If everything goes according to plan over the next few years, Taron Slone will be racing to put out fires or chasing down criminals.
For now, the Ready High School senior is just happy to be able to sprint for the boys track and field team without pain.
Two months after turning in a runner-up finish in the 200 meters (21.79 seconds) and a third-place run in the 100 (11.05) in the Division II state meet last June, Slone had his second hip surgery in as many years.
Slone has run 10.9 to tie for the second-best time in the 100 in last week's area honor roll, and he also has run 22.5 in the 200.
"I could have waited to have the surgeries until I graduated, but it paid off because I got second in the state last year (in the 200)," said Slone, who is a west side resident. "I decided to get the other one fixed this past summer and I feel good."
Slone isn't exactly sure what caused his hip problems a few years ago, although when he was a freshman, he fractured a hip while doing the long jump. He also was told by a doctor that his hips were egg-shaped.
Slone decided to have surgery to repair his right hip in August 2011, and he had surgery on his left hip in August 2012.
"I was trying to figure out why I'd be running the right way but it would always hurt," he said. "They told me that both of my hips had an egg shape to them. The left one wasn't as bad, but I could feel it. The injury I had as a freshman could have caused it. It's rare, but if you're really active you can get it. It was something that kind of just (increased) as the years went by."
Slone is hoping for big finishes again at state in the 100 and 200. He also is competing in the long jump.
He then will be attending the University of Akron, where he hopes to be a walk-on in the track program.
In the classroom, he plans to study how he can use his speed in another avenue -- either as a firefighter or in criminal justice.
"One of the big reasons I'm going (to Akron) is that they have one of the best programs in firefighting technology," Slone said. "I would say that probably in the seventh or eighth grade and all of high school I've wanted to be a firefighter.
"I've heard that it's tough to get a job (as a firefighter) so my backup is criminal justice. Every time I tell that to people, they just say, 'Oh, you'll get to chase criminals.' "
Ready coach Dean Tower believes Slone's heart has shined through the last two summers while he recovered from the surgeries.
On April 23, Slone won the long jump (20 feet, 8 3/4 inches) and was first in the 100 (10.9) and 200 (22.5) to help Ready place second (47) behind host Columbus Academy (84) and ahead of Horizon Science (21).
On April 27 in the Columbus School for Girls Invitational, the boys team finished third (94) behind Bexley (136) and Watterson (102) as seven teams scored. Slone was second in the long jump (18-9 3/4) and won the 100 (11.1) and 200 (23.0).
"He had one of the surgeries two years ago and came back and had a great junior season," Tower said. "Then he had another one on his left hip (last) summer. He recuperated all offseason and did very little indoor and no running in the summer. He's just now starting to come around. He seems to think the 200 might be his best bet to win (state)."
Culbertson leading girls track team
Senior Carly Culbertson is off to a strong start after entering the season as the girls track team's most experienced competitor.
Culbertson, who ran on the 400 relay that was 10th (51.15) in the Division II state meet last year, had won every 100 and 200 in which she had competed before Ready competed in the CSG Invitational on April 27, according to Tower.
The Silver Knights were fifth (93) in the nine-team CSG Invitational behind champion Watterson (136) as Culbertson won the 100 (13.0) but settled for third in the 200 (27.1).
"She's doing a nice job," Tower said. "We don't have any sprinters, so we're not running her on any sprint relays and she (hadn't) lost a race (before April 27)."
Also in the CSG Invitational, senior Taylor Longenette won the shot put (31-9).
On April 23, Ready scored 60 points to finish behind Academy (80) and ahead of Horizon Science (18) as Culbertson won the 100 (13.0) and the 200 (27.2). Senior Allie Schroeder won the 100 hurdles (16.7).
"This is only her second year hurdling," Tower said. "I'm really excited about her."
Softball team isn't down about season
Softball coach Jen Goff believes her team's lack of wins isn't indicative of its improvement.
After going 6-16 a year ago, the Silver Knights were 4-12 overall before playing Jonathan Alder on May 3 and finished 2-4 in the CCL.
Four of their losses were by one run.
The strides forward are even more evident statistically after Ready's best hitter last year batted .314.
Through 11 games, Julia Hall (LF/P) was hitting .455, Sammy Hawkins (3B) was hitting .447, Haylee Patel (CF) was batting .432 and Hailey Bryan (P) was batting .400.
"We're scoring runs," Goff said. "We just need that one more run. We have played some difficult teams and just need to play a full game."
Another positive for Ready, according to Goff, came when it beat DeSales 2-1 on April 17.
The Stallions swept the Silver Knights on the way to winning the CCL last season.
Ready hopes a schedule that has included non-league opponents like Olentangy Liberty (7-6 loss April 3) will prepare it for the Division III district tournament.
Last season, the Silver Knights lost to fourth-seeded North Union 2-1 in a second-round game.
"Definitely, offensively, we're more than a step ahead of where we were last year," Goff said. "Our tough schedule last year prepared us for the tournament."