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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Relay runner adopts leadership role

While some choose to relax or focus on their studies during the spring, Janae Ford, ’09, opted to compete on the track and field team.

Her passion for track started when Kailee Maxey, ’09, convinced her to join during her freshman year.

“I always thought I was the non-athletic one in my family, because I had never seriously been interested or played any sports,” Janae said, “but then my friend convinced me it would be a good experience and I have done it ever since.”

As a three-year returning member, Janae assumes leadership roles even though she is not a captain.

“Being a returning member means that (head coach Ericlee) Gilmore counts on me to be encouraging and supportive even when practices are tough,” Janae said. “At meets I always try to have a positive attitude and inspire the team to do better.”

Track and field coach Ericlee Gilmore appreciates Janae’s attitude and anticipates naming her captain next season.

“Janae has a very positive attitude and is an encouragement to the whole team,” Gilmore said. “I look forward to her talent and leadership skills when she is a team captain next year.”

Prior to high school, Janae assumed that her sister Aliza, ’07 alumna and brother Josiah, ’11, received the family’s sports skills and did not participate in sports.

“I wasn’t really ever into sports,” Janae said. “My sister always did them but I just thought I got the school smarts, not the sports talent.”

After joining track, Janae became teammates with her sister for two years before she graduated. Now she shares the spotlight with her brother.

“I think it is a really cool thing that I got to be a part of a team with both siblings,” Janae said. “Having Aliza on the team my freshman and sophomore year was definitely fun and encouraging. Now having my brother on the team gives us something to talk about and bond with together. Track has become our family sport.”

Because of her encouragement and knowledge of the sport, Janae’s teammates cannot imagine a team without her. Fellow 4x400m and 4x100m relay runner, Michele Graham, ’11, admires Janae’s encouraging personality.

“Janae is equally nice to everyone and doesn’t give certain people special treatment,” Graham said. “She is so fast and seems to do every event perfectly. My goal this season has been to beat her times.”

Although she loves to run, Janae’s favorite part of track is meeting new people and creating friendships with the rival teams.

“I have some really close relationships with people on the teams from Fowler and Liberty,” Janae said. “We see each other and hang out at the meets. The other teams are really encouraging and want everyone to do well.”

Janae’s passion for various track and field events exceeds her love for distance running. As a member of the first year cross country team since the 1980s, Janae participated in several two- and three-mile races during the season.

“That was probably the most challenging sport I have ever tried,” Janae said. “It is so different from track. All you do is run 2-6 miles every practice. There are so many more options and events in track and field.”

Janae competes in many events including the 4x100m and 4x400m relays and the 200m dash.

“I have a lot of events I am able to do when Gilmore asks me too,” Janae said, “but my main event is the 400m dash, which is a full sprint around the track. It is challenging, but I have been doing it since my freshman year.”

Although daily and weekend track practices consume much of Janae’s time, she loves to ride her horse in her free time.

“My favorite thing to do is ride my horse Simba,” Janae said. “I wish I could ride everyday, but with track practice and homework it is impossible.”

Besides riding her horse and spending time with family, Janae finds time to to go to concerts and hangout with friends.

“I love to just drive around with my friends,” Janae said. “We like to either get Starbucks or In-N-Out and then we just listen to music and goof off together.”

With junior year nearing an end and senior year approaching, Janae savors the memories of this years team bonding and looks foward to her last season.

After placing 2nd in the 400m dash at the Sierra Championships, April 30, Janae qualified for the Area Sierra/Sequioa meet at Exeter, May 7.

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