16 as an 8th grader. Obea Moore is best known for his World Youth Record of 45.14 back in 1995; a time that he ran when he was only a sophomore in high school! That time is still #4 on the all-time list in high school and is still the fastest time by a high school 400m runner in the last 18 years. It has been said that Obea Moore was involved in the gang life of Los Angeles, and that drinking and doing drugs was a part of his life for a long time and his grades suffered. Injuries (hamstring) set him back his senior year in high school, and when he went off to the several colleges to try and recapture that magic and energy that drew monstrous crowds whenever he ran. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for Obea Moore. He almost always withdrew from any race he entered; citing psychological pressures to return to that form that made him invincible in high school was just too much of a feat for him to overcome. We will never know how good Obea Moore could have been but he was certainly, in my opinion, the greatest high school track and field athlete to ever compete.
William Reed (Philadelphia, PA) (Central HS) (No photo available)
- High School: (1985-1988)
- High school PR of 45.17 as a junior (junior class national record)
- defeating future Olympic Champ Steve Lewis in that race (45.76 for Lewis)
- Still holds freshman class national record at 46.55
- Held HS 300m indoor national record of 33.19 (unbanked track), time in which he ran
as a sophomore (was just broke this past indoor season my Michael Cherry)
-did not race at all senior year due to injury
- At the World Junior Championships in Athens, Reed anchored the 4 x 400-meter relay
team in 44.52 split as a sophomore in high school, which is still the fastest high school
- Attended Morehouse College
Lindaman’s Take: The debate still continues on as to who was better in the high school
ranks as the best sprinter ever. William Reed can make a great case as to the best high
school sprinter of all-time. His credentials above speak for themselves. His first three
years of high school was arguably the best anyone has ever seen. Reed broke out as a
freshman by running at 46.55 national freshman class record. His sophomore year was
one of the best season’s by a high school prep with a 300m indoor national record on an
unbanked track at 33.19 and running the fastest ever 400m split by a high school athlete at the World Junior Championships at 44.52; setting at World Junior Record at the time. He followed up his sophomore year with a stellar junior campaign that saw him run at junior class national record of 45.17; a record that still stands today. That race that saw Reed run at 45.17 was the same race where he beat Steve Lewis (45.76), the eventual Olympic Champion. Reed was said to have broken his leg his senior year and was rumored to have fathered a child also. There is speculation that too many people wanted a piece of Reed’s talent and were pulling Reed is several directions to rehab his injury and to get a piece of his fame. He attended Morehouse College but was unable to regain the form
that had people labeling him the next great 400m runner. Drugs and alcohol did not play
a role in his comeback attempt. He is said to be living a successful life in Philadelphia
with his wife and kid.
Obea Moore vs. Reed:
The debate on who was the better runner between the two has been going on for
the past few decades and will go on for decades to come. Both were once-in-a-lifetime
talent that had some unfortunate circumstances and injuries happen to them. The times
that both of them ran in the short and long sprints were comparable to those of athletes
in the collegiate and professional ranks. I chose Obea Moore over Reed for the very
simple reason of his versatility and range that he displaced. Their times in the 200m and
400m were virtually identical with Reed having better relay splits but Obea Moore
having better open 400m times. They both had outstanding sub-21 200m times and ran
the 100m on occasion, but where Obea Moore took the metaphorical “lead” in my mind
was his ability in the 800 meters. I was unable to find any information on if Reed ran any
800 meters, but Obea Moore has been well documented on his success in the 800m.
His PR of 1:49.29 displayed his great range from the sport sprints all the way to middle
distance. Obea Moore also just ran with such ease and was one of the smoothest
runners I’ve seen. William Reed and William Obea Moore had more in common than
just their name, they both had tremendous running abilities that was simply