Ferguson’s hard work positions him for success

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Ferguson’s hard work positions him for success

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Carey Reeder, Sports Writer

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Not only has Ferguson added weight to improve his throwing power, but he’s also constantly watching videos to try to polish his technique.

Ottawa, Kansas, is a blue-collar farming town located just 50 miles southwest of Kansas City, Missouri. It’s a small town with a population of just under 13,000.

For senior thrower Kord Ferguson, it is home.

A throwing star at Ottawa High School, Ferguson’s choice to continue down the path came late.

“I was big into football but I got a lot of attention for throwing; it’s easier on the body,” Ferguson said. “Ultimately it came down to that it was my passion. Throwing has been a great experience, and I hope it continues to be.”

Ferguson was a two-time state champion in the shot put and discus and currently holds the KSHSAA 4A State Track & Field Championships in both events.

Transferring to Alabama from Wichita State University prior to the 2016 indoor season, Ferguson arrived in Tuscaloosa at 230 pounds. With help from former throwing coach Doug Reynolds and current Crimson Tide throwing coach Derek Yush, Ferguson has put on 50 pounds of muscle.

“He’s 100 percent bought into our training plan and he’s so positive in practice situations,” Yush said. “Coach Reynolds set a nice foundation for him and he’s made great strides this last year and a half.”

Ferguson earned second team All-SEC honors in the discus his first season and an honorable mention All-American in the outdoor shot put and discus events. But he didn’t stop there.

For Ferguson, 2018 was a banner year, as he finished second at the indoor SECs with a second-best mark in school history in the shot put (20.05m), earning him a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships where he finished sixth. The outdoor season was even better for Ferguson, who earned a double qualifier to the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a second-place finish in the discus and sixth place in the shot put.

Although his progression from 2015 cannot be ignored, Ferguson said his time on campus has not been all sunshine and rainbows.

“The coaching change is always a big one but also the everyday trials and tribulations,” Ferguson said. “There’s school involved and being 12 hours from home. The challenges, though, are what make you better, and I think it helps you build as a person in the end.”

Ferguson has also grown as a teammate over the past three years. He is more involved in the team performance during meets and how the other athletes are performing in their events – a concept that runs throughout the Alabama track & field program.

“We’re in this together,” sprints coach Blaine Wiley said. “I want you to win and you to win, but we’re going to win this as a team because what we do is defined by our support for each other.”

Coming off a second-place finish on Feb. 22 at the indoor SECs, Ferguson will turn his attention to the NCAA Indoor Championships this Friday and Saturday in Birmingham to attempt to improve upon his sixth-place effort at the meet in 2018.

Ferguson is interested in turning professional after his college career is complete. The professional scene for track and field athletes, specifically field athletes, is incentive-driven. Athletes thrive on appearances at events and prize money won at meets, along with having a base salary through signing with an agent. Through the help of Yush and the Alabama program, Ferguson is on track to be in discussions with professional organizations after his college career is over. When that time comes, Ferguson wants people to remember his work ethic more than anything.

“Being from that blue-collar background in Kansas, I take pride in putting your head down and working hard,” Ferguson said. “I was never the biggest, strongest or best person, but I worked hard to get where I am and I want to continue to do that.”