Sunday, November 23, 2014

OHS athletes overcome injuries

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 5/28/2014

All five of the Ottawa High School track athletes headed to the state track meet in Wichita has been through injuries this season.

Freshman Angel Natt hurt her knee early in the season and missed a couple of meets.

All five of the Ottawa High School track athletes headed to the state track meet in Wichita has been through injuries this season.

Freshman Angel Natt hurt her knee early in the season and missed a couple of meets.

Senior Cory Peoples missed the preseason and the first third of the season mending from his injuries.

Senior Aaron Miller has been bothered by shin splits most of the season. Junior Tanner Wright battled through some ailments.

Senior Kord Ferguson has a sore thumb area on his throwing hand that limited his practice time the past few weeks.

“They have had to overcome some physical ailments, some pain, illness to get where they are right now,” Ottawa coach Mark Laws said. “It shows me they are determined. They want to be here. They were going to do what it took to qualify and make it to Wichita.”

Peoples said it helped him as he came back with top performances.

“It gave my body a long rest,” Peoples said. “I came back throwing better than I threw last year.”

Ferguson is nearly over his injury, but does feel tenderness in his hand every now and again.

“It is kind of a pulled inflamed tendon,” he said. “It is getting better. I am getting back to throwing the shot every day. It is not anything that is going to slow me down.”

Natt is near 100 percent.

Ottawa’s trio of shot putters have a good chance to place in the top eight Friday at Wichita State University.

“That would be unreal,” Laws said.

Ottawa thrower’s coach Evan Shaffer said it is special to send a trio of competitors to state for the second straight season.

“It is fun to do that,” he said.

Ferguson, who has the nation’s top performances in the shot put and discus, is eyeing a chance at the state record in both events.

He is the defending state champion in both events.

“He’s got a goal in mind,” Shaffer said. “He has six more chances to go and do it. If he has a good day, he has a chance.

“He has the ability to do it. Very few people have not even come close to chasing that record. He is in rarefied air.”

Ferguson is going to give it his best to have a special state track meet.

“I have all the physical tools,” he said. “I am as strong as I am going to get for this year. My technique is about as good as it is going to get this year. It is all mental. It is all how you come into it.”

Miller needs to execute his race strategy.

“He has always wanting to hold back a little bit,” Ottawa distance coach Chris Kornhaus said. “For one time, he has to let go of that.”

Miller said, “We have the race strategy down. I will be up at the front the whole race. If they have more than me, then they have more than me. I am going to go.

“It is loud and crazy. The atmosphere is pretty awesome. You have to stay relaxed the whole time.”

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