WICHITA — For all the records he’s broken, meets he’s won and titles he’s clinched, Sam Hankins wasn’t always in position to secure his third straight Class 6A state championship in the javelin throw on Saturday afternoon.
Far from it, actually.
The Manhattan High junior knew, when he fell behind after two tosses, that he needed to record another throw of at least 190 feet on one of his two remaining throws. Further complicating things: Cessna Stadium’s javelin runway was roughly 30 feet shorter than the distance Hankins normally competes on.
Not to worry — Hankins logged a third throw of 206-09 and a fourth of 202-03. He was a state champion. Again.
That helped the Manhattan boys climb to second with 51.5 points, while the MHS girls reached eighth with 29.5 points at about 7:20 p.m., when the state meet was postponed because of inclement weather.
Field events will resume at 10 a.m. Sunday, while running events will start at 11 a.m.
Manhattan’s only event Sunday will involve its boys 4x400 team of Luke Wichmann, Julian Avila, Aaron Hoff and Wyatt Henton.
Hankins’ latest state title, MHS head coach Kory Cool said, was a testament to his resolve.
“When there’s a threat of not winning,” Manhattan coach said of Hankins, “that’s when he excels and does his best. That’s been a consistent theme throughout his high school career.”
Not that there have been many of those situations. Hankins hasn’t lost much, and one time that he did — as a freshman, at the Centennial League meet — it fired him up enough to respond with a throw of 206 feet later in the season.
Since then, Hankins’ has been a story of broken records on broken records.
Saturday was the newest chapter.
“Happy to win it three years in a row,” Hankins said. “It’s an honor. It’s fun to be out here.”
The good news for Manhattan: Hankins was far from the only Indian to secure a state title.
Senior Clara Mayfield (1,600-meter run), sophomore Daniel Harkin (3,200-meter run) and sophomore Darius O’Connell (shot put) all won state titles in their events.
Mayfield ended her MHS career as a state champion in the 1,600-meter run, winning the race in 4:58.28. She also took second in the 3,200-meter run, finishing in 10:48.95.
For one of the most decorated track athletes in school history, it was the perfect way to go out.
She was the first Manhattan girl to win state — in any event — since 2012.
“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet,” Mayfield said. “I’ve really wanted a state title for so long, and I’ve placed high so many times, but just haven’t gotten it. This morning, the 3,200 was disappointing, but I think it gave me some ammo to fight in that mile.”
The list goes on for Manhattan.
While Harkin locked down the 6A state title in the 3,200-meter race, clocking in at 9:30.22, the good news for him didn’t stop there — the margin was wide. He won by more than six seconds, raising a finger as he crossed the finish line.
Harkin faltered a tad in the 1,600, finishing 10th in 4:34.13, but he said it didn’t bother him as much.
Winning state, he said, meant more.
“I was so pumped,” said Harkin, who became the fifth different Manhattan boy to win the 3,200 in the last eight years. “It’s kind of hard to get your mind into the next race. You’re still in that dreamland a little bit.
“I looked back, and it was the best sight in the world to see nobody there. I was pretty happy with that.”
O’Connell’s title in the shot put was the first of his career — he won Saturday with a toss of 53-01.75, and the most encouraging part for Manhattan: he still has two years ahead of him.
Several other Indians medaled and helped their respective sides garner points.
The girls 4x800 relay team of Emily Keeley, Madeline Purdom, Sophia White and Ella Rosenkranz finished fourth, completing the race in 9:53.80.
Keeley also placed sixth in the 1,600-meter run, timing in at 5:14.45.
Meanwhile, Manhattan’s boys 4x800 squad of Wichmann, Ben Mosier, Avila and Declan Weixelman used a time of 8:10.21 to come in fourth.
The Indians also benefited from the contributions of sophomore Bonnie Hegarty, who finished sixth in the high jump with a leap of 5-02, junior Chandler Marks, whose personal record of 6-02 in the high jump earned him third place, and senior James Higgs, who ended his MHS career by placing fifth in the shot put with a throw of 49-02.25.
For Cool, he wasn’t surprised at the way Mayfield won the one-mile run. This, Cool said, was the culmination of the way she prepared during the season.
“She’s worked really, really hard to get that,” Cool said. “She was not satisfied with her two-mile, and had to hit the reset button, and that shows maturity, for her to be able to do that. Her mile was so aggressive. She took the lead immediately and never looked back.”
Hankins, meanwhile, isn’t done. He has several events lined up for this summer, including the Ironwood thrower development camp in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as training in Germany, where he’ll travel with his Olympic development team.
His future is bright, in other words.
In Hankins’ own, though, winning state again on Saturday remained enjoyable.
“I wasn’t worried about not coming out on top,” Hankins said. “I was pretty confident about taking the win. I wasn’t that worried, but I knew I had to finish it off.”
Manhattan results (6A)
1st -- Daniel Harkin, 9:30.22
10th -- Daniel Harkin, 4:34.13
2nd -- Mayfield, 10:48.95
10th -- Ella Rosenkrantz, 11:56.65
1st -- Clara Mayfield, 4:58.28
6th -- Emily Keeley, 5:14.45
Girls 4x800 Relay
4th -- Emily Keeley, Madeline Purdom, Sophia White, Ella Rosenkranz, 9:53.80
5th -- Luke Wichmann, Ben Mosier, Julian Avila, Declan Weixelman, 8:10.21
Boys long jump
15th -- Kalen Rauch, 19-06.25
1st -- Sam Hankins, 206-09
8th -- Alyx Glessner, 122-02
12th -- Taylor Claussen, 112-07
Girls high jump
6th -- Bonnie Hegarty, J5-02.00
6th -- James Higgs, 150-06
15th -- Damian Ilalio, 126-03