Hurdler Moses Lewis doesn't hesitate for a second when asked to namehis favorite track star.
The 11-year-old has eyes -- and ears -- only for Carl Lewis, the star of the 1988 Olympics. The two aren't related, but Moses soaks up words of wisdom from the elder Lewis as he would from an older brother.
"When he talks about thinking it's his race, I think of the hurdles as my race," said Moses, who is competing this weekend at The Athletics Congress Junior National Championships in Chapel Hill, N.C.
A member of the Harford County Gliders track club, the Edgewood youngster devours every book and tidbit of advice by the Olympic gold medalist he can find.
"He says you should just pretend you're racing against yourself. You're going for a time. Don't worry about everybodyelse," said Moses. "He says don't give up and don't make excuses."
The inspiration is paying off. Moses is about to finish the most successful of his two seasons with the Gliders. He won the TAC regionalqualifying hurdles race in 14.67 seconds.
In addition to qualifying for the TAC junior nationals in both the 80-meter hurdles and the high jump, Moses also qualified in the high jump for the Amateur Athletic Union junior nationals next weekend in Tallahassee, Fla.
Coach Ray Hruz said he expects the youngster to improve rapidly over the next few years.
"Moses is probably my most talented of the group of 11-12-year-olds. Everything he tackles, he does well," said Hruz.
"He has the most potential in the high jump and hurdles. He's quickand strong. Once his coordination gets even better with age, he's going to be very good, especially at the high jump."
Moses has jumped as high as 4-foot-9. He hopes to clear 5-foot-2 in Chapel Hill.
Several other Gliders also qualified for either the TAC or AAU juniornationals. Kristin Hulbert, 11, is also competing this weekend in Chapel Hill in the 800 meters.
None of the Gliders, including Moses,will make the trip to Tallahassee, although Brad Hulbert, 13, qualified in the high jump and triple jump, and Kristy Hiser, 12, qualifiedin the discus.
Brad, a freshman at Joppatowne High this fall, is sidelined with a back injury, but Moses and Kristy will skip the expensive Tallahassee trip in favor of next weekend's 26th Annual Governor's Youth Track and Field Meet at Parkdale High School in Prince George's County.
For Moses, one junior national championship this yearis enough. The trip pulls him even with his cousin, Kevin Smith, whofinished seventh in the 9-10 high jump at the AAU junior nationals in San Antonio two years ago.
"I'm happy for him," said Kevin. "I hope he does good. I hope he does better than me when I went to nationals."
Track has been a family affair for Kevin and Moses. Both live with Kevin's mother, Sandra Smith, who ran track in high school. All three of the other youngsters in Sandra Smith's household are also involved in track.
Kevin followed his sister Robyn Smith to the track. Robyn, a recent Edgewood High graduate, took third place at the state championships in triple jump. Moses' sister Theresa Lewis, 9, narrowly missed qualifying for the junior nationals in the shot put, and brother David Steward, 7, sprints and high jumps.
Sandra Smith has encouraged all of her youngsters to participate in athletics.
"It keeps them out of trouble," she said. "They get to socialize, which is very high on their list, and they have good role models and make good secure friendships. They also learn to care about each other. They cheer each other. When things don't go well they have their own cheering section still telling them, 'You did great.' "
Moses and Kevin joined the Gliders two years ago but sat out the 1990 season. "I just felt like this year, I wanted to come back and try it again," said Kevin. Moses did, too.
Ever since they started track, Moses and Kevin have opted for the same events. The two, born 30 days apart,have a natural rivalry, although Sandra Smith said they have turned it into a positive force.
"The first year they were extremely competitive. That was bad, because they were developing attitude problems. This year, they've worked that out and they work together. I guess they're growing up," said Sandra Smith.
Track is also a family affair for the Hulberts. In addition to Brad and Kristin, Bethany, 7, and Todd, 8, also race. Their father, Ben Hulbert, chauffeurs them backand forth from their Joppatowne home to the Bel Air track several times a week.
"Kristin is going to be the next girl high school stareverybody's talking about," said Hruz. "Now there's Jenny Howard andThori Staples, but Kristin is going to be an outstanding middle distance runner."
Although she has run the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 35seconds, Kristin hopes to break 2:30 by the end of this season. Thatwould have placed her in the top five or six at Harford County high school championships, said Hruz, who also coaches track at Bel Air High.