A Hardy Boy’s Good Deeds

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For years, it was easy to identify the top sports teams in Philadelphia’s public leagues. Overbook, West Philadelphia, Ben Franklin and Simon Gratz dominated basketball. Northeast, Frankford and George Washington ruled football. And Northeast, William Penn and Gratz prevailed in track.

However, in the last decade, Swenson Arts & Technology, a tiny high school in the Northeast corridor of Northeast Philadelphia, has emerged as the track capital of the city. This year, the boys won their first public-league title and the girls won their third. The girls also finished second in...

Local high school athlete shows his winning spirit on and off the track

altThe collision was  not huge, but it  was big enough to  cost Swenson Arts  & Technology High School track  star Haneef Hardy first place in  the 800 meters at the Pennsylvania  Track Carnival at Lehigh  University in Bethlehem. But after  being knocked off his stride  by Chambersburg’s Ryun Holder  with 60 meters left, he was automatically  awarded first place.

Only Hardy’s conscience  wasn’t having it.

(Left) WINNING ATTITUDES Local track stars Haneef and Jay Hardy 

“The kid from Chambersburg  [Holder] came over to  me and was upset and said he  wouldn’t qualify for states because  he got disqualified,” said  Hardy, a senior. “I knew he didn’t  cut me off on purpose. I had  already qualified for the state  indoors championships, so I felt  very badly for him. I told the officials  to give him the first-place  trophy. I told them he didn’t trip  me. It was an accident.”

Track organizers converged  and then in an unprecedented  move, obliged. And Hardy became  an instant folk hero in  Central Pennsylvania for his  selfless act.

“I got calls from track  coaches all over the state telling  me what an amazing  thing Haneef did,” said  Dean Lent, Swenson’s  long-time track coach.  “I’ve never seen anything  like what he did  in 23 years of track. I  told Haneef that this  was more important  than championships.  Being a good person  and helping this kid out  will stay with him the  rest of his life.”

Besides, Hardy has  enough hardware right  now. This year, he led  the boys team to its first  Public League championship.  The boys also  took third in the state  AAA indoors meet for large  schools and sixth outdoors in the  AAA competition. Individually,  Hardy, is also the point guard on  the school’s basketball team, was  the state indoor champion in the 800 meters and came in third  outdoors in the 400 meters. He is  about to venture to North Carolina  in late June for the National  Championships, where he hopes  to be the fastest 800-meter runner  in the country. Haneef Hardy  also teamed with his brother Jay,  also a senior, on two city-widewinning  relay teams, the 4 x 100  and 4 x 400 meter teams, this  year in the Public League.

Ironically, in winning the  800-meters indoors in a personal  record time of 1:53:35 on  Feb. 25th at Penn State, the person  who finished in second place  came over to shake his hand. It  was Chambersburg’s Holder.  “You know, I wasn’t thinking  about him when the race was  happening,” Hardy said. “I didn’t  even see him. But afterwards he  came over to give me a hug. That  was a nice moment.”

A Hardy Boy’s Good Deeds
Jeremy Treatman - Contributor

Jeremy Treatman is the founder and co-director of the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classics and Sports Broadcasting Camps. Over 50 NBA players, including Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Rajon Rondo played in his events when they were in high school. Jeremy wrote high school sports for the INQUIRER for 10 years, and was the first TV reporter for the HIgh School Sports Show on Channel 29 from 1994-2001. He currently is Comcast's announcer for all high school games.


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