Dad’s memory pushes KHS sprinter to state medal, slot on college team
Just after he crossed the finish line a mere fraction of a second ahead of his closest competitors in the 100 meter dash, Maximus Washington looked up and pointed to the sky after winning the race at the Class 4A regional track meet.
The Kingfisher High School senior did it again a few hours later when he also won the 200 meter dash.
It was a gesture meant for his father, Ceadric Washington, who wasn’t watching from the stands, rather from the heavens above.
On June 6, 2021, just two months before the start of Maximus’ senior year at KHS, Ceadric passed away at the age of 66.
“We were really close,” Maximus said. “I dedicated my senior year in track to him.”
That senior year hit an exclamation point on April 30 when he swept the 100 and 200 at the regional meet.
It culminated last week when he signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his track and field career at Southern Nazarene University.
“Max made a decision to put in extra work because he really wanted to run in college,” said KHS head track and field coach Kerri Lafferty. “It certainly paid off and we are so proud of him. Max is going to do great things in college.”
• • •
Ceadric named his son Maximus, but called him something else.
“His nickname for me as I grew up was ‘BIGTIME,’” Maximus said.
The younger Washington had a solid junior track season for KHS in 2021.
He ran respectable times in the 100, 200 and 400 at the regional meet, but missed out on qualifying for state.
He knew he needed to get better.
Washington committed to run with the Flytime Performance Track Club during the summer.
The club’s head coach is Rodney Burkes, also an assistant coach for the Westmoore High School girls track and field team.
“When I first saw Maximus run, I instantly knew he had the potential to be a good sprinter,” Burkes said.
During the summer, Washington made the drive to Edmond two to three times a week to train.
It continued into the school year, but the practices were even further away at Westmoore High School’s facility.
He did so in the midst of his father’s passing.
Ceadric was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer in October 2018.
“He loved watching me participate in sports and excel in what I was doing, especially running,” said Washington.
“He loved to watch me run, but due to his health and the COVID outbreak, he didn’t get to see me run as much.”
Washington’s ability to focus on his training despite his heartache inspired Burkes.
“To see a kid like Maximus making sacrifices and overcoming life’s punches is admirable,” Burkes said.
Last fall, Washington ran cross country for KHS.
“For a sprinter, that’s extremely tough on the body,” Burkes said.
Once track season hit - and with the inspiration of his father’s memory pushing him – Washington began to see the fruits of his labor.
He won both sprint events March 25 in the Cashion Wildcat Relays, the first meet of the season.
Washington duplicated the feat April 1 in Watonga and then a week after that was first in the 200 and second in the 100 in the meet on his home track.
On April 15, Washington again swept the two sprints at the Chisholm Invitational, which would later be the site of the regional meet.
At the Western Conference meet on April 22, Washington was fourth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.
However, he set PRs in both as he ran the 100 in 11.40 seconds and the 200 in 22.91.
Eight days later, he returned to Chisholm and bettered those times.
He crossed the finish line in 11.18 seconds in the 100 and closed strong in the 200 to finish in 22.68 in the finals (after running a 22.64 in the prelims) to become a two-time regional champion.
In just one year, Washington had shaved .44 second off his 100 time and .87 off his time in the 200.
At the state meet in Catoosa, Washington just missed his PR in the 100 when he ran the prelim in 11.20. He also just missed on reaching the final by .01.
“He didn’t have a great start and in the 100, it’s critical to get out of the blocks and go,” Lafferty said.
It was more fuel for Washington.
“He was more determined than ever to make it in the 200 after missing out on the 100,” Lafferty said.
With that extra motivation, Washington set his PR in the 200 prelim with a time of 22.45.
In the finals, the next day, he once again showed his closing speed by passing Plainview’s Jose Ortiz near the finish line and almost caught Lincoln Christian’s John Washington.
His 22.47 placed him fourth and earned him a spot on the medal stand.
“It was a great race and finish to his career,” Lafferty said.
Burkes said the end of Washington’s high school career is only the beginning.
“Maximus’ range shows that he has what it takes to be a successful collegiate runner,” Burkes said.
“I firmly believe his career is just getting started and I’m looking forward to helping him achieve his goals anyway I can.”
Washington, too, believes greater things are in store as he continues to run in memory of his father.
He said he fully expects to live up to his dad’s “BIGTIME” nickname during his SNU career.
“I want to pursue that title and do big time things,” Washington said.
“And I really feel like I can do something there.”