UA Hurdler is Making Her Dreams a Reality

UA junior Georganne Moline has overcome injuries and obstacles and now has a chance to represent her country and school in the Olympic Games and become and All-American.
June 8, 2012
Georganne Moline
Georganne Moline

Junior hurdler Georganne Moline, from Phoenix, entered the 2012 outdoor track and field season as a two-time All-Pac-10 selection in the 400-meter hurdles and the 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships runner-up in the 400-meter run.

But the success has not come easily for Moline. In each year of her career at Arizona, she has suffered some sort of injury, preventing her and hurdler's coach Fred Harvey to really train how they wanted to.

A month prior to the 2012 indoor season, Moline injured her knee and was forced to sit out the entire season. After enduring another injury and working her way back to 100 percent, Moline still had reservations heading into the outdoor portion of the year.

"I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect," Moline said. "Coach Harvey had faith in me and he told me I was going to get better. I had so many doubts, I mean my competitors had so much on me. They were healthy and in shape and then I was like 'look at me,' but Coach Harvey helped a lot."

If Moline was nervous, it was hard to tell from an observer's standpoint. In her first race of the year at the Willie Williams Classic, she ran the 400 meters in 54.13, the second-fastest time of her career for a first-place finish.

Two weeks later in the Jim Click Shootout, Moline ran her first race in the 400-meter hurdles. She clocked a time of 56.02 which broke a 16-year old school record. At that point, it was the fastest time of her career and the fastest time in the country.

"I was gaining confidence," Moline said. "I had to erase the injury from my head. If I kept looking back it was going to effect me mentally and then in the end it would effect my physically. I had to just keep moving forward and not worry about it. It was definitely a nice start to the season, though."

Moline continued her blistering pace, winning the 400-meter hurdles at the Stanford Invitational and anchoring the 4x400-meter relay team. However, she was somewhat disappointed with her performance that weekend as she felt she could run a better race. She wanted to run faster and she knew she could.

She returned to the track for the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays, where she competed against professional and collegiate athletes. She started the meet by running 52.92, a personal-best time in the 400 meters and the fourth-best time in school history.

But Moline really opened some eyes after her race in the 400-meter hurdles after shattering her school record, running 55.25 and winning yet again. At the time, that was the top collegiate mark and the second-fastest time in the world. It also met the Olympic Games "A" Standard, (55.50).

"To meet the (Olympic Games) 'A' Standard was beyond satisfying," Moline said. "It was satisfying to please coach Harvey, and that was really gratifying for me. I didn't have to do anything else; I already met the Olympic Games 'A' Standard so I can just run now. The most important thing to me was pleasing Coach Harvey because he always believed in me and helped me so much."

Heading into the Pac-12 Championships, Moline felt no sense of relaxation or satisfaction. She had run in the conference championships before, but never as the favorite. She did not disappoint. She broke her own school record again in the 400-meter hurdles, winning the race with a personal-best time of 55.12. Currently, that time is 11th in the world and the third-fastest in the U.S. (any level of competitor). She also clocked a split-time of 51.66 on the Pac-12 Championship 4x400-meter relay team.

She entered the NCAA Championships without losing a single race all year, in any event. Admittedly, she says that at times it can be difficult to remain calm and stay confident, regardless of the success she has had.

"It's funny because I had nothing to lose at the beginning of the year," Moline said. "Nobody knew me or knew what I could do. But now, I have so much pressure on myself and at times I get caught up in trying to please everybody else. I need to work on that because it could be a problem. Coach Harvey always tells me not to change anything; to just have fun and the success and fast times will come."

In the semifinal of the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships, Moline was in first place with two hurdles remaining. At the second-to-last hurdle, she fell over after hitting the hurdle with her trail leg. She took eighth in her heat and did not advance to the final.

The entire track and field program was crushed for her.

However, Moline did not sulk; she returned to the track the following day and anchored the women's 4x400-meter relay. They clocked a school-record time of 3:31.06 with Moline running a split of 51.76. They took second place and will run in the final on Saturday at 12:50 p.m.

With 2012 being an Olympic year and with the Olympic Trials on the horizon (June 22 to July 1), the NCAA Championships were seen as a chance to gain confidence heading into the upcoming races for Moline. Now, she will take her difficult experience at the NCAA Championships and turn it into motivation to win with her teammates on the 4x400-meter relay team and to make Team USA for the Olympics.

Since she has already met the "A" Standard, Moline does not have to worry about running any specific times anymore. If she earns a third-place finish or better at the Olympic Trials, she will make Team USA for the London Olympic Games.

"I could not be more excited for this to happen," Moline said. "(Looking at the Olympics) I never could have dreamed for this, I would always look at the 2016 Olympics as a goal for myself. But now, I'm going to the 2012 Olympic Trials and having met the 'A' standard, it's a dream come true and something I did not expect."

Moline is far more than just an "all-conference runner" now and people certainly know who she is. She had been hampered by injuries and never tasted success at the highest level, but by persevering and never losing sight of her goals, she has a chance to represent her country and school in the Olympic Games and become and All-American.