With Ward in front, Iron Horses run toward success

Noah Ward ended 2019 by being selected to the state’s all-decade track and field team. But the talented distance runner, who excels for the Philip Simmons High School Iron Horses, prefers to talk about the team aspect of the sport as the 2020 season unfolds.

“Winning an individual state championship is a good feeling,” Ward said. “But I’m focused on winning state as a team – on the girls’ side and the guys’ side.”

Philip Simmons is the up-and-coming program in Class AA. The Iron Horses boys and girls both had their best finishes at the State Championships last May. The girls’ team finished second to Woodland in the state meet, while the boys tied for second with Landrum in the team standings. St. Joseph was crowned state champ.

“I think we are starting to creep up on people around the state,” Ward said. “Finishing second is great, but it keeps us hungry for more. We grind every day. Second place was great. But we want more.”

Ward led the Iron Horses last May by sweeping the distance events to score 30 of his team’s 57 points in the state meet. He won the 800-meter run with a national elite “silver” time of 1:56.59. He also won the 1,600 in 4:33.91, and the 3,200 with a clocking of 10:03.08.

Ward knows one-man shows aren’t enough to win state titles.

“You have to have talent and depth in all the events,” Ward said. “If you don’t have the throwers, the sprinters, the jumpers, you aren’t going to win a state championship. This year, we have a good group, and that’s important.”

Ward’s three state championships last spring pushed his career total to five gold medals with two seasons of competition remaining in his brilliant career. That’s why coaches around the state selected Ward to the Class AA all-decade team.

“Winning a gold medal is a great accomplishment,” Ward said. “It means a lot to me. I came up when my older brother (Jake) was running. I would see runners at the state meet win, and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I want to win a state championship.’”

Mission accomplished.

Ward’s total gold medal haul increased to seven with two state championships in cross country. He’s also been a member of a state championship team. He began his career at Hanahan High and was a factor in the Hawks’ state title in 2017.

He arrived at Philip Simmons in time for the first track season.

Now, the Iron Horses are hoping to become the No. 1 team.

The Iron Horses began the season by competing in the Adidas Lowcountry Invitational last weekend, and several athletes shone brightly at the meet, which was held at Woodland High School.

Ward posted victories in the 800 and 1,600 while Kiamani Denmark won the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Denmark’s time of 10.8 in the 100 prelims was a national elite effort.

Griffin Williams won the gold in the javelin, while Carter Ensley claimed second in the javelin and third in the shot put.

Daniel Island Publishing

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