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Ford has eyes on junior championship

| Courtesy URL

Photo By Marvin Pfeiffer / Stone Oak Weekly 

Johnson's Robert Ford, center, takes off with other competitors in the 800-meter run during the Region IV-5A and Region IV-4A track and field meets at Heroes Stadium in April.

There have been no summer doldrums on the track for Robert Ford, a recent graduate of Johnson High School who is heading to the University of Southern California this fall.

Johnson has stayed busy since winning a silver medal in May in the Class 5A 800-meter run at the UIL State Track and Field Championship in Austin.

Ford competed in the prestigious Brooks PR Invitational June 21 in Seattle. He finished third in the 800.

This weekend, he heads to Eugene, Oregon, where he will compete in the 800 at the USA Track & Field Junior Nationals. He's hoping to qualify for the International Association of Athletics Federations' World Junior Championships that are set for July 22-27 in Eugene.

In Seattle, Ford finished third with a time of 1 minute, 51.17 seconds. Finishing ahead of him were Derek Holdsworth of Lafayette, Virginia, (1:49.98) and Myles Marshall of Kingwood, Texas (1:51.02). Marshall, competing for Humble Kingwood, won the gold over Ford at the state meet this year.

“It was an honor, definitely, just to be around athletes of that caliber,” he said.

Ford, who aimed at running faster than 1:50, which would be a personal best, said the race didn't play out the way he wanted. The lead pack held back, and no one wanted to take charge because the wind was gusty. Ford said he stayed back because he didn't want the wind to sap his energy while others drafted behind him.

“No one really wanted to take it out,” Ford said. “We just sat back and left it to our kicks.”

Ford had one day to prepare for the race in Seattle. For this weekend's race, he will leave for Eugene on Wednesday afternoon and doesn't compete until Saturday night. Ford said that should be plenty of time to acclimate to the conditions.

Ford hopes to meet the qualifying standards for the junior world meet. He must run at least a 1:50.50 and finish in the top three this weekend in order to earn a spot.

After that, it's on to USC.

Ford earned two state medals in track. As a junior, Ford finished third in the 800 with a 1:51.50, which is the Greater San Antonio record for high schools.

“I'm pretty content with what I did in high school,” Ford said. “I don't have any regrets. I'm looking forward to changing up the training, head out West and trying something new.”


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