Austin Hatfield doesn’t have any trouble keeping busy when it comes to track and field at Seymour.
“Every year I run four different events,” he said. “I run the long jump, 400 relay, and as of late last year I was running the 110 high hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
“There were three meets left last season and the coach said ‘go try hurdles’, and I was 3-stepping the (highs) from the very beginning. I could get over them OK. I was just a little bit too high (jumping) them. I need to work to get a little bit lower.”
Hatfield said he had to learn how to pace himself in the 300 and save enough energy for the finish.
“I’m more of a sprinter than anything, and getting that long distance was kind of hard because if you go too hard at the beginning you will just wear yourself out. The hurdles aren’t that high, but you have to realize how long the 300 is, and how much work it takes to get over the hurdles.
“They were pretty much similar, but it’s a mental thing. My partner in hurdles, Corbin Lovins, would always say don’t worry about how high they are, just make sure you’re over them, and make sure you keep your speed while getting over them.”
The senior’s best long jump last year was 20-feet-9.
“My coach and I have set a goal to get 21-6, but I want to see if I can get the school record this year,” Hatfield said. “I had a 3-feet gap last year, and I want to see if I can do it again this year.”
Hatfield said he looks forward to running lead off in the 400 relay.
“It’s more of don’t look at the starter, I grew up around guns and all that and I always learned more about not focusing on the shooter but just listening for the sound itself, so therefore you don’t have a chance of false starting unless you’re off-balance,” Hatfield said. “The way my blocks are set up I have more of a backward center of gravity than I do a forward.
“Lane 1 in the relay is nice. I like it because it is straighter and I don’t do well in the curve. It’s really just a matter of having good hand-offs. Hand-offs are the most important part. You have to make sure that by the time you get the hand-off out and the other person is at full speed or near full speed, and make sure you don’t go into the other person’s lane and keep everything clean and don’t get sloppy.”
In the fall, Hatfield played goalie for the Owls’ soccer team.
He said although there is a lot of pressure defending the goal, he enjoyed the challenge.
“I’ve been playing goalie since I started playing soccer,” Hatfield said. “My father ended up being my coach for a very long time in the rec leagues.
“The hardest challenge is split-second decisions. You either go or you don’t. You’ve got to do it on the bat. It’s complicated. I’m in charge of the defense, but at the same time I’m in charge of everybody in front of them. I called the shots whatever I saw.”
In the box, Hatfield adjusted to the moments of the other players on the field.
“If I saw someone running across the field I had to have someone following him,” Hatfield said. “I liked the leadership role of it. I felt like I was more in charge and after a while just being more experienced with it.
“The penalty kicks are terrible. Those are probably the goal keepers’ worst nightmare just because it’s one-on-one, 12 yards out, and you’ve got to cover a 10-foot goal. This year my coach showed me how to guess on which way they were going, and it helped a lot.”
In both sports, Hatfield feels that practice is important.
“I feel like practice is more important than the game or meet itself,” Hatfield said. You can play hard in the match but if you don’t practice well enough you’re not going to play as well as you want.
“The mental part you always want to keep your mind blank or stay on the positive side. If you feel like you can’t catch them, just let it go and just run. Once you start focusing on how you missed the worse it’s going to get.
Name: Austin Hatfield
Parents: Leslie Caudill, Doug Hatfield
Siblings: Peyton, Zavier, Landon
Sports: soccer 4 years, track 4 years
Athletic highlights: soccer- most improved; track- regional qualifier 400 relay
Plans after high school: attend University of Northwestern Ohio
Favorite TV show: Flash
Favorite movie: 2 Fast 2 Furious
Favorite musician: Avenged Sevenfold
Favorite team: Chelsea Football Club
Q: What’s it like attending SHS?
A: “Seymour High School has been fun. Its been a fun year, especially with sports and all that. They’ve got good selection and they know what they’re doing when it comes to it
“I’ve made plenty of friends. Actually I’m not sure I would call them friends. After playing a bunch of sports you really start to consider them becoming family. That’s how close you get, spending so much time together. Playing soccer was a great experience.”
Q: Fondest soccer memory?
A: “In the fall we had a tournament match (at Batesville), and we ended up going into a PK shootout at the very end, and it was all up to me whether or not we won the championship. I saved the first shot, but I crossed the line too soon, and they had to end up cancelling that one and shot again, and the guy shot over the goal thankfully.
Q: Did you like playing home matches at Freeman Field? Do you have a favorite away field?
A: “The (home) field there is beautiful. I played there for my club team my freshman year and its fun playing on it just because it’s so well done. My favorite away field was actually Floyd Central with Bermuda grass. It’s so smooth. It’s like playing on turf.”