MINFORD — Faith Malone made it a goal to compete at the next distance —and at the next level.
The Minford High School track and field senior will do just that at Marietta College, as the Lady Falcons’ sprinter and mid-distance runner officially announced her intention on Friday to run for the Lady Pioneers.
Malone, in her signing ceremony at Minford High School, was flanked by her parents Tim and Robin Malone; Minford High School girls track and field head coach Chuck Miller, Minford High School Principal Jeff Pica and Minford High School Athletic Director Kristin Ruby.
Ordinarily, Malone would be joined by her fellow Falcon teammates and friends for her signing ceremony, but the threat of the coronavirus has forced ALL of Ohio’s school districts to be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
While at Minford, Malone competed regularly in the sprint events of the 4x200m and 4x400m relays — along with the open 400m and 200m sprints.
She will now run for Marietta and head coach Jason Davis, as the Lady Pioneers are members of the Ohio Athletic Conference and the NCAA Division III.
“I’m excited about continuing running track and do the things I love to do while in college. Marietta is going to allow me to do that,” said Malone. “Marietta just felt like home and I am continuing to train and work hard to achieve my goals that I want to achieve at the college level.”
She said she chose Marietta, mainly, because it was “academically-based” for her, as Malone plans to major in Biology before beginning her Pre-Med curriculum.
On the track, Malone actually set the Minford Middle School record in the pole vault — before running relays for the Lady Falcons, although she was focusing more on mid-distance events as a senior.
“I was really counting on a good senior season. I planned on going to districts, doing the 4x400m, and doing more middle-distance running. The 800m would have been a good experience. I started focusing on the 400m and 800m more as to train for the future,” she said. “I was working harder than I ever have for this season, really hoping it would be the best season I’ve ever had.”
Unfortunately for Malone, like all other track and field athletes in Ohio, it was a season that never was.
That’s because, to coincide with the cancellation of in-person attendance in Ohio’s schools, the Ohio High School Athletic Association officially canceled ALL of its 2020 spring sports seasons on April 20.
That was after the OHSAA twice postponed those seasons.
“When they told us the season was delayed, I still trained on my own, worked hard on my open events, still kept hope we would come back to school and come back and have a track season. It was very heart-breaking that I didn’t get an opportunity this year to do what I wanted to do and achieve what I wanted to achieve,” said Malone.
But while she was disappointed at not having a senior season, Malone doesn’t dwell upon the negative as she prepares for competing at Marietta.
“I am running five days a week and doing a lot of mile work and distance work, while doing sprint work every other day,” she said. “Doing a lot of core work in preparation for next year, which will make the transition easier. That’s going to be good for me coming up.”
Malone said her collegiate career will begin with the indoor track and field season for 2021, as she plans to compete in at least the 200m and 400m for that.
She didn’t rule out relays either, as she regularly joined Sara Goddard, Riley Reffitt and Amy Shoemaker for her Minford quartets.
“Track is different but neat because your individual events points come first, but there is always that team aspect as well with scores,” said Malone.
Malone didn’t specify exactly what events she will run at Marietta, but she did say she is ready to run the next distance —at the next level.
“I’m excited about what the future holds for me there and being able to continue to run track,” she said.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved