Texas A&M sprinter Prezel Hardy Jr. wasn’t necessarily ready to run when the Aggies competed in the 10-team Texas A&M Invitational earlier this month.
The senior came down with a stomach virus and just wanted to go back to bed.
But by the final day of the event, he left the rest of the field feeling under the weather. Hardy recorded a double sprint victory in the 60 and 200 meters with personal best and collegiate leading times of 6.56 seconds and 20.70 seconds.
“I felt miserable to say the very least,” Hardy said. “I woke up that morning and all I could think about was, man, I just have to stop throwing up.”
For his efforts, Hardy earned the Division I National Athlete of the Week honor as selected by the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association.
Hardy’s 60-meter effort broke the A&M school record of 6.59 seconds. Hardy lowered his previous best of 6.61 from 2011.
With his 200-meter run, Hardy moves to No. 5 on the A&M all-time list and is second in the world in 2014, just behind a 20.68-second finish recorded by professional sprinter Wallace Spearmon.
Hardy’s award comes early in a senior season in which he wants to help bring an individual national title to the A&M track program.
Hardy already has built an impressive resume at A&M that includes being selected as the Big 12 Outdoor Performer of the Year as a sophomore in 2012. He earned high-scoring honors with 22.5 points at the conference championships and swept the 100- and 200-meter titles with career best times.
He placed in the 100 meters at the NCAA Championships as a freshman in 2011.
Hardy said he chose A&M during the recruiting process because he respected the truthfulness from Aggies coaches who expressed reluctance regarding Hardy being a two-sport athlete.
“I definitely have come a long way and matured a lot since my freshman year,” Hardy said. “Along with that maturity comes a mind frame.”
Hardy came to College Station after a stellar prep career at Ellison that included winning the Class 5A state championship in the 100 with a time of 10.08, the third fastest high school time.
But, he said, one of his best memories as an Eagle was teaming with A&M teammate Michael Bryan to win the Class 5A 4x200 relay state title with a time of 1:25.66 as a junior in 2009.
“We didn’t anticipate doing well,” Hardy said. “The 200 is not one of my favorite events, but for us to win says a lot about our characters as individuals, our efforts and our hearts as a team.”
Former Ellison track coach Larry Moore said it didn’t take him long to recognize Hardy’s talent on the track and the football field.
Moore said Hardy was the leader of the Eagles track
team the year it won the state relay title.
“He made me a smart guy and a whole lot better coach with him than without him,” Moore said. “He probably won every 100-meter dash and we won probably every sprint relay that we entered until we got to state.”
Hardy grew up playing football and track.
“My family would tell you that I’ve always been a runner,” Hardy said. “Whether it was running through the airport or running through the Walmart. I’ve always had a knack for running.”