One year later, in girls cross country, it’s Clovis North and a Moffett again for The Bee’s Runner of the Year.
Only this time, it’s Lauren Moffett, a junior, a Central Section Division I champion and a CIF State top 10 finisher — the same trail blazed by sister Leigh, now a freshman runner at Dartmouth.
That, however, is where the near duplicate bios cease.
They have different running styles, with different running strengths and, above all, Lauren makes clear, they have different personalities: “We’re completely different people, really not the same at all. Leigh stays home on Friday nights doing homework. But me? I’ll be like, ‘Dad, can I have a later curfew? I’ll be out of the house all weekend.
Never miss a local story.
“And she’s always known what she wanted to do. She wants to be a veterinarian. She knows where she wants to live. She has it all planned out. I’m, uh, I’ll see what happens. I really don’t know what I’m going to do.”
What Lauren Moffett would like to do is wipe out her sister’s school records, and she’s on pace.
Leigh finished in a school-record 17 minutes, 51 seconds on Woodward Park’s 3.1-mile course as a junior.
Lauren ran 17:45.
Leigh lowered her school standard to 17:25 as a senior. Only Buchanan’s Hagen Reedy (16:59, 2012) and Mission Prep-San Luis Obispo’s Jordan Hasay (17:02, 2005) have run faster in section history.
Lauren’s progression — 19:03 as a freshman, 18:12 as a sophomore and the 17:45 at the section finals this season — suggests she’ll blow by her sister’s mark next fall.
“We don’t talk about it much,” Lauren says, “but she’s happy for me when I beat her records; she wants me to beat them.”
The younger sister says she hasn’t felt pressured to do so: “I don’t mind it. I want to be my own person, but it’s also not bad to be compared to her at times because she is Leigh Moffett.”
Consecutive sibling sensations atop The Bee’s honor roll in cross country isn’t unprecedented.
Madera South brothers Jose (2012) and Eduardo (2013) Herrera were Bee boys Runners of the Year. And Eduardo, still only a junior, continues to crush his brother’s standards.
In the case of the Moffetts, the 5-foot-6 Lauren is 2 inches shorter, but quicker, allowing for faster stretch runs.
She ran a 57-second, 400-meter split on the Broncos’ 1,600 relay in track and field last spring. And her 5:00.39 1,600 tied for seventh all-time in the section for a sophomore, according to historian Ron Blackwood.
Leigh Moffett’s 10:35.15 in the 3,200 is No. 6 all-time in the section.
For all her individual accolades, Lauren cherishes nothing more than the section D-I team championship Clovis North won in mid-November at Woodward Park, snapping Buchanan’s 14-year reign: “The best day of my life, I think. I could not sleep that night, I was so excited. It was such a great experience, an amazing feeling.”
It occurred only a week after Buchanan had dominated the Broncos in the Tri-River Athletic Conference finals. And it was following that race that Moffett asserted herself at an impromptu Friday evening team pow-wow.
“Lauren had run well,” Clovis North coach Jason Lienau says, “but the bulk of the team ran not a little off, but way off. After they got back to school, Lauren wanted to go to Starbucks with the girls and just talk.
“I didn’t know what was said, but I thought about it all weekend and I had a feeling she said the right things; I just knew she’s got that kind of head on her shoulders. And, on Monday, I decided not to say much to the girls, confident that Lauren had taken care of it. I give her a lot of credit.”