Former FHC Student Josh Ball Hits the Podium in Cozumel

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Tyler George, Sports Reporter

While the majority of FHC graduates in the class of 2016 were preparing for college, graduate Josh Ball was preparing for something much more strenuous. Josh, who was a four year member of the cross country team, competed in the ITU World Championships in Cozumel in mid-September. While finishing the triathlon itself is a success, he was able to place 7th in the world for his age group. According to Josh, the success earned came with a long period of training and preparation.

“There are races everywhere,” Josh said.”Cozumel and the world championships are the biggest events in the world.”

Josh knew the conditions he was going up against and took those into consideration when preparing for the race.

“To prepare I knew it was going to be really hot,” said Josh, who is a freshmen at Michigan State. “I wore lots of long sleeves and warm clothes during workouts.”

Josh put in countless hours all summer to get ready for the race come September. He trained and ran often, preparing for the arduous but exciting task ahead. Once it was race week, he wanted to make the most of the experience.

“I had a whole summer of training to work with.” he said. “I just tried to stay relaxed and have fun the week we were down there.”

The ITU Championships are held all over the world in many different locations. There are also different races to partake in, but Josh took part in the standard distance race. The standard distance, non-draft legal race, was the main race for amateur athletes. For this year, Cozumel was their location. The course had both its perks and challenges.

“I had never raced in salt water before,” Josh said. “We had a pretty good current to go against for a portion, which made it very interesting.”

It seems like this triathlon is a one of a kind race in a one of a kind place, but for Josh the bike ride wasn’t anything special.

“The bike was really flat and had relatively little wind,” Josh said. “It was a pretty boring ride. I got caught out between groups and rode solo almost the whole time.”

When it came to the running portion of the triathlon, the Cozumel sun became a factor.

“The run was hot. I did my best to take in a lot of hydration at aid stations and manage the heat the best I could,” he said. “There was no wind, and there was direct sun without any shade. It made it tough.”

Although the course deemed difficult at times, it wasn’t enough to knock him and a few of his teammates off of the podium. Josh was a part of team USA’s 18-19 team and placed third in the US. One of his teammates finished 1st and another 3rd overall. For Josh, representing team USA was a special opportunity.

“This was my second year representing team USA and it was awesome,” Josh said. “It was awesome to wear all of the gear and to represent your country all week, especially with over 40 other countries represented.”

Josh didn’t only represent the United States during the race, but he was able to represent the whole Ball family while they were in attendance. Josh, who has a sophomore brother who attends FHC, knows that the impact his family had on the experience was huge. He believes that a good support system is a large factor when reaching for a goal.

“Family was absolutely massive,” Josh said. “My parents, siblings, and grandparents all went, and it was awesome to share that experience with them.”

Josh has been running for a long time, and he plans on continuing his triathlon competing in the coming years. Not only does he plan on doing more triathlons, but even different races and different distances.

“I would love to do something like this again, especially at the half ironman or full ironman distance,” Josh said. “I’m not racing it next year, but maybe I will again in the future.”

While Josh may be taking the next year off from racing in the world championships, this experience will last a lifetime for him.

“Overall, it was a great experience. It’s really cool to line up against people from all over the world and to compete at that level,” Josh said.