St. Anthony’s Halle Hazzard felt her way through last season. In her first year dashing through the 55 meters, Hazzard said she spent the season trying to figure out the finer points of the event. After all, the transition from the 300 and 400 meters to the shortest sprint on the track is a tough one, one that is full of trials, errors, and exploration.

“I was still figuring out the kinks and the strategies,” Hazzard said, thinking back to last season. “Like, where to drive out to and how to turn over my legs. I was still learning all that.”

And all that learning process led to was a second-place finish at the state championships in March. Hazzard finished the state race in 7.10 seconds, .02 seconds away from gold.

“I got a really bad start and was kind of shocked that I got second,” Hazzard, now a junior, said. “ . . . I think it was just because it was my first year running the 55 [meters]. I didn’t have that much experience in it. Sometimes when you don’t have that experience, it’s difficult to get the hang of it, especially in such a high caliber race.”

Still, second place is nothing to sneeze at — certainly not for a beginner, or anyone for that matter. But Hazzard isn’t satisfied. She wants a title.

“When I was working out this summer, I knew that I would work harder to fix my starts and improve on my form so that I could be better, and hopefully take number one at states this season,” Hazzard said.

Hazard’s confidence was given a gigantic boost at New Balance Nationals, held the week after the state championships, when she won the Emerging Elite 60 meters in 7.63 seconds. Her goal this year? Win a national title.

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Hazzard did not run cross country this fall, instead choosing to spend her summer and fall focused on lifting, track workouts, and muscle strengthening. The regiment, which often began at 6 a.m, was something St. Anthony’s coach Olivier St. Aude referred to as ‘track preseason.’

Thanks to those early mornings and a full indoor season under her belt, Hazzard said that her speed, strength, and racing strategy are greatly improved. And that may be a scary thought for competitors who had trouble besting Hazzard when she was still figuring it all out.

“Not until this year have I felt comfortable in the race,” she said.

It appears the time to beat Hazzard may have already passed.