Ceolamar Ways was used to running the 400. Until the 2013 season it was his marquee event. The Nease High School senior decided to work on his versatility and focus on the shorter sprints, the 100 and 200 meter dash. He hoped it would culminate in a state title and a ticket to the Dream 100 in New York City.
The season played out well. He was crowned New Balance Indoor National Champion in the 200 and finished third in the 100 at both Bob Hayes and the Florida Relays, two of the Sunshine State's top meets. Ways took home a district title and regional runner-up in the finish. He looked poised to medal at state, but after qualifying through the 100 and 200 prelims he wasn't able to compete in either finals. It would have been a three-way battle between Dream 100 entrants Trayvon Bromell and Kendal Williams in both.
If Ways wanted a shot at New York he had one race, one last shot to make it. He told me prior to the Golden South Classic that the only reason he was going was to be invited to the Dream 100. He lined up next to Bromell and Trentavis Friday of North Carolina (who had just won the 100, 200 and 400 at his state meet). When they crossed the line Ways had finished third in a time of 10.57--well off the winning 10.27 by Bromell. He says at first it was hard.
"When I initially didn't get invited I was disappointed, but still thankful for the times and my performance at the meet."
Running against a slew of great runners later in the night in the 200, including fellow Jacksonville runner Kendal Williams, Ways posted a new personal best of 20.78 to finish second. He says that race combined with consistent times throughout the season gave him another reason to state his case as one of the top sprinters in the country.
"I found out that I would be going on Sunday. The conversation was very nerve-racking. I did work all season to be invited to the Dream 100, but I also wanted to show everyone that I can run the scale from 100 to the 400 and be ranked top in the nation in all three of these events. It means the world to me to be considered one of the top sprinters in the country, I think it shows that hard work and dedication do in fact pay off."
After trips to Seattle for the Brooks PR Invitational and the Armory in New York for New Balance Indoor Nationals, Ways will once again hit the road in search of being the best. He says he can't wait to run at Icahn Stadium and be a part of something special.
"I'm looking forward to most is being able to run against the best competition in the country and be part of an experience that most people can't say they have been a part of."
The Sunshine State will be well represented this weekend. Ways joins fellow sprinters Levonte Whitfield, the reigning Dream 100 champion out of Orlando, Kendal Williams from Jacksonville and Trayvon Bromell of St. Petersburg. Kaylin Whitney, Kali Davis-White and Deanna Hill are entered in the girls Dream 100, while Andres Arroyo is the lone distance runner and will compete in the Dream Mile. Ways says this group shows why Florida has one of the most talented athletes of any state.
"I think the amount of athletes Florida is taking to this meet truly shows the talent pool that we possess as a state. We have multiple coaches of great stature, especially my coach, Coach Byron with Young Achievers. I definitely believe that we produce some of the best athletes out of anywhere else."