What does he do for an encore?
Cleveland Heights senior Jared Hall won the 800-meter run at the Division I state meet last year with a time of 1:53.1. He also anchored the quartet that established an Ohio high school record in the 3,200 relay at a blistering 7:47.17
And he was merely warming up. Hall achieved a personal-best 1:50.98 in the 800 in a Junior Nationals preliminary, placing him fourth in the country among high school runners. Then he clocked in at 1:52.19 in the University of Akron Rubber Open, the fastest current indoor time in the country at the prep level.
In the meantime, he landed a scholarship to Ohio State University.
So … what does he do for an encore?
“Oh, man, there’s a lot to be motivated for,” he exclaims. “This is our senior year and we want to make our marks. We feel this is the best team we’ve had – much better than last year. We also have an eye on that 1,600 relay record from last season.”
The Tigers finished second to perennial champion Glenville in the 2007 state meet. The 1,600 relay in which Hall runs the third leg placed just a half-second behind the foursome representing Trotwood-Madison.
Hall credits his youth soccer coach in a roundabout way for his initial passion for running. The coach forced all his players to run as part of their training program. Hall realized that he enjoyed that more than he did soccer. His mind wandered and songs played through his mind as he jogged along.
That seems like eons ago. Hall still thinks about various things as he runs in practice, but is focused solely on the task at hand during competition. His love for the sport and desire to maximize his talent motivates him to run cross country in the fall. He recorded the third-fastest time in the history of the school and would have qualified for state if not for a sub-par regional performance.
Anyone who would have predicted such greatness from Hall four years ago would have been deemed crazy. He was no more than an ordinary runner in middle school, but a tremendous dedication and work ethic allowed him to blossom. Veteran Tigers track and field coach Claude Holland is certainly appreciative.
“I’ve had a lot of outstanding athletes come my way,” he says. “But this is the hardest-working young man I’ve had in 30 years of coaching.
“Last year we found that he was actually doing too much. His performance started to wane and we were wondering why. As it turns out, we found out that he had been working out on his own after practices. He fessed up to me and we scaled him back and brought him back around. The rest helped him and he was fine.”
Hall knows that now, but he didn’t understand at the time that there is such thing as working too hard.
“At first, I wasn’t aware that I was putting in so much work,” he says. “Then I wasn’t showing the results, so I just started working harder and harder and digging myself deeper and deeper. I wasn’t training smart and taking advantage of my easy days.”
His competition would have preferred that Hall kept working too hard. No such luck – he regained his strength and continued to dominate right through the state meet. He never would have believed four years ago that such success was possible.
“Yeah, I would have thought it was a little far-fetched,” he says. “But track is so unique. You truly get out of it what you put into it. I’ve always had goals. Early on breaking two minutes was the biggest one. Then I continued to just take steps. But if someone had told that I would have the best indoor 800 time in the country, I would have said, ‘Hold on. Slow down!’”
Hall has gained too much momentum in his running career to slow down now. He is even thinking about running all the way into the Summer Olympics.
“I don’t think anything is beyond my reach,” he says. “Anything is possible and the Olympics would be a dream come true.”
First things first, however. And that means not only repeating as state champion in the 800 and helping his Tigers to a Division I title, but also maximizing his potential athletically and academically at Ohio State.
Hall is particularly fond of science and writing and is off to a good start in the latter. After all, he is rewriting the record books at Cleveland Heights and beyond.