Manhattan High School, a Class 6A program home to the Indians, has been known for producing top notch athletes over the years. The high school currently has one in sophomore track and field phenom, Samuel Hankins, one of the best javelin throwers in the United States.
Hankins put himself on the map real quick in high school as a freshman last spring as he won the Class 6A state title in his first season of KSHSAA Track and Field. Not only did he put himself on the map in the state of Kansas, he put himself as a known name across the country. Hankins threw 204-10 at Cessna Stadium last spring to win the 6A title and that wasn’t even his best mark on the year. His throw of 205-11 at the Centennial League meet last year is the national record for a high school freshman. Hankins is believed to be the first Kansan to ever throw over 200 feet as a freshman in high school and one of the few in the country over the years.
Things haven’t changed as Hankins is having an even bigger year as a sophomore this spring, if we want to call it that with the weather. He has already went 211-10 this year, a mark that ranks third overall in the United States, it also ranks first among all sophomore throwers in the country. His 211-10 is the second best sophomore throw of all-time from any year. He has also been pretty consistent around that 210 mark over his first three meets going 209 at two meets and the 211-10 at the Mid-Winter Relays.
For now Hankins focus is on this weeks Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence. He also has his eyes on another state title and wants to set the sophomore national record which is 221-0. Hankins will again have a heavy challenger in nationally ranked senior Hunter Krom of Lawrence, also over 200 feet this season as only three Kansans have accomplished that feat so far in 2018. Hankins will have more time to break several other records along the way over his career as his 211-10 mark is currently the 12th best mark of all-time in Kansas history. He also will have an opportunity by the time 2020 rolls around to become the first Kansas high school boy to ever win four javelin titles. Manhattan school record is 219-05 set by Matt Schwandt back in 2003, which is the seventh best throw in Kansas history. We caught up with the outstanding sophomore, who is also a quarterback on the Manhattan football team, below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas.
Q&A w/ Hankins
How did you get involved with sports?
I got involved with Manhattan track club when I was 8, and then got involved in football with Manhattan Indians little league in second grade.
What are the goals and expectations this season?
My goals for this year are to throw beyond the sophomore national record which is around 221 feet. Currently I hold the second best sophomore throw in the nation all time with 211’10”.
What is it like to go your school?
It's great going to a high school where everyone is so well connected by one home town. It's more of a family atmosphere than anything.
So young and already so good, what has that been like?
It's very humbling to be among some of the best throwers in the nation at such a young age it insures me that the work I put in equates to the results I get out.
How awesome is Cessna?
Cessna stadium is an amazing facility to compete at and sits as one of the best in the state. Unfortunately the day I competed at Cessna the conditions were unfavorable.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I don't like to think of strengths and weaknesses especially in a competition. I like to believe that we are who we are and we all have the same conditions and the better man that day will be shown through competition.
Take us through what kind of training you go through year-round?
Year round I try to focus on preparing my body for competition and doing anything in my strength to make myself a better thrower.
How’s the recruiting process going and who’s talking to you?
The recruiting proccess is very smooth and there are several D1 colleges interested.
Other key athletes on your team this year and what type of team should you have?
There's a wide variety of key athletes on our team this year. Many of whom are not the ones competing at the higher level but are the ones who help support and better our team as a whole. In my mind every athlete on that team is as equally important as the other. I feel we have great potential this year as a team, we are a special group.
What is your coach like to throw for?
Currently my coach is Tom Brosius, I can not think of a more influential coach to my high school career. He is truly a special character in my life I see Brosius as more than a coach but as family. I could not have a asked for a better coach to help lead me through a highschool career and to help lead me through life. He's truly something special in the field of coaching.
Best thrower you’ve ever faced and who are some key ones this year?
There's no single best thrower I have ever faced and I don't believe there are any key ones this year. I try to take it from competition to competition and not focus on other athletes.
Do you play any other sports, tell us about that and your accomplishments/goals?
Yes I also play football for Manhattan High. Playing football has helped me better my body for throwing and also my mindset for winning.
What’s it like to grow up in your town?
To grow up in Manhattan is an incredible experience. It's a very close nit town where everyone is friendly and happy to help one another.
Favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school is anatomy and physiology along with genetics.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It's impossible to tell where I might be in 10 years but no matter what, I'll be doing what I love and doing what I love to the best of my ability.
Best place to eat in your surrounding area?
There are too many good places to eat in Manhattan it is impossible to say.