Harding’s Honzu hurdles to new heights
By ROBERT HAYES
AUSTINTOWN — Despite track being an “individualized” sport, many relish in the team aspect, even competing in the solo events. Warren G. Harding junior Jameire Honzu has appreciated the track and field environment, earning a trip to state following an event win during the 100-meter hurdles, clocking 15.03 seconds last Friday at Austintown Fitch.
The race may have been Honzu’s first time competing at the Division I regional finals, but she’s quickly learning how to perform at key events. Later in the evening, Honzu helped the Raiders earn a point in the 4×100 with JaiLynn Adams, Alexis Rodgers and Ariyoana Reese at 50.26.
Over the winter, Honzu qualified and competed at the indoor state meet. Representing the Raiders at the SPIRE Institute in early March allowed for success in late May.
“Mentally, I just kind of prepare for who I’m running against, because whoever I’m running against just makes me better, and it’s better to have the competition next to you because they just push you even more,” Honzu said. “I know what I have to do, and I just do the same thing I’ve been doing all season, just get through the race and run my race as well as I can.”
“(Indoor) was a fun experience, now that I kind of know what I’m getting myself into, it’s more personal. It definitely prepared me a lot because I got to run with people I don’t normally run with for outdoor, so I got to see how that’s going to be for outdoor and that was really nice to have newer competition.”
This weekend will mark Honzu’s first time competing at the state meet in Columbus, but Harding coach Charles Penny was more than thrilled with the result, crediting hurdle coach Gariana Bercheni as well.
“To have her on our staff to coach Jameire and allow her to progress through the process of that, it just helps Jameire out tremendously. She has someone who’s been through that process, knows what’s expected at our school, and understands what the exceptions are, and today, another Warren Harding athlete on the podium to win the regional,” Penny said.
Despite it being her first time at the regional final last Friday, the confidence gained from indoor and her success throughout the spring paid off, crediting the encouragement she receives from her peers.
“It definitely gives me confidence, it made me feel like I can actually win, so I’ve been on a good winning streak and it feels good to have a lot of support, especially from my teammates,” Honzu said. “They keep me very uplifted.”
She began competing as a freshman, but was only able to run for about a month. Going into the sophomore season, a new sense of focus was brought, especially seeing how track is her only sport outside of taking dance classes at a young age.
Now as a junior, the focal point is on representing Warren at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, but regardless of the result, a refreshed outlook on the sport has developed.
“I love it so much. I love just being able to succeed and reach my goals because it just makes me feel very accomplished, and this season has been very personal and I found a lot of goals that I wanted to achieve,” Honzu said. “It just feels really good to have my teammates supporting me and my coaches supporting me every week.”
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it does mean a lot to me and I’m just excited to see what happens (this) weekend.”