ARTHUR — The 2018 track season didn't start off the way Logan Hall wanted.
Hall, an Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond senior, was coming off a state title in the 3,200 as a junior and was invited to run at the Arcadia Invitational in California — an event that brings together top high school runners from across the country in April.
Hall met some adversity.
"I just didn’t run very well and it just kind of opened my eyes that you aren’t going to get everything you want," Hall said.
But Hall didn't come home discouraged. He continued to work hard in preparation for the season, and — in his final race of the year — it paid off. Hall took second in the 3,200 and won the state title in the 1,600.
The performance earned Hall the Herald & Review Area Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
But with a lap to go in Hall's final race, he was staring more disappointment in the face — he was in fifth place and wasn't feeling well.
But after missing out on the 3,200 state title, he said he wasn't going to let the chance at going out with a state title pass him by.
"I kind of stuck in good position and was ready to give it a shot," Hall said. "With like 250 (meters) to go I started pulling up next to guys in lane two and three and made my move and didn’t look back and just tried to charge down the home stretch and get another state title."
That's when the hard work Hall put in following his California trip kicked in.
"At the end of the season I was in the best shape I have ever been in in my life," Hall said. "It was just having confidence. I'd run a 4:16 (at sectionals), which was a (personal record) for me at the time and it felt pretty easy so I was like ‘Wow, I am in good shape,’ and I kind of took that into the state meet."
A highlight of Hall's senior year was the chance to run with his brother, Layton Hall, who was a freshman. Layton qualified for the state meet in the 3,200 and his performance was eerily similar to his older brother's freshman year.
"As a freshman I made the slow heat of the two-mile and I was the fastest seed in the slow heat and (Layton) did the exact same thing," Logan said.
The next season, as a sophomore, Logan finished second in the 3,200.
"It is just cool to see the progress that (Layton) has made and where he is and where I was as a freshman," Logan said.
With Logan's gold in the 1,600 and silver in the 3,200, his track and cross country medal collection sits at nine — not bad for someone who was told when he was younger that running was a waste of his time. Hall will continue his running career at the University of Illinois.
"I had people tell me that I wasn’t going to go anywhere with running and I just found the love for the sport and kept working hard at it," Hall said. "Even after running in high school and having some success I never thought I was going to be able to go D-1 for running at all. At the beginning of my junior year that started to become a reality. I just had my orientation (at the University of Illinois), it is just crazy."
Hall said running for the Illini next year might include a shift in focus to longer events — a reality he's already started preparing for.
"Usually when you go to college you move up in distance so I’ll probably to be a 5K, 10K guy, maybe even steeplechase over the water," he said. "I have a pretty lightweight body so who knows, that could be my specialty.
"A couple of times in practice I have done half marathons without really trying, that’s just how my training was. I do 13-15 miles in practice.
"I think I get better as I go."