There may not be a better or more versatile high school runner in the entire state of Ohio than Jonathan Alder’s Aziza Ayoub.
That’s high praise for the senior, but all she has done in high school is build a resume that at the very least puts her in the discussion. Before dozens of family, friends and classmates in the high school gymnasium Tuesday, Nov. 15, the standout inked her name to a National Letter of Intent to continue her running career at The Ohio State University.
“I’m very thankful, just because all of the hard work has finally paid off and it’s a lot less stressful your senior year when you know where you’re going,” Ayoub said. “While a lot of friends don’t know what they’re doing I’ve got my plans set.”
It should really come as no surprise, for anyone who knows Ayoub knows she has a drive and focus that will make her successful in no matter what she chooses to do. She made up her mind to run in college and earning a D-I scholarship is exactly what she did.
Ayoub has qualified for the D-II state championship track and field meet in each of her three previous track seasons, doing so in the 100-meter dash, the 400-meter dash and the 800-meter run. Last season as a junior she won the D-II state championship in the 800, forgoing her favorite event (100) in order to win a state title. She also put her mind to running well in cross country this fall and earned a trip to the D-II cross country state meet earlier this month.
Her ability to not only run with the Ohio’s best sprinters, but also more than hold her own against the best distance runners in the state made her a much-sought after recruit.
“I know it’s kind of weird because I made it to states in cross country and the 100, it’s just a good combination and for middle distance which is what I’m going to specialize in at Ohio State you really need both,” Ayoub said. “I’m glad I can have a little bit of experience on both, I probably still need to work on my endurance.”
The Buckeyes won out over an impressive list of offers which included the University of Kentucky, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska and Stanford University.
“Ohio State has had Big Tens a few times in the last six years,” she said. “They also haven’t had anyone transfer out of their program recently, no kids wanted to leave or transfer anywhere else which says something. I really liked the team and everyone I met and I really liked the coaches. I think they believe in me too.”
Ayoub used what she viewed as a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 400-meter dash at the 2015 state championships as fuel for her run to her state championship a year ago. She understands that having something to motivate her, something to drive her to be better is needed but there’s also the satisfaction of knowing her schooling is set.
“The pressure is gone, but that’s kinda not like a good thing,” she said. “Because the reason I won states last year was because I put so much pressure on myself. This is my last year to get things done. I’m gonna need something to give me that fire to keep me going.”
The standout has her focus and eyes on breaking the state 800-meter record and making it to the New Balance Nationals.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.