Distance runners lead track team in early going


Robert Hayes

Freshman distance runner Baidy Ba competes at the YSU National Mid-Major Invitational in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday, Jan. 29. 

Austin Arnold Reporter

Runners Baidy Ba and Joe Farley are off to strong starts in distance events for the Kent State track team.

Both have set records and reached personal bests in KSU’s first two meets.

“The distance runners are taking a step in the right direction,” Kent State assistant and distance coach James Croft said. “There is really no peaking at all yet; we still have some athletes that are getting things going.” 

Ba, a freshman from Columbia, Maryland set a new indoor facility record at Youngstown State’s Mid-Major Invitational last weekend with a win in the 3,000-meter run. His time of 8:16:17 was fourth best in Kent State history in just his second college meet.

“When I saw I had run a facility record, I was very surprised,” Ba said. “The first meet didn’t have the time I was looking for, but I was very happy with how I ran this meet. I took a big step in the right direction.”

Croft said coaches were easing Ba into college competition.

“We haven’t thrown Ba to the wolves yet in training, and he has responded very well,” he said. “He is only a freshman so seeing him put up a time like that is very encouraging.”

At Youngstown, Farley set a new personal-best time of 14:21:97 in 5,000-meter run. It was the fifth-fastest time in Kent State program history. 

“I got off to a little bit of a slow start last week with the Akron Dual, but the results from this past weekend were good,” Farley said. “In regards to my PR, I knew about it since my teammates were pacing me throughout the run.” 

Ba and Farley are two of four distance runners that will be going to South Bend this weekend to compete in the Meyo Invitational. 

“South Bend will be a step up in competition, and I’m looking forward to throw a hard time in the 3,000,” Ba said.

Sprinter Asa Hodrick also posted a personal best last weekend in the 200-meter at Penn State’s Sykes-Sabock Challenge, winning in 21.24.

“Early on in my career I was more anxious, but now I am more focused,” Hodrick said. “All I do now is just focus on myself and just remind myself to execute my own race against anyone, and I’ll be all right.”

Hodrick will be competing at the Akron Invitational this weekend in the men’s 400 meter dash. 

Austin Arnold is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].