Tommy Ward runs at NCAA Track prelims, going where no Bluejay has gone before

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Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In only Creighton’s second official NCAA Track season since 1961, redshirt sophomore Tommy Ward has made history becoming the first Jay to compete at an NCAA regional championship. While Ward didn’t qualify for NCAA Championships, running a 1:51.99 in the 800m, just over two seconds shy of advancing, the Tennessee native has already left his mark on the young program.

“I’m a little bit excited to capitalize on the areas I have to improve on but also it was just really cool to be out there,” said Ward after returning from competing in Sacramento, California.

“This being only our second year of track and having somebody qualify for NCAA’s is just a huge accomplishment,” said Creighton track and cross country head coach Chris Gannon.

Like the rest of the Jays track team, Ward also runs cross country. This past October Ward broke Creighton’s 8K school record during the Platte River Rumble.

“That type of range isn’t common,” said Gannon. “It’s not a normal thing. Most people be an 800, 1500 meter specialist, 400, 800-meter specialist who might some decent times on the cross country course.”

“I would never do the 5K in track. I couldn’t focus for that long, but in cross country, it’s pretty outside,” said Ward.

Ward’s performance on the oval is even more impressive given Creighton doesn’t even have a track facility. The Jays use Blackburn high school’s track about a mile off of campus.

“I feel a little bit more grateful for what we have when we have it and when we don’t it’s like I don’t need it to be good. I can be good without it,” said Ward.

“We find ways to make it work,” said Gannon. “That just speaks to our program as well. We’re just going to find a way to get it done and continue to elevate things around here.”