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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

A season of success: Thrower Monique Hardy dominates indoor track and field

Monique Hardy, throws coach Greg Watson and thrower Tamaiah Koonce reflect on Hardy’s dominant indoor season
Thrower+Monique+Hardy+participates+in+the+weight+throw+at+the+KU-KSU-WSU+Triangular+on+Jan.+12.+Hardy+set+the+weight+throw+school+record+at+the+event%2C+reaching+22.13m%2F72-7.25%2C+eight+inches+further+than+her+previous+best+of+21.93m%2F71-11.5.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+K-State+Athletics+%7C+Austin+VanMeter%29
Thrower Monique Hardy participates in the weight throw at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular on Jan. 12. Hardy set the weight throw school record at the event, reaching 22.13m/72-7.25, eight inches further than her previous best of 21.93m/71-11.5. (Photo courtesy of K-State Athletics | Austin VanMeter)

A weight and hammer thrower for the track and field team, Monique Hardy made several accomplishments in this year’s indoor season. Her victories include winning the weight throw in the Bob Timmons Challenge, breaking the Kansas State record for weight throw at the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular meet and winning in weight throw at the Big 12 Championships. All of those achievements allowed her to qualify for the NCAA Championship, where she earned second team All-American honors. 

Being around so many great athletes was special for Hardy. 

“The environment was electric, you know, it was also satisfying for me as a thrower just to be in that space with like-minded people who were ready to throw far and have worked their tails off all year to throw that far,” Hardy said. 

Qualifying for nationals was something Hardy planned on since the beginning of the season. 

“That was an expectation of ours too, you know, so, you felt like you kind of met some things and achieved some things that was a goal of ours all year,” throwing coach Greg Watson said. “So we’re pretty excited about it.”

Teammate and fellow thrower Tamaiah Koonce was encouraged by Hardy qualifying for nationals. 

“It definitely makes me feel good about her and proud of her,” Koonce said. “And it also makes me feel good about the program that I’m in and chose to be in here at K-State.” 

Although Hardy did not place, she learned a lot from competing at the meet. 

“I didn’t make finals, which was upsetting, but it was definitely a learning curve for me to really focus in on the first three throws and just was able to enjoy that experience,” Hardy said. 

Competing at a national level is no easy task. As athletes continue to perform in their sport, the chances of succeeding get smaller as the level of competition grows. 

“I feel like it never gets easier,” Hardy said. “It just gets a little bit more comfortable. You know, it’s a high-level environment. There’s a lot of pressure and you have to execute what you do every day in the ring.” 

Hardy puts in a lot of behind-the-scenes work to execute in the ring. Watson said Hardy will put in around 15-20 hours in training between weightlifting and throwing.

The resources at K-State help Hardy perform at her best. Hardy said the coaching staff, athletic trainers, sports psychologists and nutritionists all play a role in assisting athletes like her on their journey to perform at their finest. 

Hardy is not only a great competitor in the ring; she is also a leader for her teammates. 

“Monique definitely has taught me a lot,” Koonce said. “Like just — she’s very humble. Like even when she does get a good throw … she’s always chasing the next throw.” 

As a coach, Watson admires Hardy’s willingness to learn. 

“She has been able to kind of stay focused on what she’s doing,” Watson said. “Maintain the attention to the details that she’s working on through a training session. And she has been able to improve quite a bit because of that.” 

With the outdoor season underway, Hardy is now training for the hammer throw. She placed  third in the Hurricane Invitational March 15-16 with a throw of 60.03 meters. 

“Just being able to go to those meets and throw hammer, it’s a different event,” Hardy said. “So I’m excited to grow within that event. Hopefully execute the same things I did indoors.” 

Hardy’s advice for throwers centers on her faith and relationship with God. 

“You have a lot of temptation and different motivations at the collegiate level of, you know, things to do on campus, off campus, getting involved in things but being focused on what you want to accomplish and what your goal and what your dream is,” Hardy said. “And for me, I’m a religious person, so keeping God at the forefront of what you do every day.” 

The accomplishments Hardy reached this year are inspirational to her teammates and a testament to her hard work and growth in and out of the ring. 

“I’m grateful to be able to have her as a teammate,” Koonce said. “Just like a guide to what I want to be and where I want to go, because I do want to make it to nationals, and seeing her be able to do that definitely makes me know that I can get there.” 

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