Baylor track and field’s Hardan reflects on six years as student-athlete

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer, Joe Pratt | LTVN Sports Director

Cole Hardan, thrower on the track and field team, is entering his sixth year as an athlete at Baylor. Despite holding multiple program records, Hardan said his main reason for staying is because he is on pace to get his master’s degree.

“That’s mostly why I stayed; it was more of the academic part,” Hardan said. “Junior year was COVID. Moving into senior year, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to have this extra year [of eligibility] stacked on top of it. Let’s see if I can get into a master’s program.’”

Hardan said there wasn’t a second wasted during his time on campus and that even though he’s seen many teammates come and go, the squad holds a special place in his heart.

“I love the team,” Hardan said. “I’m like the last of a dying breed of sixth-years, but the people I’ve gone through this program with are really cool characters.”

Hardan originally planned to attend Abilene Christian University to be a dual-athlete, where he planned to be on the football and track team. After things fell through, he said he was going to return home to San Diego and attend a community college, until Baylor became an available option. Hardan said he got accepted into Baylor’s undergraduate program just under a month before school started that year.

When he first arrived, Hardan said he was unsure of his abilities and if he belonged in the famous green and gold. To overcome this feeling, he had to keep his head up.

“Nothing is impossible,” Hardan said. “I thought Baylor was always too good for me until about my sophomore year when I started to compete. I was like, ‘No, God put me here for a reason, so I’m going to live it out.’”

Jeff Chakouian, assistant track and field coach, said he and Hardan arrived here at the same time and that he’s enjoyed seeing Hardan’s growth.

“It’s been great watching the evolution of him,” Chakouian said. “As someone that was really just trying to get a spot on the team at one point to now being one of our team leaders, school record holders, and scoring in pretty much every conference championship, it’s been pretty cool.”

As a thrower, Hardan’s objective isn’t very complex. However, this doesn’t stop him from getting real joy from what he does. He said he finds happiness in two different ways during everything.

“One, in the ring, when you throw a 16-pound ball 60-some-odd feet and it feels like a breeze, you get really amped up about it,” Hardan said. “Which translates to my second thing: In the weight room when you’re pushing 405 pounds and it feels like nothing … Personally, I’ve always been the kind of guy who loves the weight room.”

As a seasoned vet, Hardan offered his words of wisdom for younger athletes who may be looking to sustain a career as long as he’s had.

“Take it day by day,” Hardan said. “Don’t kick yourself all week over one thing you messed up on. Honestly, I always pray about it, because God led me to Baylor. So don’t put anything off, and always leave doors open.”