Track and Field Breaks Two School Records at Liberty Open

Darrian Johnson, senior, throws for a record at the Liberty Open.
Darrian Johnson, senior, throws for a record at the Liberty Open.
Courtesy of ferrumtfxc Instagram
Antaveon Steele, freshman, gets centered moments before running hurdles. (Photo courtesy of ferrumtfxc Instagram)

Track and Field traveled to Liberty University for the Liberty Open, the first weekend of February.  Darrian Johnson and Antaveon Steele finished the weekend beating their own personal and school records.

Johnson, senior, throws shot put.  His previous personal record was 12.92 meters, which was the previous school record, at the meet the weekend prior.  His shot put throw at the Liberty Open was 13.22 meters (43.25 ft.).

“When I found out I broke my record, I was very excited and hyped because it showed my progress,” Johnson said.

The Panthers competed against athletes from Liberty, Virginia Union, Mount Olive, Blue Field State, and other schools.

Johnson’s throw gave him a second-place finish in the shot put category.

Steele, freshman, ran an 8.67 on the 60m hurdles beating his previous record of 8.75 seconds.

“I was really excited. I happened to catch myself smiling way more than I ever have before after one of my races,” Steele said. “It’s always a good feeling to break your own personal record, even if it is by only a tenth of a second. Just knowing that everything you’ve worked so hard for throughout the weeks is finally paying off on meet days, knowing that you’re getting faster is just an amazing feeling in this sport, and to have my name next to the school record makes it even better.”

Steele and Johnson were both excited for one another after watching each other break personal and school records.

“It was a wonderful moment to share, knowing that everyone on the team is giving it their all while trying to perfect their crafts, so we as a team can continue to have moments like this is just an overall amazing feeling,” Steele said.

Johnson said it was a great moment.

“It shows the work my teammates and I put in! But also, how great our coach is by continuing to push us and coach us,” he said.

Both of these athletes have two different stories and different goals in mind for the rest of their season.

Johnson not only competes in track and field but plays football as well.

“It’s not easy, but I found the balance and stayed disciplined on managing my time,” he said.

His coach, Mike White says Johnson is new to throwing and recruited him out of high school to be a sprinter.

“He needed to continue to get bigger to play the positions they wanted him to play in football.  I nicknamed him ‘shot’, short for shot put jokingly because he was gaining muscle mass,” White said.  “When we sat down and had a serious conversation about it, he was open to the switch. For being so young in ‘training age’ to throwing, he has learned quickly, and his understanding of correct body positions has helped him a lot with that. He helps the other throwers with things that he sees, which is a huge help to everyone.”

With this being Johnson’s last season, he plans to work alongside his physical therapist and be a personal trainer but has one last goal to accomplish first.

“I want to at least national qualify for either indoor or outdoor season, or both,” Johnson said.

Steele, coming into his first year, said he wanted to be one of the top competitors in the conference and to continuously PR as the season progressed.

“I knew that if I put all my trust into the process Coach White had set out for me, then both of those pre-season expectations would fall into play,” Steele said.

White is also high on Steele’s future.

“Taye has a bright future as a hurdler.  His event is another one that you have to understand correct body positions,” White said.  “He has taken well to how I coach hurdles and understanding those correct positions.  We drill it repeatedly.  As he gets more explosive as an athlete and becomes even more adept to it all, he will continue to get better and better.”

With new school records and a bright future ahead for track and field, it has the team looking forward to what is to come.

“I only see the future of Ferrum College Track and Field going up in a positive direction from here,” Steele said. “Considering that this is the programs fifth year running, I believe, we’re still in the building stage. I believe that if Coach White keeps recruiting athletes who are determined, willing to work, and can bring spotlight to this program, then we will definitely end up continuing in the right direction.”

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