Learning from hurdle legends like Conner West, Matthew Nali and Jackson Potter. DJ Aponik symbolizes the dedication, hard work, and discipline it takes for anyone to become great in something they truly put their mind to.
Finishing in Foothill League Finals last years as the second best hurdle in 110's and third best in the 300's by one one-thousandth of a second, Dj will be looking to become the best hurdler in both events for the 2016 Season.
After a 3rd place finish by one one-thousandth to second place finisher Justin Baltau of Valencia. DJ in his words talked about how he felt. "I actually wasn't too disappointed with the third place finish at League Finals in the 300s. Running against Justin is always a thrilling time because of how close we are. I beat him Sophomore year at finals, he beat Junior year at Hart vs. Valencia, and we both hit a time of 40.83 at League Finals." However, the most important lesson he learned may have been at CIF Prelims.
Entering his first CIF appearance, Dj has learned many lessons of what to fix going into the 2016 season. He explains,"CIF was very humbling. It is easy to get too confident when there are only two, maybe three other competitors in league that pose a threat. CIF showed me what good actually looked like, and frankly, I wasn't it. Alex Billing, Khalil Dorsey, and Connor Meech were miles ahead of where I was. I really realized that I have so much more room and potential to improve. The main thing stopping me from being able to compete with these guys was myself. Maybe I won't be able to set records like Billing but I've set my eyes on CIF next year and I am determined to make Hart and the Foothill League proud."
During the off season DJ has been preparing like no tomorrow. He says, " Throughout the off season I've been spending much more time in the gym and on the track than I have in previous years. In the past I have been limited by my raw speed and power. I made up for this weakness Sophomore and Junior year with stride and consistency through races. I look to gain the power and quickness necessary to improve my start, speed between the hurdles, and turnover time. (That's what I call the time it takes to get up, over, and down off the hurdle). I'm also working on flexibility a lot. Basically I am trying to improve everything." Much preparation is needed for someone to become the best. DJ is the exact definition of preparation.
DJ Aponik will be one of the people to definitely watch this season. It's DJ Aponik's turn to take the torch and continue the Hart legacy that has been paved for him.
Trevor Habberstad (07), Rob Landtiser (91), Kirk Sweetnam (92), and Jarrett Davidson (14) are names that have edge themselves in Canyon High School Track and Field Hurdle History.
Lance Panariello, is on the cuffs of becoming one of the cowboy's legendary hurdlers to walk through Canyon High School.
Since his amazing freshman campaign where he dominated the scene in the 300mH. Lance's name has been feared when entering competition in the foothill league. Finishing the year with a PR of 42.29 (Foothill League Finals) and blowing away the competition by a good 35 meters. When crossing the line Lance said, "it was one of the most satisfying moments ever since I had surgery on my hip a year and a half ago. So being able to come back after that crazy long recovery and to win something was a pretty awesome feeling." Truly a remarkable athlete who's gone through so much.
So what can Lance fix about his hurdle ability?
In the 300mH it's his turnover and his form. However, like all great hurdlers that have come before him they also had these challenges that awaited. With time, Lance will be able to overcome this disadvantages.
With natural speed on his side he will be a force to be reckoned with this year and the next couple years if he keeps improving.
Lance's favorite memory from last season was when Canyon participated in the Burbank Backwards meet. In his words, " It was a backwards meet and the 4x4 was first. I was always the back up for the varsity relay and my coach told me last minute that I was running. However, before I went, the last thing he said to me was, "Don't mess up this team" and I was beyond nervous for that. I ran and held my ground during the race pretty well. The team got first and as excited as I was I found myself puking after I ran. Then someone took a picture of the 4x4 team all smiling and I was in the middle of them on my knees puking. It felt horrible in the moment but looking back at it always makes me smile."