Girls excel under leadership of ‘rocketman’

November 18, 2008 — by Grishma Athvale and Ashley Chou

He owns 13 different colored tuxedoes, 12 pairs of running shoes and is nicknamed the “Rocketman.” He was running sub-5 minute miles a decade before any of us were born. And he just happens to be the new girls’ cross country coach.

Besides the fact that Danny Moon could probably—scratch that—can run faster than 75 percent of the school’s athletes, his quirky personality and lovable spirit have helped the girls’ team this season. Previous coach Peter Jordan moved on to take the position of athletic director.

“I am a firm believer that one must enjoy, laugh and have fun while training for running, regardless of the type of competition,” said Moon. “This philosophy will prepare athletes to apply it to the rest of their life’s journey in whatever they pursue.”

His philosophy has pushed him to excel past boundaries most people only dream of. He ran 128 straight sub-5 minute officially timed miles over the course of 26 years, with his personal best at 4:35. But here’s the catch: Moon just turned 61.

“Coaching is so very gratifying for me,” said Moon. “I’m able to pass on my many experiences and knowledge to each athlete while actually having fun with running.”

Moon’s years of practice has also given him the skill of intuition—that is, knowing exactly what to say to soothe the flurry of nerves before a race. His motto every race has always been “smile big for the camera,” along with a small, reassuring reminder for the girls to run their own race and no one else’s.

This tactic worked its magic at the Saratoga Scrimmage on Sept. 18th. The varsity girls placed second behind Lynbrook, with a total of 66 points.

“It really gave me an extra boost when running, and it was nice to have Coach Moon cheering us on during the race,” said sophomore Raisa Rahim.

Luckily for the team, no major wrong turns were made on the course like last year. Senior Katie Nast and junior Karen Wai placed second and fourth, respectively, behind Lynbrook 800 meter star Cindy Huang.

Moon hopes that by the end of the season, every athlete will have come to love the sport and come back ready for more the next season.

“I really enjoy seeing all the athletes bond and becoming successful with in themselves which always brings a smile to their faces and mine too,” said Moon.

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