One-On-One
With Mansfield Lake Ridge's
Ariel Ford
When one thinks about Mansfield Lake Ridge, automatically the name Jasmine Moore is the first name you think of, and rightfully so, but Lake Ridge has other stars brewing at their school.  One of them is junior, Ariel Ford.  Last year, Ms. Ford caught a lot of people off guard by not only qualifying for the 5A state meet, but placing 3rd in the event winning the bronze medal.  Ariel is back for her junior campaign and she looks to take off where she left off.  Inside Texas Track had the pleasure of catching up with Ariel.  Let's go One-On-One with Mansfield Lake Ridge's Ariel Ford.
Inside Texas Track (ITT): What are your events and your personal best in each one?
Ariel Ford (AF): I run the 400 and 200.  My personal best in the 400 is a 55.48.  My best time in the 200 is a 24.85.
ITT: Last year you qualified for the state meet in the 400 and placed third at state.  How exciting was that?
AF: Last year was very exciting because it was very unexpected. I took what everybody thought was small and simple and probably wouldn’t happen and I made it something big for myself.  It was really nice.
ITT: Last year’s gold medalist is out because she hurt her knee in basketball.  Last year’s silver medalist is ineligible because she transferred schools.  That makes you the top dog in that 5A 400.  Do you feel any added pressure on you?
AF: Yes there’s pressure, but honestly, I am thinking about everybody else instead of myself so I don’t feel that pressure on me just yet.
ITT: What do you feel is your strength when running the 400 and what part of the race you feel needs improving?
AF: I feel like my second curve is where my strength is, because that’s when I’m kicking it back in.  I feel my weakness is on my back stretch because I tend to slow down too much when I am supposed to be floating.
ITT:  How does one floats? 
AF: Floating is when you come off the first curve and you hold that speed.  You’re not speeding up and you not slowing down, you try to maintain your speed.  Gliding through the back stretch.
ITT:  What is your strategy when running the 400?
AF: My strategy is to get out.  Not too fast where I am tired midway through the race, but get and hold my speed…float…and then start my kick around the 200-meter mark.  Used that momentum of the last curve to shoot me down the final straight.
ITT: What do you think about when running the 400? 
AF:  When I am running, I think about every step I am supposed to be hitting.  I think about every point I am supposed to be kicking it in.  When I am supposed to be working hard. Every stage of my run. I also think about my arms, believe it or not.  I sometimes have a problem with running with my arms out.
ITT: What is your greatest accomplishment in track and field? 
AF: My greatest accomplishment right now, would have to be going to state last year in the 400.
ITT: What has been your most disappointing moment in track and field and what did you learn from it?
AF: My most disappointing moment had to be my freshman year.  We went to Texas Relays and I was on the 4x100 relay.  I was on 2nd leg and we had a bad handoff and it kinda ruined the race.  At that time, everyone blamed me, so as a freshman, at a very big meet like that, I was very disappointed we couldn’t do better.  At the time, I felt it was my fault.  What I learned from that was first of all, I shouldn’t be running the 4x100 without perfect handoffs…Laughter.  I also learned that in relays, you will disappoint your teammates sometimes.  You’ll bump your head just like in any other race, but it will be okay because you will have many other good races that will overcome that bad race.
ITT: What are your goals this year in track and field? 
AF: This year I would like to run at least a 53.8 in the 400 and make it back to state.  In the 200, I would like to drop down to a 24.5.  Most of all, I would like for my high school team to qualify more of my teammates to state.
ITT:  Who do you credit for your success? 
AF: I would have to credit my summer track coach, Don Hicks (Team Extreme), because he took somebody who was getting last in every race...I was really slow when I started, but took me and develop me into the runner I am today. 
ITT: What advice would you give a young athlete wanting to run track?
AF:   I would have to say that everyday won’t be easy.  It’s not supposed to be.  You have to stay focus.  Keep running from God.  Stay Healthy.  Work hard, because it’s never been an easy road for me, but I have always kept my eyes on the prize.  Know your potential.  When you know your potential, it will always push you to do better.  You will never except less.
Outside The Track
ITT:  Pick a color red or blue -
AF: Uhmmm Red.
ITT: Ahhh, I’m gone have to end this interview early.  You were supposed to say blue…laughter
ITT:  If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would be the 1st question you ask them.
AF: I would have to say, of course, Sanya Richards Ross, because she is my idol.  I would ask her, how did she keep interest in track and field for so long.
ITT:  Who is your favorite actor/actress.  What is your favorite movie starring him/her?
AF: Okay, I don’t know his name…the guy from The Notebook(Ryan Goselin).  I love him, and The notebook is my favorite movie.
ITT:  What was the best piece of advice have you ever received?
AF: I have received a lot of advice, but one of the thing my coach always tells us, and we kinda of blow it off, but we all know it.  This is our book.  We need to write every chapter how we want it to be written. The team is in our hands. Nobody can dictate how it ends.
ITT:  What’s your favorite part of the chicken?
AF: Oooh, I’m between the legs and the wings.  Everybody say you know you gotta add a little drumstick in there.
ITT:  Name 1 way to improve Texas High School Track and Field? 
AF:  One way to improve high school track and field is to allow the summer track coaches and the school coaches to come together as one, and not be against each other.  From my point of view, a lot of school coaches bumps head with the summer track coaches.  They don’t want them to train us when it’s their season, but those are the people we train with the most, so it’s hard for us to just stop training with them because of school.