By GREG MENGELT
FLOYDS KNOBS —
As a junior a year ago, Floyd Central’s Codie Hamsley beat everyone in the state in the discus except Carmel’s Langston Newton.
With Newton gone, Hamsley becomes the favorite to win his school’s first state championship since Ty Yeager won both hurdles events in 1993 and the first discus champion in school history.
While Hamsley figures to get competition from Lake Central junior Gelen Robinson (son of basketball star Glenn Robinson), among others, there’s no doubt Hamsley is within striking distance of becoming the Highlanders’ boys’ second track and field champion.
“He’s right up there, for sure,” Floyd coach Lane Oxley said. “[Robinson] is a very athletic kid who’s only been throwing [the discus] for a couple of years. And every year new kids come out, but if he keeps throwing like he has been, that puts him right in the hunt.”
Hamsley heaved the discus over 184 feet at last year’s state meet for his runner-up finish. At last Saturday’s Jeffersonville Inferno, the future Louisville Cardinal had an early-season throw of 188 feet.
“He already beat what he threw in the state meet last year,” Oxley said, “but you have to qualify [for state] then do it there.”
Oxley said Hamsley keeps improving because of his passion for the sport.
“He’s a very fierce competitor and a hard worker,” Oxley said. “He’s very driven.”
Last year, Hamsley showed his diversity by also running the 1,600 relay — and excelling at it. He helped the relay team qualify for the state meet. However, with the possibility of a state championship and a career at Louisville in his future, this season Hamsley has decided to put all of his time and effort in the discus and shot put, at which he also qualified for the regional a year ago.
“Last year, he stepped in and wound up being really good [in the 1,600 relay],” Oxley said. “He has great strength and athleticism.”
Hamsley recently spent some time with sports editor Greg Mengelt to discuss his future as part of the News and Tribune’s ‘On the Spot’ series.
• QUESTION: With Newton gone, are you the favorite to win the state discus championship?
• HAMSLEY: “I don’t know if I’m the favorite. I’m one of the favorites. [Robinson] is a great athlete and he loves throwing. He hasn’t been doing it long, so he has a lot of room to improve. So it’s probably me or him.”
• Q: Last year and even into this year, you’ve been able to progress at an astonishing level. Why do you think that is?
• HAMSLEY: “Really good coaching. My dad [Kirk Hamsley] is the one who helps me the most. He’s a really good coach. He helps me a lot and he puts a lot of effort into it.”
• Q: So that’s it, it’s just coaching?
• HAMSLEY: “I mean, it helps that I have talent and a 7-foot-1 wing span. That helps a little bit.”
• Q: What is it about track and throwing that you find so appealing?
HAMSLEY: “I like that it’s all on you. I play basketball and in basketball, if you make a mistake, there can be somebody there to help you out. Out here, if you make a mistake, it’s all on you. And I guess I’ve always been kind of really good at it. So it’s always kind of been my favorite sport.”
• Q: Would you like to see your shot put throwing get to where your discus throwing is?
• HAMSLEY: “Yeah, last year I was throwing about 45 [feet]. This year I’ve been in the 50s and I’d hope to get to 55. I want to get to state in the shot and hopefully get 55 and place. My goal is win the state in the discus and get top-five in the shot.”
• Q: So you don’t think doing shot put the same day at the state meet would take something out of you in the discus?
• HAMSLEY: “I don’t think so. I feel better when I throw both. My body’s more used to it. I do it in practice every day.”
• Q: What is your plan for progressing to the point of being a state champion?
• HAMSLEY: “I’m going to keep on lifting and throwing every day and hopefully at the end of the season, I’ll be in the 200s so I can win a state championship.
• Q: So that’s your goal, 200 feet?
• HAMSLEY: “Two hundred, 200-plus is my goal.”
• Q: So is your thinking that if you throw 200 you’ll either win a state championship or make somebody have an unbelievable throw to beat you?
HAMSLEY: “I just want to go in there and throw that one where somebody has to chase me. It’s better to be chased than be the chaser.”
• Q: How did you wind up doing the 4x400 relay last year?
• HAMSLEY: “I’ve always been able to run. I started out running in track in middle school. My freshman year I ran the  and I threw some. I started getting faster, so they moved me to the 400. Last year I ran a 51 [second 400], so they threw me in the 4x4. I ran a 53 my first race this year at New Albany. It’s just the fact that I want to be more competitive in the discus and shot put. So I’m done with it. I’m going to college for shot put and discus and that’s what I love, but I’m sad about [no longer running the relay].”
• Q: Why did you land on Louisville for college?
• HAMSLEY: “They have a great [throwing] coach in Dale [Cowper] and the head coach [Ron Mann] is really good. It’s a family-oriented track program. I went and visited a lot of programs I really liked, but Louisville felt perfect to me. I love the coaches, I love the team. I feel like I felt really well over there.”
• Q: What were some of your other choices?
• HAMSLEY: “I went to Auburn for a visit and Alabama. [Along with Louisville], those were my top three.”
Q: Have you decided what you want to study?
• HAMSLEY: “Most likely it’s going to be kinesiology. I want to be a track coach when I’m older.”