The Day's All-Area Boys' Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year: East Lyme's Dylan Hatajik
Dylan Hatajik is generally ahead of the game.
Case in point: Hatajik played football, basketball and baseball his freshman year at East Lyme. Football was his true passion and, as an underclassman, he was already thinking about his future.
“My sophomore year, after football season ended, I knew that I wanted to pursue football in college,” said Hatajik, now a senior. “Basketball, I didn’t get to lift and get to do all my training over the winter. So I decided to do track because they lifted three times a week and did sprints.
“I had played baseball my sophomore year and started every game. Then junior year came along, I tried out and made the team and then thought to myself, ‘What am I doing here?’ Track is really better for me, so I switched over to track.”
Hatajik’s move to track didn’t just help him stay in football shape, it put him on a course to win Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I and Class M state championships titles this season. And he’s going to play receiver for the football team at Georgetown University.
Hatajik is The Day’s 2018 All-Area Boys' Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
“He’s a man with a plan, no doubt about it,” said Steve Hargis, East Lyme’s athletic director and boys’ indoor and outdoor track and field head coach.
College football runs in the Hatajik family. Todd, his father, and Brian Makovsky, his uncle, both played at Bucknell.
Strength, however, is a necessity to play football and Hatajik was not looking like a young J.J. Watt after his sophomore year playing for the Vikings.
“I used to be skinny as a pole,” Hatajik said. “I was 6-foot-3 and lanky. I really needed to put on muscle mass. … I said to myself, ‘I really need to change what I’m doing.’”
Hatajik had the speed to compete in sprints. He spent his sophomore year trying to keep up with senior teammate Evan Tryon.
“I found out early that I was good at shorter sprints, like the 55 meters and 300,” Hatajik said. “(Tryon) was still better than me. … The whole season, I would say it was me competing against him to make myself better. I was using him as a guide.”
Hatajik finally bested Tryon by finishing fifth in the 55 meters at the 2016 CIAC Class M indoor championship, one place ahead of Tryon.
“He was a natural,” Hargis said. “His ability, his athleticism, more so his ability to get out of the blocks; I’ve never seen a kid get out of the blocks better than this guy. He’s a big guy, so there’s a lot of unfolding that has to happen in a certain sequence.”
Hargis also encouraged Hatajik to try the long jump.
“(Hargis) was like, ‘you’re fast and you’re tall and got long legs,’” Hatajik said. “‘If you can transfer your speed into the jump, your long legs will help you.'”
Hatajik finished runner-up in both the 55 and 300 to Ledyard's Herman Winston at the 2017 Class M indoor meet and added a third in the long jump. He took second in the 300 at the State Open.
One of Hatajik’s goals this indoor season was to win his three events at the ECC Division I meet. He won two — the 55 (6.59 seconds) and the 300 (36.26). He finished second to Jahiem Spruill of Norwich Free Academy in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 6.5 inches.
Hatajik’s other goal was to win a state title in the 55 meters. He nailed it, edging Jay Donaldson of East Haven at the Class M meet, 6.59-6.60.
“At that point, there wasn’t any more goals for me,” Hatajik said. “The competition was becoming so great that anything more than that was gravy.”
Hatajik also finished second in the long jump (20-10.75) in Class M and sixth in the 300 (36.84). He finished second at the Open in the 55 (6.54) and eighth in the 300 (36.52). He also placed eighth in the 55 at New Englands.
The average high school senior tries to take it easy academically to enjoy his or her final year. Not Hatajik. He loaded up his schedule with challenging courses and plans on majoring in biochemistry pre-med with an interest in becoming an orthodontist.
“I knew that I wanted to use my football skills to get me into a prestigious school,” Hatajik said. “I knew to do that that I had to challenge myself in school, so I packed my schedule full so that I wouldn’t be lazy and keep myself in the right mind for school.
“When my friends are out doing stuff on the night before I have a huge test, I’m cramming away wishing I wasn’t doing it.”
Hatajik does it anyway. He has to stay ahead, after all.
The Day's 2018 All-Area Boys' Indoor Track & Field Team
Player of the Year – Dylan Hatajik (East Lyme)
300 – Greg Clark (Montville)
600 – Ryan McCauley (East Lyme)
1,000 – Rhys Hammond (Stonington)
1,600, 3,200 – Sam Whittaker (East Lyme)
55 hurdles – Cam Whalen (Stonington)
4x200 relay – Stonington (Joey Hinckley, Graham Johnstone, Cam Whalen, Nick Benjamin)
4x400 relay – Montville (Daltyn Butler, Ethan Rose, Nick Donnell, Greg Clark)
4x800 relay – Stonington (Jason Kilcoyne, Steven DeVoe, Chase Flynn, Blake Edwards)
Sprint medley relay – Stonington (Ben Abely, Graham Johnstone, Blake Edwards, Rhys Hammond)
High jump – Jahiem Spruill (NFA)
Pole vault – Chris Weir (NFA)
Shot put – Greyson DelGrosso (Stonington)
Utility – Tom Readett (Fitch), Shane Smith (Stonington)
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