Cavalier Corner

February 2018

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26 CAVALIER CORNER "I've had time to reflect on that topic and I'm honored," Hazzard said of the Grenada accolade. "It was my first time running for them and it meant a lot to me. "This was out of the blue. But I'm not focused on Grenada because I'm focused on the upcoming indoor season." UVA sprints coach and former Jamaican Olympian Michelle Freeman views Haz- zard as a proverbial work in progress. "Right now, we're on a new level and it's a new learning experience," Freeman said. "As a gymnast, there's a lot of stuff that you can't carry over to track and field. " … I n H a l l e 's events [sprints] you have to be aggressive and apply force. It's like she's starting ev- erything new and learning to be aggressive. "She's learning how to be aggressive with her arms and not point her toes. If she's not applying force it's impossible to sprint." Ironically, Hazzard might not have foregone gymnastics if her older brother Payton — an All-American sprinter who graduated from Virginia in 2015 — had participated in another sport. "Payton influenced me to enroll here be- cause I witnessed him grow as a person and a runner," Hazzard said. "I always wanted to go into a family that's supportive and connects well with each other. That's why I decided to go here. "He taught me just to go out there and have fun. He didn't say you have to win this or that. He said do my best and be myself." But as Freeman al- luded to, Hazzard is still making the tran- sition from gymnas- tics to track and field. " G y m n a s t i c s i s a completely dif- f e r e n t s p o r t t h a n track," Hazzard said. "My running form has changed, including the way I pick up my knees and the dorsi-flex for my feet [a toes-up position which is the proper spring biomechanic position of the foot]. "Payton was very successful. I'm used to competitiveness in gymnastics and track has that same competitive level." Being competitive is ingrained in the Cavalier sprinters by Freeman. "For me, it's [having] a tough mindset," Freeman said. "I know what it takes to get where these kids want to get to. I know the steps and what you have to do to get to where you want to go. For me, I went from high school to college to the pro level and ran track on the pro level for 15 years. "In order to succeed you need a certain mindset. First, you have to love what you do. If you don't you won't be successful in the sport. The way I do things is the way you have to do them. There aren't any shortcuts to success. For some people things come easy. When that happens it doesn't last long." Since Hazzard's long-term goal is to com- pete for Grenada in the 2020 Olympics, she has absorbed Freeman's philosophy when it comes to having a certain mindset. "That's my dream," Hazzard said of the Olympics. "It's why I'm out there every day working hard and doing my best in every way. "Michelle has a tough mindset and giving up is not an option," she added. "I think for the past six months I've taken her mindset and applied it to the sport. "Moreover for me it's a lot of repetition. I have to get used to creating good habits and getting rid of the bad ones. Obviously that takes a lot of practice." The operative word in that last statement is "repetition." "Right now, she hasn't grasped what I'm trying to teach her," Freeman said. "Noth- ing happens overnight. The things she was doing before she was doing a long time ago. "You have some kids when you make cor- rections they get it quickly. When she gets it she will have it. It's a matter of things click- ing. If it clicks she's ready to go." Freeman is rather blunt when it comes to insuring that everything eventually will "click" for Hazzard. "What I've learned about Halle is she's very quiet," Freeman said. "I have to get up in her face. You need to wake up. As a sprinter you need a certain poise. For me, regular Michelle is quiet and reserved. That's Halle. "Halle is a freshman and jumping into the fire can be a different experience. Is it bad? No. I want Halle to ask me to wake up. Right now, I'm getting Halle the athlete to wake up and then we'll have the athlete we need. She has so such upside. When she didn't run as expected in her first meet that doesn't dictate how she'll be in a month or two. "It's not where you start out. It's where you finish." Hazzard was named Grenada's Junior Sports- woman of the Year following medal-winning performances at the 2017 U-20 CARIFTA Games (silver and bronze) and the 2017 OECS Track and Field Championships (two bronzes). PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA OLYMPIC DREAMS First-Year Halle Hazzard Is Sprinting Toward Success "That's my dream. It's why I'm out there every day working hard and doing my best in every way." HAZZARD ON COMPETING FOR GRENADA IN THE OLYMPICS IN 2020 BY MIKE SCANDURA U P UNTIL SHE WAS 10 YEARS OLD, VIRGINIA FIRST- YEAR Halle Hazzard was an accomplished gymnast. Fast forward eight years and she is on the cusp of becoming one of the best female sprinters in the history of UVA's women's track and field program. In what could be a preview of things to come, Hazzard was named Gre- nada's Junior Sportswoman of the Year on Jan. 5 for her performances in the 2017 U-20 CARIFTA Games (i.e. silver in the 200 meters and bronze in the 100) and the 2017 OECS Track and Field Championships (bronze in the 100 and another bronze as a member of the 400 relay team).

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