Growing up, Christal Mosley gained confidence racing against her brother.
Four years younger, Elijah couldn’t keep up with the to-be Kansas great. But when he got to high school, that started to change. And in 2019, it would be no competition. Like his sister before him, Elijah Mosley is a state champion in the 400 meters.
Elijah won the event on Saturday in 48.29 seconds. It was the fastest time among all classes at the 2019 state track meet.
Last year, Christal finished up her high school career at Wichita Southeast. She won the girls Class 6A 200 meters at 24.34 seconds after setting the state record a year earlier at 24.20. She won the 400 meters at 56.07 second and broke the state record in the prelims at 54.26. She helped Southeast to a third-place finish in the 4x100-meter relay at 48.48 and a third gold medal for Christal came in the 4x400 at 4:00.38.
But Christal said despite her many achievements at Southeast, she was beyond proud of her little brother. She said she remembers how it felt to win a high school state championship and that she hasn’t felt anything like it since.
“I was so excited when he finished,” she said. “I couldn’t have been more nervous before it started, but I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
Through 200 meters, Arkansas City’s AJ Wilson, last year’s Class 4A champion, led Elijah by about 20 yards. The race wasn’t close, but in the third 100 meters, the Heights sophomore found another gear.
“He took off, and I was scared that I couldn’t catch him,” Mosley said. “I took off, too, but I guess I took off a little faster.”
By the time Elijah crossed the finish line, Wilson was hardly in the picture almost 2 full seconds behind. The Heights section went wild; for the Falcons coaches, it was a prophecy fulfilled.
The Mosleys moved houses during the summer to the north side of Wichita. When Elijah got to Heights, the coaches knew what he was — a young runner who had burned out in the preliminaries at the state meet as a freshman — but they saw what he could be.
“My coach told me he would turn me into a state champion,” Elijah said. “He told me 49s and 48s hurt. I started running until I couldn’t feel my legs, and when it started to hurt, that’s when I knew I was getting there.”
Heights and Southeast are City League rivals. In basketball, the two go back and forth and have for decades. Christal said seeing her brother in Falcons gear was a bizarre sight, but she has gotten used to it.
For Elijah, it took some getting used to as well.
“They trained me harder than other schools have,” he said. “They will bully you about coming from Southeast, but now it’s like, ‘You’re a Falcon now.’ “
Elijah quickly proved he was worthy of the Heights bib. At the Falcons’ City League meet, he won the 400 at 49.90 seconds. He was the only sophomore in the final heat.
A week later at the 5A regional meet, Elijah got better. He won the regional meet at 49.27 and was the No. 1 qualifier among all Class 5A runners. Only one other runner in Kansas was better that weekend.
But Saturday was a different animal.
With his legendary sister watching from around the finish line, Elijah had one of the top sophomore times in Kansas among all classifications all-time.
“I talk to him all the time, but I really don’t need to talk to him too much about track,” Christal said. “He knows so much. He knows what he has to do. Honestly, he’s already got all the tricks.”
Christal is now running at Barton County Community College. She has dipped into the 22s in the 200 and the 52s in the 400, far better than her record times last year. She said knowing what her brother already is as a 16-year-old champion, he could be even better by 2021.
“A sophomore running a 48?” she said. “It can’t get any better than that.”