EIU Hurdlers Push Each Other To Succeed

Thursday, July 19 2012

Article by Jay Taft (Rockford Register Star)

CHARLESTON — One is almost done, while the other is just getting started. But bothDominique Hall and Cory Householder, two former hurdling standouts from the area, are all about winning and will let nothing get in their way.

“We've both got the same ideas: Winning every race we run,” said Hall, a former Belvidere North star. “The more good hurdlers you have around you the better you're going to be, so right now, we're planning on making each other much better.”

Both won multiple NIC-10 hurdling titles, and spent two seasons (2008-09) as the top two hurdlers in the area. Their heated conference final race in the 300-meter high hurdles in 2009 — narrowly won by Hall — stands out in both of their minds.

But now their focus is on helping one another, as well as beating one another on the track.

Hall has just one year of college eligibility left to accomplish his goals. Householder, his former rival from Harlem, has a little more time and a good role model to follow: Hall, his current teammate and hurdling partner at Eastern Illinois.

“He's definitely helping me out, a lot,” Householder said. “I've got a lot of work left to do, and he's almost done with everything he wanted to accomplish. This is going to be a big year for both of us, so we're working hard this summer.”

Hall has the fourth-fastest 110 high hurdling time in Eastern history when he clocked a personal-best time of 14.11 in last year's NCAA regionals. He's qualified for regionals all three years at EIU, but has yet to make it to nationals.

That would be goal No. 1.

“I've got to get my shot this year,” Hall said. “This is it; no more shots at it after this.”

Hall, who won four meet titles this season, is also 10th in the 400s with his 53.35. He has plans to change those numbers soon, though.

“I want to own both of those records before I leave,” Hall said. “I know it won't be easy, those are good times. But I've been working really hard this summer. A lot of summers I kind of take it easy, but not this one. This summer I've been going after it.”

As has Householder, who has not yet beaten Hall in a meet, but has beaten plenty of other competition. In fact, the two plan to get together to work on some technique exercises next week in Belvidere, and though they spend a lot of time training alone, they stay in touch. They've become pretty good at pushing each other.

“We don't talk much, but we'll talk to each other. One time he said to me while we're in the blocks: 'If you could just get out of the blocks, you could beat me.' I told him: 'I'm fast enough out of the blocks to beat YOU,'” Hall said. “It's all in good fun, and it gets us going. We know how to push each other, and we're going to make each other better this year, I guarantee it.”

Like Hall did before him, Householder battled with the transition from the 39-inch high hurdles in high school to the 42-inch sets in college. He's also had to deal with an extra 100 meters in the intermediate hurdles. But his coach expects Householder, who will be a sophomore this fall, to come through it just fine.

“We've got a real tight hurdling group, and these guys work through things together. And one thing I know: They hate with a passion getting beat, even by each other,” EIU coach Tom Akers said. “Dom (Hall) had a tough time transitioning to college, too, but he turned out just fine. I expect Cory to do the same. They could both be special this year, that's what we're hoping.”

That's how they see it, too.

“It has to be this year. I've won three conference titles, and I've accomplished a lot, but there's more I want,” Hall said. “Cory's hungry, too. He knows he came to the right school for a hurdler. We were rivals back in high school, but now we're teammates, and we want to be the best. Now's the time.”

Not rivals anymore
EIU teammates Dominique Hall and Cory Householder were rivals in high school, but are now pushing each other as EIU teammates. Here's how they've fared so far:

Senior Dominique Hall: Placed second at the IHSA state meet in the 110-meter high hurdles in 2009; has fourth-fastest 110 HH time at EIU (53.35), and 10th fastest 400 IH time (53.35); qualified for NCAA regionals three times, has yet to make nationals.

Sophomore Cory Householder: Placed first at sectional in the 110 HHs and second in the 300 IHs in 2010 and qualified for state in the hurdles three times while at Harlem; as a freshman, his top place was second in the 400 IH (55.71) and a fourth in the 110 HH (15.37), with PRs in both, at the EIU Tweener on April 24.