Hayden Patel is a senior member of the UCHS mens track and field team. He is the son of Angela and Dr. Sanjay Patel. In addition to track Hayden has competed in soccer, cross country and basketball. In soccer Hayden was a three-year letter winner, best offensive player in 2017 and team captain in 2019. In basketball Hayden was a four-year letter winner, given the Team Before Self award in 2018-19 and was selected a team captain in 2019-2020. In cross country Hayden competed in only his senior season but he made the most of it setting the school record and recording a meet win as well as being named All-Conference.
In track and field Hayden competed his junior and senior seasons, again making a tremendous impact along the way. In 2019 he was SPAA champion in the 800 meter run as well as runner-up in the 1600 meter run. He followed that up with a bronze medal finish in the 800 meter run at the NCISAA Division III State Championship. He earned All-Conference and All-State awards in 2019. When the season was suspended this spring he had the fastest time in the NCISAA Division III at 800 meters and was #2 at 1600 meters. Hayden closes his track and field career as the most accomplished male athlete in school history, owning three individual school records (400, 800 and 1600 meter runs) and being a part of three school record relay teams (4×200, 4×400, 4×800).
Hayden will enter the Honors College at the University of North Carolina in the fall where he was a Tar Heel Merit scholar and a Morehead-Cain nominee. He plans to pursue a degree in business administration.
In addition to his athletic exploits Hayden has left a legacy of success and service in academics and the Hickory and Catawba County community. He was Secretary of National Honors Society, UCHS Ambassador, Junior Marshal, Governor’s School attendee, HOBY Ambassador (10) and Staff Member (11). His volunteer work included Corner Table Soup Kitchen, Open Door Homeless Ministry, and Southwest Primary School.
Hayden’s favorite memory from track and field memory would have to be standing on the podium after placing third in the state meet. He says,” It meant a lot to me because I had worked tirelessly to cut my time throughout the season, and I came into the race with the 7th fastest time. No one was really expecting me to finish in the top three except myself and coach Taylor”.
Hayden’s message to his teammates is,” Never take your opportunity to compete for your school for granted. Life isn’t fair, and you never really know when your current race or game will be your last. It’s been a great ride playing all the sports I have during my four years at UCHS. I will forever be grateful for my time as a Barracuda”.
The great Jackie Robinson was quoted as saying, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on others”. During his time at University Christian High School Hayden Patel has exemplified that credo by his academic achievement, moral character and servant leadership. God’s blessings to Hayden as he will, undoubtedly, continue to make the world a better place.