The Vandalia Leader

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Athlete of the Week

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 4:06 pm

Richard Hayden – senior

By Brandie Gay

Richard is a reliable and flexible runner. He enjoys running distance and he does well on a relay team. Richard is good at supporting his teammates and the junior high runners. There have been a few times when either the cross country or track team has had extremely low participation.

In 2022, Richard was the only boy on a two-person cross country team. The MVP award not only represents Richard improving as a runner, but also bridging the team to the next season where there was noticeable growth in participation

Richard enjoys chatting with his competitors from other schools and has made several good friends from Silex and Community R-VI. His running goal is to run in the Hannibal Cannibal this summer.

The Van-Far Track Coach Kris Cross said that Richard is a hard worker and is willing to step in where ever his team may need him.

“He is a great teammate, always encouraging others when it comes to their races and coming to meets like sections and state to cheer on his teammates, even if he may be not running.

Here are some of the accomplishments that Richard has done in his years at Van-Far.

Cross-Country (2021-2023), 2021: Indian Cross Country Most Improved and 2022: Indian Cross Country MVP – Boys. Track and Field (2021-2024), 2021: 5th place 4 x 200 – Cunningham Invitational Louisiana HS, 2020-2021: Indian Varsity Boys Track Most Improved Athlete, 2022: 4th place 4 x 800 – Louisiana Invitational, 2023: 6th place 4 x 400 – Cunningham Invitational Louisiana HS. Hayden’s best time in the mile is 5:55, 800 the time is 2:28 and in the 3200 his time is13:23.

Not only does Richard run in track he also has the passion for music. His days were a symphony of practice sessions, sheet music, and the camaraderie of fellow musicians. But it was in the Van-Far Band and Choir that Richard truly found his rhythm. But it wasn’t just about the music. Richard found companionship in the choir.

Some music accomplishments Richard has achieved at Van-Far include, Trumpet, 2023: All-District Honorable Mention Band, 2024, 2023, 2022: All-Conference Band, 2024: Outstanding Rating District Competition Trumpet Solo “English Suite”, and 2023, 2022: Trumpet Solos. In Band, 2024: Exemplary Rating State Band Competition and Richard participate in a lot of marching events including Hannibal Band Day and Clark County Parade of Champions.

Vocally, his accomplishments are 2024: All-District Choir, and 2024: Outstanding Rating District Vocal Solo “O Mistress Mine” and “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”.