Drew Ward is a 2019 Lancaster graduate, who is set to enter the college ranks with the University of Northern Kentucky Norse as a cross country and distance track athlete.
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1) What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?
Some of my personal highlights were attending New Balance Nationals Indoor during my junior year, making it to State's with my cross country team in my junior and senior years, especially senior year when we were essentially written off as a team who had no chance. The bonds I developed with my teammates and coaches and the support systems we had in place were fantastic. Every year at cross country camp it was a treasure to have that time with my teammates, as we were battling grueling doubles or racing until we wanted to fall over by the bridge about a mile away from camp. I'll never forget these great memories.
2) Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?
Yes, and what would a high school runner be without them! I overcame a tibial stress reaction during my sophomore year, then suffered an avulsion fracture to my lower fibula in my senior year. During my senior season of cross country, I battled confidence issues relating to my potential and belief in myself as a runner, and I still have some of those doubts even to this day.
3) Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being apart of Lancaster's program?
Easily the bonds that I have developed with my friends, as the memories I have with them will never go away. Each day spent with them in the grueling heat for a double or each track workout where the new turf made it feel like 100+ degrees. While each of these times seemed rough (and they were) they made me the runner I am today and for that I am forever thankful.
4) Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?
Of course! Coach K, for giving me every single opportunity possible to showcase my hard work to the world, whether it was at SPIRE or NXR or NBNI. He also helped develop me into the man I am today, not just on the track but in also in terms of schooling and just life in general. He instilled in me that, "You're not going to feel 100% everyday and that's expected, but you have to go to school and do your job either way."
Also, thanks to Coach Graham for bringing out my love of running at an early age while in middle school and for helping to develop me into the monster I would become by my eighth grade year on the track. Lastly, a shout-out to Will Metcalf for being the absolute best training partner I could have ever asked for, and for always providing me with laughs and remarks even during the workouts where it felt like we were dying. I'll forever be thankful for every race we competed in together.
5) What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
I will be attending Northern Kentucky University in the fall to study Pre-Engineering with the hopes to become a Biomedical Engineer, while also running on scholarship for their cross country and track teams. I intend to keep progressing to become not only a better runner, but also a better overall version of myself.
6) What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
With some things relating to our sport, make sure to have a short memory: this is something I still struggle with. If you have an excellent race, take your 24 hours or so of glory but then reset and focus on the work that lies ahead. If you have a terrible race, take your 24 hours of reflection and then reset and do the same thing.
Also, work harder than anyone else, except on the recovery days. Don't slack on the complementary aspects like core, stretching or lifting, as all of that will benefit you in some capacity.
Finally, if you want to be elite, you need the right mindset. You can be humble on the outside but be an animal on the inside. No one goes by you, and if they do, they'll have to extend themselves to do it. I'm also big on visuals: write your goals on a sign and place that next to your bed so that it's the last thing you see every night and the first thing you see every morning. This message will become ingrained in you and you'll begin to believe that accomplishing it is possible!