SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Christian Ford finished fifth in last spring’s Division I State Track and Field Championships in the 200-meter dash.
The Shawnee High School senior has made no bones about his goal this time around — to finish the job this spring as he and his teammates prepare for the 2019 track and field campaign.
When the Indians open the season against St. John’s and Waynesfield-Goshen on March 26, that will begin his quest in earnest.
Everything he does will be to present himself with the best possible chance to be atop the podium at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at The Ohio State University in Columbus on June 1.
“I was fifth last year in the 200-meter dash. I also made it to state in the 100-meter dash but didn’t place. That is my goal, win state in the 200 meters,” Ford said.
Ford has been preparing to do just that ever since his senior year began and began the process to get there.
“I played football in the fall and when that was over, I ran indoor track during the winter. I participated in the New Balance Invitational, I went to an invitational in Kentucky as well,” Ford said. “I have a great idea who some of the guys I will have to beat this spring. Based on what I have seen and competed against, I will have to run well. We have a fast state, especially when you get down there.
“I trained at the Y in the offseason, whether it was lifting weights or sprinting or whatever I needed. The idea is to be running my best at the start of June.”
Ford has already announced he will be attending Youngstown State in the fall but that did not take away his thirst for the title in the least.
“Knowing where I’m going for college hasn’t helped me at all. I am motivating myself to do this,” Ford said. “I ran a 21.6 this winter but am shooting for an under 21.0 time for the spring. That is my personal goal for this season.”
Running in a number of events has its challenges for Ford but it also gives him an opportunity to further work on his “game.”
“Running the 100 helps me stay loose and warmed up, as does running the relays. Even running the 400-meter dash is a help, which I’ve run in the past. Whatever I can do to help and it helps me,” Ford said. “When you run other events, especially when it starts getting hotter, you have to be smart: drink your water and Gatorade, keep yourself hydrated. You don’t want to start cramping. That is true even when it’s not so hot out. You need to get into the right frame of mind about caring for your body, no matter the weather.
“There are days during practice we work on footwork, handoffs of the baton and simple things. We also work on our starts. Those can make a difference, especially when you’re running against other good teams.”
His coach at Shawnee, Mike Lewis, is in the same mindset as his senior charge.
“He is committed to it. If he doesn’t win state this spring, it’s going to be because something drastic happened along the way,” Lewis said. “He has a natural ability. His father was a collegiate sprinter. I don’t know how far he got but he ran in college and he has the same build as his father.”
“Christian trains year round. He is very dedicated to this. He has an incredible work ethic.”
Lewis broke down what the sprinters go through during preparations.
“We go through our warm-ups. We spend around 15-20 minutes doing active stretching before we ever start sprinting. We don’t just work on speed,” Lewis said. “We break the race down into segments, for example, where his footwork is at every step along the way. We break down where his head needs to be, where his arms are and what they are doing. We focus on all of that. We try to go through where he needs to be all during the race so he can be comfortable.”
Lewis said Ford’s best event is the 200 but running in the 100 and 400 races, as well as relays, aid his preparation.
“Christian is extremely self-motivated. We have no one on our team that is even close to him,” Lewis said. “We have a freshman that eventually will get there but Christian will be long gone before he develops to that level. In essence, we have no one that can really push him, so for him, it all comes from within.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0414.