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June 29, 2012Army track commit Abraham Hall out of Grand Prairie (Tx.) South Grand Prairie, is normally not caught ... off guard, but on Wednesday, the speedster, who is arguably the top high school sprinter in the nation was stopped right in his tracks.
Hall was surprised with?the Gatorade Boys National Track and Field trophy by Emmitt Smith, former Gatorade National Football Player of the Year, yesterday at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Tx. The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.
"I just got it all today and I was like 'whoa' , it was crazy," says a deserving, but yet surprised Hall, as he talked about the day's event with GoBlackKnights.com on Wednesday.
"I was surprised -- I didn't know I was going to meet Emmitt Smith, I didn't know anything about it. My response was ... man that was just excitement ... like I said, I didn't know he was going to be there .... it shocked me. He's an amazing person and I had to walk out the room and walk back in and re-introduce myself, I was so shocked."
Hall, who was accompanied at yesterday's ceremony by his sister Abrianna Hall, along with friends Quran Barton and Tomorris Hamilton offered the following. "I was mic'ed up while in the conference room and they pretended like they were interviewing me," recalls Hall, as he chuckles at the events that took place just moments ago. "Then Emmitt Smith comes behind me and says congratulations, you are the 2011-2012 Gatorade National Track Athlete of the Year. He hands me my trophy and I'm like 'whoa' ... that's when I walked out and came back in."
Afterwards, Smith and Hall talked for approximately 25 minutes, where the sprinter said the former Dallas Cowboy great and NFL Hall of Famer offered these words of encouragement on Hall's decision to attend West Point.
"He said that's a good example," states Hall, who went on to say that Smith's words were a confirmation of what he felt all along. "He said that it's all good about doing track & field, but you got to have your trade. Not everybody can say they have a trade, you need to find your trade and need to work at your trade and master it."
"Well, West Point is going to be my way to do all that and finally master a trade ... they have the best education, skills and tools for me to do that," adds Hall, who is now focused on making his way to New York for Reception Day at West Point and the start of his "trade" as a cadet.
"I'm expecting to go in after I finish Cadet Basic Training and I know that's going to be kind of tough," says the always optimistic and upbeat Hall. "But if you it want it bad enough, you go get it and I have no doubt in my mind that I'm going to go get it. Also, establish an academic foundation because West Point is a little different in how they teach things ... the curriculum is different. Once I sat that up and realize that I am not at home anymore, that college life is a little bit different and you are on your own - after that, it will be nice. Obviously getting started with track and my future from there."
Army Track Commitment
Hall's track accomplishments speak for themselves. At the conclusion of last track season, Hall raced his way to Texas titles in the 100M and 200m, as he blazed his way into the books with times of 10.19 and 20.58 respectively.
However, Hall is one of those unique young people who has the ability to see beyond just today or tomorrow. And it is with that foresight, that he has others wondering why run at Army, when you had your pick of "top tier" track programs (e.g., Texas, Florida, UCLA, etc.) to attend.
"When Coach (Rondell) Ruff told me about the Army program and it hasn't been the best in the past couple of years, they would start with me and more people see that athletes are really coming through West Point ... that it would be better and that I would be the example that everyone else would go by," says Hall.
"That's the kind of relationship you do in college. Once you see that a top guy goes here, where do you want to go? And you want to go where the top people are. That is kind of what the coaching staff's emphasis was."
Of course for Hall, not having a predecessor in the Army track program speaks to his leadership qualities, but also faith in the coaching staff and embracing the attributes/benefits associated with West Point .... even beyond track & field.
"I just said you could go anywhere and run fast," he adds. "Now team wise, we have a lot to build on and I'm all from building a good team. You never start off with a good team, it's never worked that way. I'm willing to build and learn myself."
But before he makes his way to West Point, there is on more stop for Hall. He will be attending the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles California on July 11th, which will be aired live at 9PM (EST) and hosted by Rob Riggle.
Needless to say, being recognized with such top athletes and events such as Heisman Tropy winner Robert Griffin III, Heisman finalist Andrew Luck, No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis or the likes of Maria Sharapova will be a moment that Hall will never forget.
"That will be nice because I will get a chance to meet the other National winner from the other sports as well," declares Hall, who without doubt will make his family and the West Point community proud.
Other Notable Gatorade National Athletes of the Year:
Johnathan Gray (football) - committed to Texas University
Jabari Parker (boys basketball) - class of 2013 (5-star Rivals.com ranking)
Breanna Stewart (girls basketball - committed to University of Connecticut
Shelbi Vaughan (girls track & field) - committed to Texas A&M
Lance McCullers, Jr. (baseball) - committed to University of Florida
Geri Ann Glasco (softball) - committed to University of Georgia
Jordan Burgess (volleyball) - committed to Stanford University
Futsum Zeinasellassie (boys cross country) - Northern Arizona
Molly Seidel (girls cross country) - committed to Notre Dame