Hardee leaves the record for the books
Last year at this time, Trey Hardee was breaking records -- two to be exact.
The Texas senior made himself the standard in collegiate track and field, eclipsing the NCAA record (set by UT teammate Donovan Kilmartin) in the heptathlon at the New Mexico Multi-Event Meet, scoring 6,208 points. Less than three months later, Hardee scored 8,465 points at the Texas Relays to knock Tom Pappas from his seven-year reign as national heptathlon record-holder (set in 1999 at Tennessee).
Hardee began his college career at Mississippi State thinking he would participate in the pole vault, but fortunately for the Longhorns and the track world -- his coaches thought different.
"[My coaches] wanted me to start training for the decathlon because they thought I would be good at it in a few years," said the five-time All-American. "As an incoming freshman, you can't really fight your coaches so I just went along with it. I hated it up until I did my first decathlon here at the Texas Relays but I have been doing it ever since."
His Mississippi coaches' intuition paid off, but Hardee wouldn't find success under their watch. After the season ended his freshman year, Mississippi State canceled their men's indoor program. Then Hardee learned during the 2004 summer Olympic tryouts that his coach would not return. These two decisions led Hardee to explore new options. He chose to come to the University of Texas.
That year he won the decathlon at the NCAA Championships for Texas. The following year he would attain his records.
"It is nice to know that the work I did was worth it," said Hardee of his achievements, "but I always look back and think I could have done something different or something more -- like I could have set the bar a little higher. I am glad I got the opportunity to do it. My name is sitting by the record right now, but I know it is not going to be there forever. I wish I could have done a little bit more to make it harder to get."
Hardee attributes his success in life to his family and his faith.
"Just a whole lot of people praying for me and looking out for me by making sure I do the right thing and make the right decisions," said Hardee, giving credit where he feels it is due. "Ultimately, coming to Texas and having the team we have here, the coaching staff and the facilities have really provided me the right environment to flourish."
Although he is the defender of two collegiate records, Hardee does not feel the same amount of pressure he felt last year.
"I thought last year I had a lot of pressure to perform," said the senior, "especially at the conference and NCAA meets because I was the defending champion. This year, since I didn't win anything last year (he was injured at the NCAA Indoor Championships and failed to register a mark in the pole vault which left him out of the title hunt at the NCAA Outdoor Championships), I feel there is not as much pressure."
Hardee also said he does not encounter another aspect that usually comes with the territory of breaking records -- celebrity status.
"Absolutely not around campus," Hardee said with a little chuckle about his lack of star treatment at school. "There are so many other sports. If you are not 6-foot-10 or if you don't score touchdowns you are not [looked at as a celebrity]. That is just the nature of college athletics."
"I kind of like that I can just be a student," he said. "It helps me with going to class. You are not big man on campus -- you just have to go to school.
"At track meets and other track related events, it is nice to be recognized by people other than your peers," Hardee continued. "It is kind of fun."
The decathlon and heptathlon collegiate record holder will not see the familiar faces he saw last year where he broke the decathlon record at the 2006 New Mexico Multi-Event Meet. Four of his teammates will travel to Albuquerque for the 2007 Roger Cox Multi's and Dan DeHart Indoor Track and Field meet on Thursday and Friday (Jan 25-26), but Hardee will wait to take the track, leaving the memories of his record-breaking performance for the books.