Florida Guardsman Runs Into European Championship

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. William Buchanan
  • Florida Air National Guard

The first thing she does on race day is put on music to get pumped up - something fast and upbeat. With tunes playing, she fuels her fine-tuned body with the proper nutrients. After breakfast comes the foam roller to loosen up her muscles for what’s to come.

Once on the running track, she finds a cool spot out of the sun to hydrate. By now, her heart is pounding and adrenaline is pumping. She runs through her warmup routine: form drills, sprint drills and agility movements. The time ticks closer and closer to that starter pistol, but she’s ready.

For sprinters, every second counts, and that includes the seconds leading up to the race.

“It’s anybody’s race on any given day,” said Master Sgt. LaTisha Moulds, Recruiting & Retention Manager for the 101st Air Operations Group. “When I step on the line, I step on with that confidence like, ‘this is mine,’ and I go get it.”

Moulds is schedule to compete in the Air Command Track and Field Championships June 16-23 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Although not stationed in Europe, she was selected to participate as a member of the United States Air Forces in Europe track and field team. There, she will compete in the 100-meter, the 200-meter and the Swedish Relay races.

When asked what drives her desire to run, she said it simply comes down to a love of victory.

“I love winning,” she said. “I love the atmosphere of being around other people who have the same passion and drive for the sport.”

Since USAFE Airmen have priority placement on the team, Moulds’ participation is never guaranteed. Each time the team gathers to compete, Moulds must reapply with her latest run times. The team verifies each applicant based on current competitions to make sure runners continue to perform at a competitive level. She has made the team every time she has applied since 2003.

Not only will Moulds be competing this year, she also earned her place as head coach of the USAFE team.

“I am very excited about that,” Moulds said.

Team USAFE will compete against European air force teams from countries including Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Moulds has also competed three times in the championship for the International Military Sports Council, also known as the Conseil International du Sport Militaire. This global competition includes 135 member nations, and is the highest level of military athletic competitiveness, often including Olympians and world champions.

Moulds said even being selected for the CISM team is rare because an athlete’s times and marks must be close to Olympic standards for that team. She placed seventh in the world in both the 100-meter and the 200-meter races in the 2015 Championship in South Korea.

“I honestly think I will run until my body says, ‘No more!’” Moulds said.

When she’s not breaking records herself, Moulds volunteers as a track and field coach at Rutherford High School in Panama City, Florida. After school, she takes her students through warm ups, daily workouts and works directly with the sprinters in practice and in competitions.

She said a there’s a lot that goes along with coaching. You’re actually mentoring these kids on things that can help them later in life, both on and off the field.

“It’s an awesome opportunity, and I love it,” Moulds said. “I call them all my babies.”

Moulds said it was her high school coach who stoked her passion and drive for running. She said he opened up her eyes to opportunities she didn’t know existed by driving her team to nearby states to put them in front of scouts and recruiters for college teams. One of those opportunities earned her the scholarship that sent her to Delaware State University.

Now, Moulds volunteers to provide similar opportunities for the students she coaches, such as earning scholarships for college or joining the Florida Air National Guard. Moulds said the thing that drives her to keep volunteering and coaching is that she’s inspiring people to be better.

“As a recruiter, you are actually changing people’s lives,” Moulds said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”

For those interested in participating in the Air Force Sports program, visit http://www.myairforcelife.com/sports.