Ford ready to build on freshman year

By: 
Theo Tate

Montgomery County sophomore Lyric Ford competes in the first mile of the New Haven Classic on Sept. 5. THEO TATE PHOTO

   When Lyric Ford was at the starting line at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 5 in the varsity girls race of the New Haven Invitational, she set a simple goal.

“I was shooting for the top 10,” the Montgomery County sophomore said.

Twenty minutes and 25 seconds later, Ford celebrated her first New Haven individual championship. She won the race by seven seconds.

“All of that hard work she has put in over corona (virus) and over the summer paid off,” said Miranda Ford, Lyric’s mother. “I hope that helps her confidence.”

Lyric Ford took over first place after the first mile and never looked back. She won her third high school cross country race.

“It means a lot,” Ford said. “Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting to come out here to win.”

Now, Ford is looking to finish with a strong sophomore season with the Wildcats. Last year, she placed in the top 10 in all nine of her meets, including an eighth-place finish at the Class 2 state meet in Columbia.

“I’m hoping to secure a win in conference,” said Ford, who lives in High Hill. “Hopefully, I can win districts. At this point, I don’t care what place I get. I’m just going for time this year. If I get a medal at a meet, but run a good time, I’ll still be proud of myself. This year, I’m just going for time.”

Ford started her freshman season on a high note, placing eighth in the New Haven meet. She finished first in the Eastern Missouri Conference and North Callaway Invitational and qualified for state by placing third in districts. She ran under 20 minutes three times.

“I didn’t know what type of competition we would have,” Ford said. “In the first meet (at New Haven), I found out that I pretty much kind of matched the competition. We were all on the same level. Throughout every meet, I kind of slowly started picking off the girls that beat me here. I had seven girls who beat me (at New Haven) last year. Then I started placing a little bit higher than them in each meet. I think that really helped in my freshman year. That gave me more confidence. Usually, my confidence with running is surprisingly very low.”

Ford became the first MCHS runner to place at the state girls cross country meet after finishing eighth with a 19:54. But she wasn’t happy about her finish.

“Deep down, I knew that I could have done way better,” the sophomore said. “I was really mad because at the end, I slowed down and that allowed two or three people to pass me at the end. Hadn’t I slowed down, I could have gotten fifth place. I was seeded fifth, but whenever I crossed the line, I was kind of disappointed. But I’m hoping that this year, I can secure a spot in the top three or top five.”

Miranda Ford, who started a youth cross country team called the High Hill Hounds this fall, said her daughter was busy over the summer preparing for the 2020 season.

“She ran six days a week,” Miranda said. “We went on three vacations and every single morning on vacation, she would get up and run at 6 o’clock in the morning. It takes a lot of hard work and she’s willing to put in the work and it’s paying off.”

This fall, Ford is leading a team that has one freshman, two sophomores and three seniors. MCHS finished fourth in the team standings at the New Haven meet.

“Everybody on the team has worked super hard and we’re hoping that we can win conference and possibly win districts,” Ford said. “We’re going to go far.”

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