Galena (KTUU) - Jacob Moos is known as one of the best high school runners in Alaska. Winning multiple state championships in cross country running and recently named Alaska's Gatorade Cross-Country runner of the year.
Jacob Moos training on the Galena airport runway.
But making a name for himself in Track and Field hasn't been so easy.
"I definitely think I have a lot more potential than what I've had even this far,” said Moos. “I've been very successful, I think, with minimal resources."
He hasn’t let a lack of opportunity stand in the way of having a successful high school career. "Just always have that goal in mind visualize yourself with your competitors in front of you, visualize that you are trying to beat them," he said.
He's not joking about the visualization part. The 5’ 10” senior is the only person on the Galena High School's track team.
Moos says there are only 20 miles to train on in the village which includes a couple of trails. He estimates he’s covered thousands of miles on the city’s road to the dump.
Living in a village where just about everything including planes —outnumber training partners, Moos had to utilize what he can access. He now trains on the local runway, since his school doesn't have a track.
“Every once in a while there will be a plane that comes by and we will have to wait for it,” said Moos.
Many runways in rural Alaska are gravel, but Galena’s is paved making for the best place in town to run.
“Track is pretty different than cross country, you need specific distances laid out on a smooth flat surface,” said Jon Korta, Head Coach of the Galena High School Track Team.
Moos and Korta admit there isn’t anything special about the runway, but it provides the only flat surface in town. With no access to a real track, Korta says Moos had a lot to learn about running on the real thing.
“First time I took Jake to a (track) meet he had never been on a track before. I had to tell him which direction to run,” said Korta.
As if the odds weren't already stacked against the senior, in order to compete, Moos and his family have to pay their way to track meets.
Spending thousands of dollars each year just to participate.
“It’s a huge financial burden," said Moos, mentioning he was able to raise just over $2,000 this winter.That’s enough money to cover most of the costs for Korta and Moos to travel to two track meets this season.
"Since we were self-funded, the school didn't have a travel budget,” said Korta. “We'd go to regions and if he was successful, we'd got to state."
A plan with little room for error. If you ask Moos — he wouldn’t have it any other way.
"I think it helps, and nobody knows how fast you are that year,” he said,“It also gives you one ultimate goal, and that's all you focus on."
Focus which has paid off in a big way, leading to state titles in the 1600M and 3200M events the past two years.
“You might have all the talent you need, but without the work nothing is going to come out of it," said Moos.
Hard work earning Moos a scholarship to keep running at University of Alaska Anchorage this fall. Where he will join his best friend and Korta’s son, Kaleb, on the UAA Track and Field team.
This spring Moos will attempt to win his third straight state championship in the 1600M and 3200M, looking to possibly set new state records.