Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gatorade honors Ferguson

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/24/2013

The Gatorade Company’s goal behind its high school player of the year awards in the different sports is to recognize not just standout athletes, but how each performs in the classroom and in the community.

Ottawa High School junior Kord Ferguson was the 2013 Kansas boys track and field winner and is a finalist for the national award. Ferguson was the 4A state champion in the shot put and discus. He is ranked in the top 10 nationally in both events.

The Gatorade Company’s goal behind its high school player of the year awards in the different sports is to recognize not just standout athletes, but how each performs in the classroom and in the community.

Ottawa High School junior Kord Ferguson was the 2013 Kansas boys track and field winner and is a finalist for the national award. Ferguson was the 4A state champion in the shot put and discus. He is ranked in the top 10 nationally in both events.

“What a fantastic thing to happen for Kord Ferguson and Ottawa High School to be recognized in that way,” Ottawa track coach Mark Laws said. “Could not have picked a better kid. Kord has been a leader for our track team. He leads by example with is positive approach to the sport and the way he works hard to attain his goals.”

Ferguson said the award does have a special meaning.

“Because it is not only athletics, it represents how you do in school and character outside of school, it means a lot,” he said.

Ferguson maintained a 3.3 grade point average, volunteered to mow lawns and shovel snow for the elderly and work youth programs.

He is the third OHS athlete to garner the state award since 2010. Kearsten Peoples, who is a University of Missouri sophomore, won the girls track award in 2010. Semi Ojeleye, a Duke signee, was the boys basketball winner this spring.

“You are known as a big-time athlete nationally if you can win the Kansas Gatorade of the Year,” Ottawa throwers coach Evan Shaffer said. “Kord put himself in with good company. Semi won it this year. Kearsten won it before. You are elite to win that award.”

Laws said, “What a neat elite group to be apart of. That award is not given to anybody. It takes more than being an athlete. They have to show they have leadership. They are people that are representative of helping others.”

A lot of things came together in the past year as Ferguson developed into a top-flight prep thrower.

“He had a great summer coming into this year,” Shaffer said. “The way he works in the weight room is second to none.

“He is at it again. If he gets the spin going, he will get better and better.”

Ferguson made the decision to concentrate on track. His strength combined with his improved technique and study of the events made it possible to rank as one of the best in the nation in the shot put (63 feet, 6 inches) and discus (199-1).

    “I have learned this year, it is so much more mental,” Ferguson said. “Just like any sport, if your head is in it, it is 100 times better.”       

Ferguson used today’s technology toimprove his flaws. He videoed his workouts and throws in meets. He would use the app ‘Coaches Eyes’ to breakdown his technique.

“It breaks it down frame by frame,” he said. “I can take another video from a professional thrower or even one of my throws. I can figure out what spots are the same and then go out and practice that again. The technology is so more advanced. You have to use it.”

Ferguson is the only prep thrower in the nation with top performances in the shot put and discus. He ranks fifth in the discus and eighth in the shot put.

“To have both of those numbers in the top 10 is pretty good,” Ferguson said. “A lot of throwers do both. It takes the right person to be able to excel in both.

“I am pretty fortunate and blessed to do that. A lot of the great throwers are great at both. I don’t want to be a specialist.”

The college recruiting trail is about to heat up. July 1 is when college coaches can start to talk to recruits and make home visits. The Cyclone does not want to drag out the process, but does want to enjoy it.

“It will be exciting,” Ferguson said. “I will have fun with it. I talked to Kearsten a lot about it. She has helped me a lot. She gave me some good advice as well as [former Kansas football standout] Caleb Blakesley.

“It has been helpful to have people like that in my life that can guide me.”

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