Two years in the past, Collin Harden ended his season as an honorable point out All-American by inserting twenty second within the NCAA Monitor and Area Championships within the 400-meter hurdles for the Youngstown State males’s workforce at The College of Texas at Austin.
Final June, the Girard Excessive College alum turned to distance workout routines across the north-side of the YSU campus following the cancellation of the 2020 season as a option to preserve his thoughts occupied and his physique conditioned for a possible fifth season.
Quick ahead to right this moment, when Harden will compete in the identical occasion within the Division I nationals on the College of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.
Following a wacky, wild, and bizarre educational yr that included spring soccer, a fan-less Beeghly Middle, a three-meet cross nation season, loads of COVID protocols and an Out of doors Horizon League observe meet that concluded inside, he’s one athlete left on the finish of the highway for the Penguins.
Harden doesn’t view it that means.
“I’m undoubtedly pleased with myself, undoubtedly pleased with my accomplishments, and undoubtedly pleased with my coaches,” Harden stated. “However, it’s not about being the final. I’m simply glad that my teammates have pushed me. I not often do issues for myself.
“I’m doing issues for my outdated coaches, my outdated mentors, my outdated faculties. It’s not nearly myself. I’m doing issues for different individuals as a result of they pushed me to get the place I’m.”
Harden finds himself competing on ESPN2 in opposition to different sprinters from the likes of LSU, BYU, Maryland, Texas A&M, Oregon, Oklahoma and USC.
He’ll even be amongst one of many first batch of athletes to compete at Oregon’s newly renovated Hayward Area, a totally new state-of-the-art facility with a $270 million price ticket. It opened for competitors throughout April after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the christening by almost a yr.
Being the house of the Geese observe and area packages since 1921, Hayward Area may also host U.S. Olympic Monitor & Area Trials later this summer time, creating a novel ambiance that Harden appears to be like to thrive in.
“While you go in opposition to the very best of the very best, which means you’re truly part of the very best of the very best,” Harden stated. “So, I’m simply glad that I acquired to the place I’m, and I’m glad the competitors is the place they’re as a result of we simply need to push one another. Everyone is right here to be pushed, and all people needs to win. I’m glad that I’m in that kind of mindset.”
Youngstown State has been represented on the NCAA nationals through the out of doors season 4 consecutive years, with Warren John F. Kennedy grad Chad Zallow making it to the most important stage again in 2017 and 2018.
Harden has been spending as much as eight hours per day watching his race movie to enhance his method, velocity and endurance. He’s looking for what he can tweak throughout a race to enhance his instances ever so barely, working to excellent almost each facet of his craft.
Sprints coach David Townsend has coached many runners through the years, however athletes like Harden simply stand out in several methods.
“The very first thing is the man needs to be coachable, and with Collin on this 400-meter hurdle, our purpose is 13 steps between every hurdle,” Townsend defined. “He’s been capable of obtain that, and he’s achieved that with out even figuring out as he will get stronger.
“He’s a pupil of the sport, and he’s a pupil of his race, so he doesn’t panic. In a whole lot of the races, you’ll see that he’s arising on the final a part of the race, and coming in actually sturdy, so we all know he has quite a bit left.”
Harden will begin in lane 4 in his prelim this night, which airs at 7 p.m. It’s a departure from the ninth lane that he’s usually positioned in.
That ought to enable him to see the opposite runners within the last one-third of the race, which he usually wouldn’t see in lane 9.
YSU coach Brian Gorby hopes that may push Harden to be extra aggressive than regular.
Harden might be representing YSU, Girard and the Mahoning Valley, and making an attempt to beat the distinctive challenges of the previous few seasons.
“We’ve all the time been a results-do-our-talking kind of program and he simply represents that,” Gorby stated. “He will get on the market and works his tail off. Coach Townsend and him get it achieved persistently, day by day.
“You don’t see an entire lot on the market on social media. Collin isn’t one to put up an excessive amount of out on what he’s doing right here and there. He’s only a pure outcomes, hard-working sort of grit-city kind of a child.”
Harden will compete within the third and last preliminary warmth. The highest two in every warmth, together with the subsequent three quickest instances, will advance to the ultimate, which is Friday night time.
With this being his last collegiate meet, the previous YSU Male Scholar Athlete of the Yr simply needs to put all of it on the road in opposition to an elite group.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re or the place you got here from, you’re undoubtedly capable of compete on the large stage otherwise you wouldn’t be right here,” he stated. “You undoubtedly work arduous to get the place you’re at.
“You simply need to be in a temper about desirous to be the very best.”
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