ANN ARBOR – Fatouma Conde thrives on the pressure to make good on her parents’ sacrifice for her and her siblings.

Fatouma’s father, Mory, and mother, Djene, immigrated from Guinea, Africa in the late 1990s to make a better life for Fatouma and her brother and sister.

That commitment in their children’s future has paid off for the Ann Arbor Huron senior track sprinter, who ranks No. 2 in the state in the 100-meter (11.73-seconds) and 200-meter dash (23.84) and will continue her athletic career at the collegiate level.

Fatouma, 17, has turned that pressure into motivation to be one of the state’s fastest runners and not only runs for her family and school, but also to prove to herself what she can accomplish.

“I do feel a little bit of that pressure to make sure that I’m doing what I need to be doing,” Fatouma told MLive. “It’s not even just for my family, but for myself. I don’t want to go on a dark road or any dark paths, so I’m just trying to do whatever I can do to be great.”

Fatouma has been all-time great as far as Huron standards go.

The senior set the school records for both the 100 and 200 at the Division 1 regional final last week, surpassing the times of Huron legend and Olympian Cindy (Ofili) Sember.

All Fatouma’s accomplishments have been shared with her family during her emergence.

“It feels really good,” Fatouma said. “My dad’s always telling to keep going, my sister is always telling me good luck. Mother is busy and works a lot. When I come home and show her the videos, she’s super proud of me.”

Track Regionals in Ann Arbor

Fatouma Conde collapses in celebration after beating her personal record with a time of 23 seconds and placing first in the 200m run during the track regionals at Saline High School on Friday, May 21, 2021. Last week, Conde broke the record at Huron High School, and here, she broke that record again. (Alie Skowronski/mlive.com) Alie Skowronski | The Ann Arbor News

Huron girls track coach Candice Davis-Price was nearly moved to tears when reflecting on Fatouma’s growth as an athlete and person and her ability to take advantage of her unique opportunity.

“Her parents are immigrants,” Davis-Price said. “They came here for a better life for her, and I always had to remind her like, ‘You don’t get the luxury to just not try hard. You have an entire nation on your back. You don’t have any other option but to be great.’

“Once she may be felt that pressure and embraced it like, ‘Wow, I can be this gem and I can have an opportunity to go to college and I can be debt free and all of these things,’ that gives motivation. Running is great, but all of that other stuff is the true icing on the cake.”

Davis-Price always knew Fatouma had potential when she first decided to run as an underclasswoman.

Fatouma had originally tried basketball and volleyball but didn’t make the teams. She knew she had speed and figured track would be the sport for her.

Though it took time for the confidence to build, Fatouma showed that growth following her regional final performance that also included a win in the 400 relay and a team regional title as well.

“What was even more encouraging was her hunger afterwards,” Davis-Price said. “When we came back on Monday, it was like it’s time to go to work.

“An immature, not committed, silly Fatouma would have been like, ‘Oh my gosh, I ran this, I ran this,’ but she’s like, ‘So, what’s next?’ So that just made me feel like, ‘Wow, we’re putting pieces together.’

“It made me feel more confident going to the next level that she wasn’t just satisfied with running fast. She wants to be committed.”

Track Regionals in Ann Arbor

Fatouma Conde passes the baton to her teammate during the 4x400m relay at the track regionals at Saline High School on Friday, May 21, 2021. Huron placed first. (Alie Skowronski/mlive.com) Alie Skowronski | The Ann Arbor News

Fatouma will compete in the state finals for the first time as a senior. She didn’t qualify as a sophomore and lost her junior year last season.

All of that, coupled with her motivation fueled by her family, has her excited for what’s to come at the state meet in June.

Time will tell if Fatouma came bring home the individual titles, but one thing is for sure, she won’t shy away from the moment.

“I have two weeks to practice so I just want to make sure I’m executing whatever I need to do at the state meet,” she said. “I’m hoping to go No. 1, but it’s about patience really.

“I like competition. At first, I didn’t. But now, as I grow older, I just feel better when I run with other great women by my side.”

MORE:

Huron track sprinters go from underrated to two of Michigan’s fastest

Top Ann Arbor-area track and field performers from regionals

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