All-Region Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year Ben Strong of Edward Little. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Ben Strong was one of two hurdlers on the Edward Little High School indoor track team, but that didn’t stop him from excelling.

Strong won the KVAC 55-meter hurdle championship in 8.74 seconds, his first hurdle title. The junior trained all season for the conference and state meets, and heading into the state meet he just tried to keep his body in good condition.

“After KVACs, we wanted to get in there and keep where we were because we were peaking at that point in the season,” Strong said. “So we wanted to keep my body ready. We worked on my start, so we worked on starts over one hurdle, two hurdles, we weren’t doing too many hard workouts.”

After his first conference title, Strong’s confidence was high heading into states. At the Class A meet, Strong wore spikes for the first time. He put them in, and during a practice run tripped on a hurdle while going over.

“Right before the race in the prelims, I was trying to warm up with the spikes in and I hit the first hurdle and fell in my warmups,” Strong said. “We were talking and I said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I went again and I hit my toe on the hurdle really hard. For a week after I had a big bruise. We were debating taking the spikes out, but I decided to keep them in. I figured the adrenaline from the race would get to it.”

Strong kept the spikes in and ran a personal-best time of 8.50 in the preliminaries.

“I ran a PR in the prelim race,” Strong said. “It was a good confidence boost. I made the final, that was nice.”

In the final, Strong was running well until the final hurdle that he hit going over and fell at the line.

“On the last hurdle, I took off a little too far away from it and I hit it and kind of fell over the line,” Strong said. “I fell for like, five seconds, which was funny. I wasn’t that mad about it because I was just happy I was making PRs and stuff. Even with the fall I still ran a pretty good time and it was really close to the PRs I ran. I felt pretty good about that, even with a little fall it was OK.”

Strong still ran a 8.56, which was good enough for seventh place and a spot on the podium. Now, after the first two weeks of outdoor track and with more hurdlers on the team, Strong has been working on his form with the help of coaches and video.

“In outdoor, we filmed each other hurdling, so now I have video of me hurdling,”  Strong said. “Me and Julia (Berube) try to watch each other. Watching videos has helped me get a new motion for my arm.”


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