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Prince George track star overcomes health hurdles on the way to his goals

Prince George track star overcomes health hurdles on the way to his goals
Posted at 11:59 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 23:59:30-04

PRINCE GEORGE, Va. -- Javonte Harding learned at a young age that running track would be the sport for him.

"I was about seven or eight," said Harding.

With the help of his brother, the sport became his passion.

"Outside of my parents, my brother is the one person I would right after every race, would call me, tell me if it was good or bad," stated Harding.

It wasn't long after his first track meet that Javonte dealt with his first hurdle.

"As a kid, it wasn't much I was able to understand," Harding mentioned.

Javonte was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss. A condition that stops him from understanding sound, it can be found in one ear or it can be recognized as being a loss of hearing in both ears.

"It wasn't until I got older, I would say like middle school when I really fully started to understand it," explained Harding.

"When I talked to Javonte, I said hey, you wear hearing aids, your reaction time might be better if you wear your hearing aids when you run," said Prince George Track & Field Coach William Stevens III. "He’s like, I don’t need them, Coach. And that was the last time we talked about."

But it pushed him to be better on the track.

"It definitely made me want to compete harder," said Harding.

"And Javonte always told me, he said Coach, I’m gonna beat every record on that board and he did," Stevens expressed.

Javonte's desire to be the best in high school paid off when he won the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year in Virginia in 2020, becoming only the second student-athlete from Prince George to accomplish that feat.

"At the time that was one of my greatest accomplishments that I achieved until I made it to college," Harding mentioned.

"He ran fast on big stages. He had great grades. He’s a good kid. So he deserved it," said Stevens.

Despite his success at that level, there weren't too many college offers.

"When I didn’t get that many offers, I just shrugged it off," Harding explained.

The one he did receive was special, from North Carolina A&T, the same school his brother attended and ran track for.

"The team was already like a family cause I knew half of them because they ran with my brother," Harding expressed. "And honestly, it felt like home."

Javonte was hobbled by a hamstring injury for most of his freshman season at North Carolina A&T. But during the MEAC Outdoor Championships, he came into his own.

"It was a lot that I wanted to accomplish through that," Harding said.

"I knew what kind what motivates him," Stevens mentioned. "He wants to beat everybody."

Javonte won the 100M, the 200M and was part of both the 4x100 and 4X400 relay teams.

He was also named the MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Most Outstanding Athlete and North Carolina A&T Rookie of the Year.

"To come back with back with four MEAC gold medals out of all the events that I ran, that really set it off for me," Harding stated.

Javonte’s freshman season was capped off by qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 200M. While he didn’t get a chance to compete because of injury, just having the opportunity to compete for your country is something he will always remember.

"Of course I was overwhelmed with excitement because I realized that one of my dreams would be coming true for me to run for the Olympic team," Harding disclosed.

"Whatever Javonte puts in front of him, I see it," Stevens expressed. "He has a great support system. Family, his friends. It’s going to be being an Olympian one day, I could see that in his future."