Carrollton sprinter and running back Broderick Snoddy (left) stands with trainer Robbie Ridley on the track at West Georgia before a training session on Tuesday. Snoddy will travel to California next week to compete in the National Junior Olympics Track & Field meet. Snoddy won the 100- and 200-meter events at the Regional meet earlier this month in Greensboro, N.C.

by Aaron Kraut/Times-Georgian

Broderick Snoddy has big hopes for next week’s National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, and for good reason.

He’s coming off individual GHSA state titles in the 100- and 200-meter events, a scholarship-earning performance at Middle Tennessee State’s football camp and a summer in which improved mechanics have helped shed crucial tenths of a second off his times.

The rising senior football and track star at Carrollton has distinguished himself as one of the fastest sprinters in the state and region. Now, he has an opportunity to take that talent to a national level. The meet will take place next Tuesday through Sunday in Sacramento, Calif.

It’s the final major event of what has been a hectic summer. When Snoddy returns to Carrollton, he’ll head to two-a-days in preparation for football season.

“Of course,” Snoddy answered, when trainer Robbie Ridley asked him if he expected to win. “I want to break 21 (seconds).”

Snoddy ran a personal best 21.17-second 200-meter sprint to win the event at the Region Championships in Greensboro, N.C., earlier this month. Ridley said he thinks Snoddy has the potential to get into the 20-second range. Craig Musselwhite, Carrollton’s boys track coach, feels the same way.

“He’s got the talent,” Ridley said. “It’s just a matter of where he runs at and the conditions of the track that day. That’s his goal, to break 21 seconds, which is pretty dag gone good.”

Snoddy works with Ridley at the track at West Georgia three days a week, in the evening. Those sessions usually come after a morning of football workouts with the Trojans.

“I’m just in awe,” said Ridley, who attempted to stay involved with both sprinting and football as an athlete. Ridley played professional indoor football and narrowly missed qualifying for the 1996 Olympic Track & Field Trials.

“I didn’t know how it was gonna turn out at Regions,” Ridley said. “I knew the training had been good, but considering he’s playing both, I wasn’t sure. I tried it and it was rough.”

Snoddy came through in Greensboro, winning the 200-meter and the 100-meter with another personal best time — 10.6 seconds. Those were both improvements. At the GHSA state championships in May, Snoddy ran a 10.69-second 100-meter dash and a 21.46-second 200-meter dash.

Even after that success, Musselwhite said Snoddy could run faster with some mechanical adjustments. This summer, he’s focused on those things — the starts, arm motions and breathing techniques that have meant significant improvement.

“It’s amazing how much you do in less than 10 seconds,” Ridley said. “People think you just go out there and run. And it’s all connected. If your start is not OK, your finish is not gonna be OK.”

Ridley and Snoddy reviewed tape to correct some of Snoddy’s mistakes. He used to pump his arms loosely in front of his body during sprints. Now, he keeps them straight, a seemingly miniscule adjustment that has meant everything in terms of improving his time.

Earlier this month, that improvement paid dividends in a different setting. Ridley took Snoddy to Middle Tennessee’s football camp. Snoddy, a running back for Carrollton, injured his ankle last football season and was having trouble earning recognition from college recruiters.

He had yet to receive a scholarship offer. He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the Blue Raiders’ camp. Middle Tennessee offered him a scholarship soon afterward.

“Now, it’s like a whole burden is lifted,” Ridley said. “It’s like, ‘OK, I got my first scholarship offer. I don’t have to stress out anymore.’”

Snoddy attributed his attention grabbing 40-yard dash time to his sprinting background, specifically a breathing technique he picked up earlier this summer.

Albany State also offered Snoddy a football scholarship. Snoddy said he’d be happy to end up at either place. The Blue Raider coaching staff said they’d allow him to run track at the school in addition to football work.

Ridley said he’s done his best to make sure Snoddy doesn’t get burnt out from the process. Musselwhite said he hopes Snoddy takes advantage of the national meet to enjoy himself more than to perform to others’ expectations.

Also this summer, Snoddy switched track club teams. Snoddy said he made the move to face increased competition. Now he runs with the Albany Ruff Ryders AAU club.

“Broderick has elevated himself to a nationally ranked status. You have to live up to that, too. I’m sure he’s got a lot going on in his mind, trying to please everybody,” Musselwhite said. “You start putting a lot of pressure on yourself and all of a sudden you don’t run as well as you can. Whether he can avoid those things, that’s yet to be determined.”

Snoddy said regardless of how the meet progresses, he’s content with his summer of work. But there’s still improvements to make.

“Carrollton has been known for a lot of good sprinters,” Ridley said. “I think before Broderick is finished, he’s probably gonna be the best out of all of them.”

Read more: Times-Georgian - Snoddy prepares for big finale