Bill Hardcastle has been there and done that. He wants to get there again.
The Mobridge graduate has qualified for the NCAA Division I track and field nationals twice. Now as a senior, he not only wants to get there again, but be in the top eight.
Basically I just want to be All-American, he said. Either in shot or disc. It doesn't matter.
The top eight individual place winners at nationals earn All-American status. Hardcastle has certainly left his mark at Purdue in the throwing events. He has performed well at the Big Ten conference meet every year for the Boilermakers. He burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2008. Hardcastle was named the 2008 Big Ten Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and Big Ten Outdoor Field Athlete of the Championships after winning the shot put and discus at the conference championships with career-best marks. He was also awarded Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year honors.
I wasn't expecting to throw that far, Hardcastle recalled about the meet. It was a real good weekend, but the main thing in my training group back then was always pushing each other.
Another factor for his success right off the bat was the year he redshirted. He weighed 225 pounds at the beginning of that first year and added 25 pounds. He now weighs around 265.
Getting used to the college setting was also important.
It was very beneficial for me because it was such a culture shock right away. Coming from a graduating class of 40 kids, I had 500 kids in a class at some point, said Hardcastle, who also considered Minnesota and North Carolina as possible college destinations.
After that first season, he was a steady performer for Purdue. He was even voted on by his teammates as one of the team captains.
I don't think it has changed what I do much, Hardcastle said about the captaincy. I do have the responsibility now communicating with the coach more. I'm kind of the mediator between the coach and the athletes.
Hardcastle's collegiate throwing career has taken him all over the United States. He has competed in meets in such places as Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and California.
It has taken me all over the United States for sure and introduced me to a lot of really successful people, he said. Just doing track, I have gone all over the place. I feel fortunate to do have had that opportunity. Just a guy from Mobridge doing this stuff.
The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference has announced Augustana College's Matt Braithwaite as the 2011 Dr. William Britton Scholar-Athlete Award winner and the University of Minnesota Duluth's Rebecca Anderson as the 2011 Willis R. Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award recipient.
The Britton Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence, in its 27th year, recognizes the NSIC's top male student-athlete, while the Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award, in its 25th year, is presented to the NSIC's top female student-athlete.
The Britton Award was created in 1985 in honor of Dr. William Britton, a longtime faculty representative at Bemidji State University. The Kelly Award is named in honor of Willis R. Kelly, an associate professor of physical education at the University of Minnesota, Morris. A member of the NSIC Hall of Fame, Kelly also coordinated the Minnesota-Morris Physical Education Department from 1970-87. She became the first director of women's intercollegiate athletics at Minnesota-Morris in 1976 and was later promoted to athletic director for the whole department. Kelly passed away in 1988.
The member institutions of the NSIC nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the Britton and Kelly Awards. The nominees must meet the following criteria: a grade point average of 3.20 or better (on a 4.0 scale); evidence of academic excellence beyond the minimum grade point average (scholarship prizes and other academic recognition), evidence of participation in the life of the institution, and evidence of participation in at least two-thirds of the varsity events of the individual's primary sport. The award is voted on by the NSIC Faculty Athletic Representatives.
The Northern State nominees were Aberdeen Roncalli graduate and football standout Michael Zerr and female track athlete Tanya Vassar.
From staff reports