July 6, 2012 —
By Bill Mullaly
Hudson Tiger athletics are all about toughness, leadership, character, commitment, tradition and talent. Certainly, nobody represents those items more closely then recently graduated student-athlete Burke Hart. With all of those traits being part of his persona on the fields and courts it was Hart who won the selection as the Post-Gazette’s pick as 2012 male athlete of the year at Hudson High School. Like the schedule the Tiger teams play during the season the competition for this award was formidable with recent graduates Joel Varney and Devan Marry also garnering serious consideration as the top male athlete. However, in the end Hart simply stood head and shoulders above all the others. Hart was also the pick of the Tiger coaching staff as its outstanding senior athlete for the class of 2012.
Burke was the best
Hart could do it all and pretty much did do it all in his four years as a Tiger. He earned eight varsity letters while playing in all 12 sports. He competed in football, basketball and baseball all four years of high school. He is best known for his exploits on the football field, his toughness on the basketball floor and for his talents on the baseball diamond. Hart was part of several big moments in Hudson athletics the past few years. “I will always remember the state championship in football my junior year, the district title in basketball my senior season and the big win over Mendon in football my sophomore year,” said Hart, 18, the son of Brad and Tracey Hart. “There have been a lot of great memories in all of the sports and the most fun was doing it with my teammates. They helped me and I tried to help them.”
Hart was a leader in all the sports he played, especially his final year as a senior as he was selected a captain for all three of the sports he played. “I am a leader and I take pride in providing leadership but all of my teammates and I were in this together and we had lots of success,” said Hart, who finished his academic career with a 3.4 grade point average putting him near the top 15 of his graduating class.
Hart earned many honors the past four years with his final sport bringing him a top honor as the Tiger first baseman was recently voted onto the MHSBCA all-state first team as an infielder. The MHSBCA refers to the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association that picks the all-state teams. Hart ended his high school career in stellar fashion helping the Tigers win a baseball district and then they played at home in the regional advancing to the regional final. Hart had a big senior season on the diamond earning all-LCAA, all-district and all-region honors to go with the all-state recognition. He is also a lock to make the not-yet-released Daily Telegram’s all-county team.
He swung a big stick on offense and was a superb first baseman fielding the ball around the bag but his greatest contribution this past spring was his leadership as he was one of just two seniors on a very young team.
Hart certainly could smack a baseball but he is best known for putting the smack down on opposing ball carriers as he was the county’s defensive player of the year as selected by the Daily Telegram this past fall. “I still can’t believe it sometimes that I earned that honor and it still brings chills to me,” said the humble Hart who will be taking his defensive talents as a defensive end to Siena Heights University where he will play on defense as an end for the Saints this coming fall. Hart goes 6-2, 230 and he was a dominant force on the gridiron for the Tigers as a hard-hitting defensive end the past two years along with being a great blocker and solid pass catcher as a tight end on offense. “Football is my favorite sport but I truly enjoyed playing them all,” said Hart, who plans to study Business Management at Siena.
Hart gained all-LCAA recognition in football to go with his all-county award as the top defender but he also gained state-wide acclaim as well making the Associated Press (A.P.) honorable mention team. The Detroit News also put him on its all-state honorable mention squad. “Probably the highlight of my senior season in football was going to the Detroit area and beating Loyola last November,” said Hart about the huge Hudson win in the regional final over the city boys of Detroit, who referred to Hudson as the country boys. “It was a great moment for us to beat them and play so well and show them the country boys knew how to play some football.”
After an exhilarating football season Hart was a force on the hardwood as a consistent rebounder, steady scorer, but most importantly as an intimidating force down low near the hoop on defense. He helped the team win its first class C district championship in hoops in 21 years. “That was a great thrill winning the district at home and being part of something that took years to happen,” said Hart, who was the last of the four Hart boys to play sports for the Tigers over the past decade.
Then he ended his outstanding high school career on the diamond as the Tigers peaked late in the year to win the district in baseball with Hart being its leader and its top player as well.
“I had so much fun the past four years and these have been the best years of my life so far,” said Hart, who is a mature and sensible young man destined for some great things. “You can never get these years back so I did all I could to make them memorable for me and my teammates.”
Hart will leave Hudson as one of its star athletes and he hopes that in years down the road that if a future Tiger player is compared to him that the comparison goes something like this. “I hope if my name comes up comparing a player to me that they use words like toughness, leadership, character, hard work and team player because that was what I always tried to be about,” said Hart, who was certainly all those things and more over the last four years.
His prep career is in the books but now he is moving on as conditioning and weightlifting this summer are getting him ready for his first day of practice August 6th as he becomes a Saint on the gridiron. “I am excited about playing at the next level and it is going to be a real challenge,” Hart said.
Look for him to meet this challenge and succeed just like he always has during his athletic career.