Athlete Spotlight: AJ Hale Of Sandy Creek HS

What were some of the highlights/honors you achieved in your high school Track career and how did it feel to win to win the Individual state title in the 400 meters?

Freshmen Year: 400m Region Champ and 300mh Region Runner up, 5th in the 400 and 3rd in the 300mh at state, won AAU Club National Championships in 400mh

Pr's: 400m-49.1 300h-38.6 400h-54.3

Sophomore year: 300h Region Champ 3rd in 300h and 5th in the 400m at state, won the USATF Junior Olympics in the 400h, won AAU Club National Championships in 400h

Pr's: 400m-49.2 300mh-38.08 400mh-53.0

Junior Year: 400m Region Runner up and 300h Region Champ, 400m State Champ, 300h State Runner Up, won AAU Club National Championships in 400h, AAU Junior Olympic Runner up in 400h 

Pr's: 400m-47.5 300mh-37.5 400mh-51.5

Did you play any other Sports for Sandy Creek HS or younger? If so, tell us how you did in them.

I have never played another sport.

When did you begin to love/focus on Track and Field?

I fell in love with track and field as a little boy. I never expected to be as good as I am now. The sport amazed me when I was introduced to it. I remember watching the Beijing 2008 Olympics. After witnessing something so amazing, I then knew I wanted to be an Olympian one day and no one could tell me otherwise.

Did you encounter any injuries, struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?

For the most part of my High School career I struggled with patellar tendinitis. The burning sensation in my knees restricted me from running occasionally. Eventually, I muscled through the pain and later received physical therapy. Going into my freshman year I came off a hip injury, Osteochondritis, and a sprained ankle.

What did you enjoy most about competing in Track and Field competition, and what was the best thing about being a part of Sandy Creek's program? 

I enjoy competing against others in track and field. I live for competition and for the most part I like to come into the race as the underdog. It gives me a different feel that just ignites me. The best thing about being a part of Sandy Creek's program is the bond you gain with the coaches. I've known most of the coaches since I was a little boy. I've met many track people through my coaches.

Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years or longer that helped motivate and inspire yourself, you'd like to thank? 

I would like to thank Coach Truitt who has constantly believed in me and trained me to have the speed I have. Also, The jumps coach at Sandy creek, Christian Taylor's father, Coach Taylor who really got me in with the University of Florida. Coach Taylor always told me if his son could be an Olympian so could I. He always pushed me to be better than Christian and to never give up on Track. I gained a special bond with my hurdle coach Coach Easley. I credit him to the hurdling ability I have. I would like to thank coach Clark who helped me with my technique in my races. Last but not least I would like to thank Coach Al Hale, my father, for always making sure my body was ready to go when it was time to compete. I thank you for the countless massages and times you've stretched me out and for also believing in me. I would like thank my teammates A.J. Campbell, Kemarri Stewart, Amira Hackett, Michael Jones, Omarion Clemons and Nicolas Toomer for pushing me past my limits and believing in my dream.

Its been tough for everyone since March 12th when the GHSA closed Spring Sports down. How have you coping with COVID-19 and what have you done to stay in shape these past 6 weeks? 

In all honesty, I haven't done much since the quarantine began. I occasionally go for a run. I am using this time to get completely healthy with absolutely no injuries. It has been pretty hard for me to cope with the thought of not having a senior season at all. It had put me in a depressed state that was hard to overcome. I wasn't sure what to do with the amount of time i had. Track was taken from me and school became virtual, so I didn't know what to do with myself. I started to go outside more and connect with nature as a hobby.

Are you pysched up to be moving on to the University of Florida this Fall and competing in the SEC (the most talented conference in the NCAA)?And what are your goals this coming Indoor season?

The word psyched cannot he compared to the excitement I have to be a Florida Gator. Just the thought of it makes me jump out my skin from enjoyment. I can't wait for the Fall strength and conditioning. I'm looking forward to competing in the SEC. The level of competition fires me up on the inside. I love competition.. For this upcoming indoor season, even though I have only ran indoor twice in my entire life, my goal is to run below 46 in the 400m

I'm sure you must have met/know Olympic Champion Christian Taylor, a former Patriot. Has he had any advice for you? (A Gator as well) 

I know Christian well. Christian gave me the best advice ever. He told me when you are not training your competition is, and you can always train later, but that time you missed while your competition was training you can never get back. And rest is just as important as training.

What advice would you give to a younger athlete like in Middle School, who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?

My advice is to be patient, never give up, train hard, focus on yourself and never forget the end goal no matter what