ASHLAND, Va. -- Turner Hart, a senior midfielder and four-year starter for the Patrick Henry High School boys soccer team, rarely came off the field this past season. It was a season in which Patrick Henry made the regional finals for the first time in school history.
"The last half of the season, he played with a broken toe. He literally, after a game, could not practice for two days," coach Charles Altizer said. "He probably had his worst statistical season this year but we don't get to the region final for the first time in school history without Turner Hart."
Hart's toughness and attitude came to personify the Patriots.
While he may not have scored as much, many of Patrick Henry's goals went through him in one form or another.
"This past season, we ran a lot of our corner kick plays to get him open because he had a nose for finding the right spot," Altizer said.
Hart's ability to find the right spot has translated well to his other sporting passion, bass fishing.
"I just love being out here because nothing like being out here and one with nature there's nothing like it," Hart said.
Hart began competitively fishing a few years ago.
He has participated in about 30 tournaments in the past 18 months.
He finished 2nd place in the Virginia High School finals in each of the past two seasons.
"I just love the sport and the competitiveness behind it. From playing soccer and just being competitive, I just love that vibe," Hart said.
He was the only student angler in Virginia to be placed on the Virginia All-State team by Bassmaster. That earned him a trip to Alabama to meet the pros and learn what it might take to fish professionally.
"You get to meet the pros, go down and hang out with some people from Bass, make some good connections. It was awesome," he said.
The problem was the trip caused him to miss three games back at Patrick Henry.
During those games, his team had a win, a loss, and a tie.
When Hart returned, his coach wasn't going to start him because he had missed games and practice.
Then his teammates spoke up.
"The team captains came to me and said coach, we need Turner. Let him start. We excuse this because we know it's his future," Altizer said.
Turner competed in this year's Bassmasters Northern Open on the James River in Richmond and he held his own.
He was 40th place out of 225 boats after day one.
"I might have my own brand or something someday or start a company up which would be a good thing to have as a backup if it doesn't work out. But I plan to make it work out," Hart said.
"I would love to turn on the TV one time to one of these tournaments and they mention Turner Hart's name and I go man, I was proud to coach that guy!" Altizer added.
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