VX boys track athlete of year: Sherod Hardt - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

VX boys track athlete of year: Sherod Hardt

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Posted: Monday, July 12, 2010 3:23 pm | Updated: 3:48 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Sherod Hardt needed one state title in track to appease himself, and he finally got it this year as a senior.

Then came another. And another.

After years of near-misses, the Queen Creek distance runner capped off a memorable senior season by winning three individual titles and leading the Bulldogs to the 4A-I boys state championship.

Hardt, an accomplished distance runner, took home the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter crowns, but saved his most improbable victory for last.

The 800-meter run was an irregular event to Hardt until this year, and he didn’t hold out much hope of winning the race at state.

"That race was stacked (with good competitors)," Hardt said.

Not only was it his worst race, Hardt had just finished the mile two hours earlier, and this was his final event of the day.

He didn’t believe he had a shot until the final 100 meters, when Hardt used a late kick to pass three runners and grab the title.

"That's when I really made my move," Hardt said. "That really surprised me. I have never outkicked someone in the 800 meters."

Hardt had plenty of motivation coming into this season.

His sisters, Whitney and Kari, had both won state titles early in their careers, and current distance runner Brian Shrader had kept him from taking home a state title in the first three years of high school.

"That definitely weighed on my mind," Hardt said.

A classification switch moved Queen Creek up to 4A-I, splitting up Shrader and Hardt and giving him an easier shot at the titles.

But regardless of class, Hardt had the fastest 1,600-meter run of anyone in the state, including Shrader.

"I had finished behind Brian Shrader a lot," Hardt said. "Coming into my senior year, I wouldn't have pushed myself as much as

I did without (that rivalry). I think that helps tremendously. That competitiveness gives you something to work for when you’re training.

"It’s fun to have a friend in your sport."

Despite the lack of titles, Hardt said he never felt frustration heading into this year.

"I just needed to train right and do the right things," Hardt said. "I knew I could do it."

All-Tribune Boys Track First Team

ATHLETE               SCHOOL      YR.    EVENT         COMMENT

Anders Battle      Desert Vista    Sr.     100       2nd in 5A-I by .02 seconds

Jordan Hill            Hamilton         Sr.     200       Third in 5A-I; fifth-fastest in state

Dylan Hambright   Arcadia          Jr.      400    Captured 4A-II title by more than a second

Sherod Hardt     Queen Creek    Sr.    800    Fastest in E.V.; also won 1,600, 3,200

Thomas Williams    Brophy          Jr.   1,600     Won state title in 5A-I

Matt Whitlach   Corona del Sol   Sr.   3,200    Captured 5A-I title

Cameron Taylor    Westwood     Jr.    110HH    Cruised to 5A-I state title; fastest in state

Harry Danilevics     Brophy         Sr.    300IH    5A-I title, fastest in state

Gerard Ingallina   Hamilton        Sr.    Shot Put    5A-I title, second-best mark in state

Geoff Roxborough    Brophy       Sr.     Discus    Second in state

Breylan Uchytil    Mountain View  Jr.  High Jump    Won 5A-I by clearing 6-7

Lewis Todd         Chandler         Sr.  Triple Jump    Won 5A-I title by nearly four inches

Aaron Hill         Williams Field     Sr.   Long Jump    State title, 23-6 longest jump in AZ this year

Alex Bishop        Brophy             Sr.    Pole Vault    Only E.V. vaulter over 16 feet; won state at 16-4.75

All-Tribune Boys Track Second Team

ATHLETE           SCHOOL      YR.    EVENT     COMMENT

Devon Allen         Brophy         Fr.       100    Third in 100, fifth in 200; bright future

Joshua Rushing   Chandler     Sr.        200    Fourth in 5A-I; elite 100 runner as well

Ronnie Sanchez   Perry           Jr.        400    5A-II state title in 48.88 seconds

Jared Gonzales  Chandler      Sr.        800    Second in 5A-I by a hair

Garrett Baker-Slama   Corona Del Sol    Sr.    1,600    Second at 5A-I state meet

Andrew Hagler    Chandler     Sr.      3,200    Ran a sub-9:30 at Chandler Rotary

Yusuf Muhammad   Chandler  Sr.     110HH    2nd at state in 110, 300 hurdles

Le'Sean Marks     Hamilton     Sr.      300IH    Third at state, seventh in high hurdles

Mo Latu                 Perry         Jr.     Shot Put      Third in 5A-II at state

Andrew Hurley    Pinnacle      Sr.       Discus           Second in 5A-II

Dimitri Jones         Higley        Sr.     High Jump    Second in 4A-II at 6-6

Craig Pearson   Mountain View    Sr.   Triple Jump    Second longest jump this year; 3rd at state

Charles Robinson   Mesquite   Jr.    Long Jump    Second in 5A-I, fourth-best in state

Jake Jarvis    Mountain View    Jr.    Pole Vault    Second at state with a 15-3

HONORABLE MENTION

Basha: Cody Roberts, Sr., SP; Chandler: Michael Okonkwo, Jr., HJ; Chaparral: Cody Moore, Jr., TJ; Coronado: Kwame Webster, Sr., 400; Desert Mountain: Troy Kellers, Sr., 3,200; Desert Vista: Edmond Baker, Jr., HJ; Chris Whitton, Sr., PV; Gilbert: Zack Peschke, So., TJ; Higley: Michael Strnad, So., 100, 200; Horizon: Tyler Larson, Sr., PV; McClintock: Hayden Tippett, Sr., SP; Mesa: J.D. Castille, Sr., 400; Dominick Decono, Sr., 110HH; Mountain View: Justin Neuman, Jr., 400; Spencer Frame, Sr., 800; Jake Jarvis, Jr., PV; Gerry Langford, Sr., Dis; Notre Dame: Brent Prather, Jr., PV; Brian Canavan, Jr., 400; Mike Foley, So., Dis; Queen Creek: Josh Nielson, Jr., LJ; Vernon Jamison, Jr., 110HH; Colton Lock, Jr., 110HH, 300IH; Jake Hamblin, Jr., HJ; T.J. Harris, Sr., PV; Daniel Bowman, Sr., PV; Seton: Kevin McDonald, Jr., SP; Tempe Prep: Rocky Brittain, Jr., 100, 200; Pau Tonneson, Jr., TJ, HJ, LJ; Valley Christian: Scott Kuiper, Sr., PV; Addison Bare, Sr., LJ, TJ; Williams Field: Tim Butticci, Jr., TJ; Westwood: Valencio Gray, Jr., 400.

Memorable moments from 2010 season

Dominance:  The Queen Creek boys team wasn’t happy with a third-place finish in 2009, so it was sure to take any suspense out of this year’s 4A-II state meet. Led by Sherod Hardt’s three individual titles, the Bulldogs racked up the points early and often to finish with 108 points, outdistancing second-place Tucson Canyon del Oro by 46 points. Queen Creek had an athlete finish in the top-3 of an event 10 different times.

Dueling Strengths:  The Chandler boys team has traditionally been strong in the sprint races and the jumps. Mountain View excels at the distance events and the throws. It held true to form this year, and the contest for the 5A-I team title was a heated one. The Toros ended up with 88 points, which wasn’t quite enough as the Wolves scored 92.16. Desert Vista (76.66) and Brophy (75) were also in the mix in a solid meet.

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