CdM quartet wants more

Troy Hardy, Ryan Rodrigues, John Swigert and Kyle Iverson laughed at the notion of being compared to a boy band, just before practice Wednesday at Corona del Mar High.

The boys' 4x400-meter relay quartet may run in One Direction and must be 'NSync (pardon the spellings), but they're not ones to be trendy or plastic as a group.

The Pacific Coast League champions just run fast, the fastest ever in school history and they are wanting to take it up a notch for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 preliminaries Saturday at Jim Scott Stadium.

Now, mostly every boy band has a formula. The CdM quartet has a different recipe for success.

It has led to the PCL title in their event, as well as helping the CdM boys' track and field team to its first league title since 2003. And of course, their formula has led to a new school record.

When they won at the Orange County Championships April 21, they finished in 3 minutes, 20.2 seconds, breaking a school record that had stood for 29 years. They lowered two seconds off the previous record set by Jon Forte, Lance Martin, Dave Patterson and Vince McGuinness.

These four were quicker. They are No. 9 in the state and No. 7 in the Southern Section. That school-record time is also No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division 3, according to dyestat.rise.espn.

Coach Bill Sumner said the relay team has become special because the four boys are motivated to break the school record and to finish the meet on a high note. As the last event in the meet, they know all eyes are on them.

They must trust each other and they must complete successful hand-offs of the baton.

"Continuity is important," Sumner said of what it takes to make a great relay team. "When they are smooth and together, and they are spirited about the event, that can make a good team. It takes the talent and you have to be motivated too. They all have to be on the same page."

The relay starts with Hardy, who could be known as the New Kid on the Block. This is his first season competing in track and field. He had been competing in cross country and in the spring he would transition to volleyball.

But he gave up volleyball, even after competing club, to go all in for track.

"I played volleyball the past two years," said Hardy, a junior. "I would've been on varsity, but I'm too competitive, because I'm not good enough to start. I'm too competitive to sit on the bench and watch."

Instead, Hardy went out for the track team. He said he always had a goal of being on the 4x4 team, which has had up to eight boys vying for the four spots on the competitive boys' team.

The boys know that if they have the best time in their 400 they can land on the 4x4 team. When Tanner Love couldn't race for the 4x4 team because of injury, Hardy seized the opportunity and took his spot by running a bit faster.

Rodrigues has also been passionate about being on the 4x4 team. The senior has been like Swigert and Iverson, wanting to be the anchor to finish the race and run down opponents who are ahead during the final 400 meters.

Rodrigues uses his speed and his intelligence. He'll be attending Columbia University in the fall and plans to compete in track and field there.

"It's the most exciting event," Rodrigues said of the 4x4 relay. "It's the event that has our adrenaline at the highest."

Swigert, a senior who played on the CIF Southern Section Southern Division championship football team, runs the third leg. He is perhaps the most important runner because his teammates hope he can conserve enough energy for the final event.

Swigert was the PCL champion in the 200 (22.49) and 400 (49.42), plus he was part of the victorious 4x100 relay team that won in 42.69 and broke a 40-year-old school record by less than a second. That relay team also featured Thomas Testini, Nick Willard and Cole Cotrell.

Rest will be key for Swigert on Saturday. And then he plans to come to the rescue for the 4x4 team.

Apparently he enjoys being a lifesaver. After he graduates, he is going to study fire science at Santa Ana College and work toward becoming a firefighter.

For now, he is enjoying his time in high school.

"It felt satisfying," Swigert said of the 4x4 team breaking the school record. "We knew we were going to do it. It was just a matter of time. We just had to put the right race together and do what we do."

The relay team ends with Iverson, a senior who just may draw a comparison to an essential of the boy-band formula.

Iverson was a bit of a rebel/bad boy at last week's PCL finals. But he said he learned his lesson.

A printout of the results for the 800 shows Iverson at the bottom and it reads "DQ, Disrobed in competition."

Iverson came in second, which left him so frustrated he stripped off his shirt and used profane language. The elderly official disqualified Iverson. He can't compete in the event at CIF.

Iverson said he finished in 1:54, which would've been his personal record by a second, and it was behind Dragan Simic of Woodbridge (1:53.75).

"I was pretty upset because it's the only misconduct I've done the last four years," Iverson said. "I just think that one thing shouldn't ruin my track career. It's my fault. I can't blame anyone else. I have to take the responsibility and let it help me to be a better person."

Iverson's final season hasn't gone without highlights. He was also on the 4x800 relay team that broke a 37-year-old school record by over eight seconds last month at the Arcadia Invitational.

Iverson, along with Blake Myers, Love and Rodrigues, finished in 7:47.48, which at the time was No. 3 in the nation and good for third place at the prestigious meet. Iverson had the fastest split at 1:54.17.

He hopes to break the school record in the 800, which is 1:52. He said he'll try to do it in a non-CIF meet later this season. Then it's off to USC, where he can be a preferred walk-on for the track team. He'll study business and pre-law and join his brother, Andrew, a sophomore at USC.

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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