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Berkmar's Halim earns field performer of year honors

Every night before he went to bed, Hasheem Halim did 25 push-ups and 50 sit-ups.

The Berkmar senior wanted to strengthen his core and thought that would be the best way to do it.

The workout seemed to help.

Halim not only got stronger physically, but also in the triple jump.

The Daily Post's Field Performer of the Year won all but one meet he competed in this year, including the Class AAAAA state championship.

"It's a great accomplishment looking back on what I came from, pretty much a nothing," Halim said. "My 10th- and 11th-grade year, nobody really expected me to do anything and I really didn't until this year."

Halim took fifth at the state meet last year and concentrated on getting stronger during the school year. That's when he began his bedtime workout.

He did his push-ups and sit-ups every night during the week and squats on the weekend. The simple workout plan fits Halim's personality.

He's not brash. He doesn't brag about his accomplishments. He just goes about his business on the track and is successful at it, too.

"I think when you sort of look at him I don't think you can tell he's an athlete right away," Berkmar coach Fred Priest said. "He's not the type that carries himself and says here I am."

Halim went from jumping in the low 40s last year to finishing this year at 48 feet, 3 inches, in addition to winning the triple crown of county, region and state titles.

"It really was kind of a shock because he did it so quick," Priest said. "It reminded me of Bob Beamon (at the 1968 Olympics). He never did 46 or 47 feet, but he jumped 48 at the state meet. He did it all in one big leap so to speak."

Halim made a name for himself after last year's fifth-place finish at state. In his first competition this season, he won the Bartow Jenkins Invitational. He took second at the Peachtree Ridge Invitational to Tucker's David Lee, the Class AAAA state champ.

"He really started the season off like he finished last year," Priest said.

Even though Halim was successful, he still didn't have the confidence that comes with being a top athlete.

When he won the Gwinnett County title with a personal best of 48-3 in the triple jump his confidence began to build.

Halim went on to win the Region 8-AAAAA championship and then turned in one of his best performances of the year at state.

He cleared 48-01/4 to win the title, but probably could have done better.

"I was seeded No. 1 and I was expected to do really well and I buckled a little bit under pressure," Halim said.

Halim was hitting the board a few inches too soon, so while he was jumping close to 50 feet, it was only being marked in the 47-48 range.

"I freeze up in the big stage I guess," Halim said.

Being a triple jumper runs in Halim's family. Both of his older brothers competed collegately in the event and Halim will next season at Virginia Tech.

If he continues to jump like he did this season in college, he could be one of the top triple jumpers in the conference. His personal best of 48-3 would have gotten sixth at this year's ACC championships.

"In all my years of coaching you have some kids that you feel like deserve to be a state champion," said Priest, who has coached more than 20 state champs. "He was one of them. He just did all the right things, worked hard and was never flashy."

SideBar:

Boys Runner of the Year: Marcelis Lynch, Parkview, Sr.

Class AAAAA champion in 800

Boys Field Performer of the Year: Hasheem Halim, Berkmar, Sr.

Class AAAAA champion in triple jump

Coach of the Year: Mark Whitley, Parkview

Led Panthers to county and Region 8-AAAAA titles and fifth place at state

100: Eric Griffin, Brookwood, Sr.

Fifth at state, region champ

200: Eric Griffin, Brookwood, Sr.

Third at state, region champ

400: Jonathan Krause, South Gwinnett, Soph.

Fourth at state, second at county and region

800: Billy Kovalczyk, Grayson, Soph.

Third at state

1,600: Philip O'Brien, Collins Hill, Sr.

Fifth at state

3,200: Kirubel Erassa, Grayson, Soph.

AAAAA state champion

100 hurdles: Robert Jackson, Brookwood, Sr.

Fourth at state

300 hurdles: Brian Graham, Mill Creek, Sr.

Seventh at state, region champion

Discus: Nabil Mubarak, Grayson, Jr.

Fifth at state, county and region champion

Shot put: Hassohn McMahon, Shiloh, Jr.

Second at state

Pole vault: Paul Neidhardt, Brookwood, Sr.

AAAAA state champion

High jump: Brett Rosser, Berkmar, Sr.

Runner-up in AAAAA

Triple jump: Julian Vann, Parkview, Soph.

Third at state

Long jump: Steve Cash, Collins Hill, Sr.

Runner-up in AAAAA