by Jill Cousins
Winter Springs High School grad David Moodie is on his way to the Ivy League’s Brown University
As a member of Keeth Elementary School’s running club back in 2006, David Moodie wasn’t planning to compete in the last cross-country meet of the year. But he changed his mind at the last minute and managed to win his very first trophy in the one-mile race. It was a life-changing moment for the nine-year-old third grader.
“He was so happy,” Michelle Flynch says of her son. “After winning that trophy, he never wanted to come in second – ever. David wanted to win trophies, not just medals or ribbons. That became his goal.”
David, now 18, doesn’t remember as much about that day as his mother, but one thing is indisputable: David Moodie is a champion… in every sense of the word.
David recently graduated from Winter Springs High School with a laundry list of accomplishments. He was a two-time state wrestling champion, a first-team all-district linebacker on the football team, and the top sprinter on the track team. Bright House Sports Network honored David as Seminole County’s Scholar Athlete of the Year as a junior and as Seminole County’s Wrestler of the Year as a senior.
A member of the National Honor Society, David finished his high-school career with a 4.255 weighted grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) and ranked 19th in his graduating class of 521 students.
David, who also holds a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do, will take his athletic and academic skills to Brown University this fall, where he will play football and study biology or pre-med at the prestigious Ivy League school.
“I think I’ve always been competitive,” says David, now a strapping 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, “especially since I started doing martial arts when I was young, and I became very athletic. I just want to be great. I don’t like being average.”
David’s athletic success is even more impressive considering he grew up without his father, Herbert Moodie, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2004 when David was seven years old and his mom was pregnant with sister Mikayla, now ten.
“David really didn’t get involved in [team] sports until he was in high school, because he didn’t have a father around to show him how to play baseball, basketball, or football,” Michelle says. “But he started doing martial arts in kindergarten. And that was all he knew.”
As far back as Michelle can remember, though, David loved to run.
“When he took his first steps,” she recalls, “I would let go of him and he ran straight to his dad. When he was in elementary school, I would let David out of the car at the mailbox, and he would run home and try to beat my car. He sprinted the whole time, running as fast as he could. He was a pretty fast boy!”
David’s earliest memories involve running around the family’s house in the Bronx, New York, where he was born. David says he was influenced by the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog.
“That was my favorite video game,” David says. “I was fascinated with all the running he did. I was running around everywhere. Nothing could stop me from running.”
Shortly after the family moved to Winter Springs in 2001, David’s parents signed him up for a T-ball league. That only lasted one year. David didn’t like the fact that there wasn’t much running involved in baseball. But when he started taekwondo classes at age six, David found his home away from home.
Michelle is certain David’s involvement in martial arts – and his relationship with his teacher, Master Rodney Robertson – is what enabled David to bounce back from the tragic loss of his father.
“His martial arts instructor took David under his wings and raised him to be the man he is,” Michelle says. “He taught him to be respectful and disciplined.”
Master Robertson says teaching David was no chore.
“I was just blessed that I could help,” he says. “David always had a natural passion for trying, and he had desire, which is the root to success. You can teach a lot of things, but you can’t teach a child to care, and David always cared. He would do whatever we told him to do, and then he would ask if there was anything else he could do. David is an amazing kid, and he deserves everything that comes his way.”
At the martial arts studio, David learned the importance of having a quality body, a quality mind, and a quality heart. He learned to eat wisely and exercise daily, and to always focus on the positive.
By the time he got to Winter Springs High School, David was much more physically mature and athletic than a typical 14-year-old freshman. He earned a spot on the freshman football team as a defensive end and soon caught the eye of wrestling coach Scott Gomrad, who would pull David out of his seventh period weightlifting class to show him wrestling highlights on his computer. It took a while, but David finally gave in and joined the team.
“David is a great kid, and he has been an awesome team leader,” Scott says. “He’s what I call the total package: He’s got the academic talent, the athletic talent, he’s very charismatic, and he’s a good citizen. In every aspect of his life, he excels.”
Despite his outstanding credentials, college football coaches were not knocking on David’s door. The wrestling coaches at Duke and Stanford scouted him, but football recruiters were not interested − that is, until his track coach and family friend, Ocky Clark, stepped in and called a contact he had at Brown University. The Brown coach met with David and offered to sign him on the spot as a running back, a position David never played in high school.
“What makes David so special is his perseverance, and his mom is his backbone,” says Ocky, who is also a dean at WSHS. “She had to be a strong disciplinarian, because she had to be the mother and father.”
David says he is looking forward to the challenge of playing running back in college – after all, he still loves to run – and would like to pursue a career in medicine. Someday, instead of winning trophies and championship rings, David would like to be successful enough to purchase one of the fancy cars he covets, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini.
“I just want to be a good student and a good athlete, and after college, I want to go to medical school,” David says. “I want to make enough money to get anything I want and help my mom out, too.”
His former coaches have no doubt David will, once again, succeed.
“David is a very bright kid, and he hasn’t come close to reaching his full potential in football,” Ocky says. “I think an Ivy League school like Brown will give him the perfect opportunity to excel. Like my favorite Biblical character, David will continue to go out there and slay giants.”
Photo Credit: The Canovas Photography