DI teen making great strides in high school cross country career
For now, he’s the answer to two Philip Simmons High School athletic trivia questions.
But there’s a chance Noah Ward, a rising sophomore, might be remembered as one of the Palmetto State’s best distance runners if he stays healthy, works hard and keeps a positive mental approach.
First, the trivia questions.
Who was the first PSHS athlete to earn all-state honors? The answer is Ward, who earned all-state in cross country last fall when he finished sixth in the state as a freshman.
Who was the first PSHS athlete to be crowned a state champ? The answer, once again, is Ward, who was the state champ in last May’s state track and field championships. He won the 1,600-meter run.
He will be a 10th grader at Philip Simmons, but already has a resume that would get most seniors an athletic scholarship.
He competed as an eighth-grader for Hanahan High. He finished sixth in the state in Class AAA cross country and won the 1,600 run.
He competed for the Iron Horses last year and finished fourth in cross country and repeated as a state champ in the 1,600 run.
He has a chance to win five state titles in the 1,600, and that would put him in elite company.
“Oh yeah, that’s definitely a big goal,” said Ward, who also excels in the classroom with a 4.3 GPA. “To win in five state championships in one event, that’s a sick number. But that’s not the only reason it’s a goal. I know there’s someone who is always better and I can work hard to get better. I would also like to qualify for the national championships my junior and senior years.”
Ward was one of two Iron Horses to win state track titles on a mid-May day in Columbia. He ran the 1,600 in 4:19.64 to win and was fourth in the 800-meter run. Najhyjai Watson won the 400-meter dash, but her event was contested after Ward received his gold medal.
“We’re close, so I sort of joked around by saying I won mine first,” Ward said of his friendship with Watson. “But that was quite an accomplishment because she was only an eighth-grader.”
Ward said it was a different experience competing for the new Berkeley County school because it had no sports history.
“It was a little rough when we competed against teams like Hanahan and Bishop England, programs that have rich histories. Our team was really young, so I had to step up and be a leader and I was only in the eighth grade.”
But Ward could set the standard in the state as far as 1,600 runners are concerned, and that would give the Iron Horses a rich history.
But for now, he’s focused on the upcoming cross country season, which will commence later this month and conclude on a crisp November day in the Midlands.
You might see him running around Daniel Island to get ready. He’s the one who runs 50-55 miles each week to get better.
It’s too early to talk about the educational part of college, but he knows one thing.
“I want to run in college,” he said. “I want to step forward and see if I can compete nationally.”