Athlete of the Year: Farmer gets his redemption with distance sweep
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
May 28, 2014 04:05 AM | 1894 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kenan Farmer
<Br>Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter
Kenan Farmer
Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
MARIETTA — Kenan Farmer went home unsatisfied after last year’s Class AAAAAA track and field state championships.

Though the Walton standout was excited to win his first title in the 3,200-meter run, the loss he suffered in the 1,600 didn’t sit well with him.

“I was second in the 1,600 the year before, and that made me really determined to go after it this year,” Farmer said.

Already with the one title he won last year, Farmer dedicated his 2014 season to picking up two more. He focused on winning his primary event — the 3,200 — and did so with championships at the county, region and sectional meets.

But Farmer’s exploits in the 1,600 weren’t as consistent. He finished third in at the county and sectional meets, but he won at the Region 5AAAAAA title in 4 minutes, 20.52 seconds.

When it mattered most at the state meet in Jefferson, Farmer made sure he wouldn’t be denied the opportunity again.

He won the 3,200 in 9:15.90, taking home the title for the second straight year, and captured the 1,600 in a personal-record 4:11.47.

Now a three-time state champion, Farmer is the 2014 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

“It was amazing to win the 1,600 and 3,200,” said Farmer, who will run at Princeton next year. “It was like a dream come true, and I was running with my (future Princeton) teammate Josh Ingalls (of Brookwood), so that also factored in. Wishing him to do well, but also that rivalry and tension was very interesting. I had a lot of good guys to race, so it was perfect.

“The key for me was probably my kick. I knew, for the 1,600, Josh also had a kick. I knew, from one lap out, I had to go hard, rather than from half a lap out. I went hard and tried to drop him and, luckily, that helped me out all the way through the finish line.”

Walton coach Travis Gower is proud of the way Farmer dedicated himself and accomplished his goal following last year’s setback.

“It’s wonderful to see Kenan come out on top,” Gower said. “It’s the culmination of a great career, and it meant a lot to him to win the 3,200 and 1,600. He’s a student of the game. He knew he wanted to be a runner and it’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with him over the years.

“I’ve enjoyed being around him as a person and as a runner, and he’s very deserving of all the honors and awards he receives. I know he’ll do a great job at Princeton, academically and athletically, and I look forward to following how his career progresses in college and beyond.”

Farmer credits Gower’s training methods for much of his success over the years.

“Coach Gower is very good with his training,” Farmer said. “He works alongside the other coaches to come up with a personalized plan for each of us to work hard and peak when we need to peak.”

Farmer, who leaves Walton as the school record-holder in the 3,200, is excited to see what awaits him at Princeton, and he leaves the Raiders wishing nothing but the best for his former teammates.

“I decided to go (to Princeton) because of the track team and just the chemistry between the team,” he said. “The amount of guys they got from my year is amazing. These are some great athletes that I can run with and train with and come close to like brothers. Also, the academics side of it was very appealing, too.

“Being with my team for this final year and seeing them do well has been amazing. All the hard work they put in in my final year is something I’ll always remember.”

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