Gatorade honors Beard

June 27, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

Ronnie Beard's glowing high school athletic career came to a close on May 24 at the Maryland Track & Field State Championships at University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Yet, the show the recent Frederick graduate put on that day kept the door wide open for more prep honors.

Beard recently ran away with the 2003 Herald-Mail Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year title, largely for doing the same thing to his competition at states. He won Class 4A crowns in the 110-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles and triple jump.

On Thursday, he captured probably his most prestigious honor - Gatorade's Maryland High School Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year award.


The news came as a surprise to Beard, who first learned of it when The Herald-Mail contacted him Thursday afternoon.

"My athletic director (Fred Remus) told me when school let out that I was nominated," Beard said. "But ... wow ... this feels cool. It's a privilege to be recognized as the only person in the state."

Beard spent three years separating himself from the rest of the state, winning his first of three golds in the 110 hurdles as a sophomore and his first of two indoor titles in the 55 hurdles as a junior. The four state crowns this year brought his career total to seven.

He credited this year's gold rush to "lots of hard work," including several 6 a.m. practices before school.

Beard, who topped the 2003 Tri-State outdoor leaderboard in five events (100, 200, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and triple jump), is now set to test his wide array of talents at the NCAA Division I level. He's heading to University of Maryland-Eastern Shore this fall.

"Ronnie possesses the technical skills and internal desire to perform at the highest level of college athletics in track and field," Frederick track coach Randy Jones said in Thursday's Gatorade press release.

"Right now my goal is just to qualify for NCAAs and see what it's like," Beard said. "They'll probably have me doing the hurdles, long hurdles and short hurdles, and some relays ... and probably still have me jumping, too."

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