News and Tribune

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June 18, 2013

BOYS' TRACK AND FIELD: The best still to come for Hamsley

Hamsley is a state champion and now News and Tribune Track & Field Athlete of the Year

FLOYDS KNOBS — Now that Floyd Central’s Codie Hamsley has achieved his four-year goal of winning the Indiana state discus championship, he turns his attention to bigger things.

In the fall, Hamsley join the University of Louisville track and field team. Once there, he will focus on making the national championships as a freshman. By the time he’s a junior, he will join every other elite track and field athlete in America with his eyes on the Rio Summer Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.

“That’s my goal,” Hamsley said. “I think I can. If I put in the work, I’ll be able to. It’s all on me. It’s not up to anyone else.”

It would be silly to doubt him. Hamsley has proven that once he sets his mind to a goal, he achieves it.

When he was a freshman, Hamsley and his father, Kirk, saw his potential and set an early goal of winning a state championship in the discus by the time he left high school.

On May 31, that’s exactly what he did. After a state-best 201-feet, 3-inch toss in the Bloomington North Regional, Hamsley entered the state meet as the favorite.

On his second throw at state at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex, the defending state runner-up went 194 feet.

It wasn’t his best throw, but no one in the field was able to match him. The state championship was his — and being a state champion is something that can never be taken away from him.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “It took four years of hard work getting to my goal. I didn’t really believe it until the next day. It’s something I’ve been working for and it’s great to have it.”

Hamsley entered high school having thrown a discus 118 feet in eighth grade. It was obvious early on that a successful high school career would follow.

How good was still unknown — until he improved to 147 feet, and a sectional runner-up finish, by the end of his freshman year.

“From Day 1 my freshman year, the goal was to win a state championship,” Hamsley recalled. “It was my freshman year that I locked into that goal.”

Hamsley’s rapid rise up the state charts continued his sophomore year when he won his first sectional championship. His sectional throw of 167-10 would have been good enough for second place in the regional and a spot in his first state finals, but the then-sophomore scratched on all three throws.

“I was pretty mad, but it humbled me,” Hamsley admitted. “I was getting big-headed. When I did that, it brought me back down to earth and it put my butt back in gear. When I made that 30-foot jump from my freshman to my sophomore year, I thought I was in a really good position to [eventually] win state.”

As a junior, Hamsley won his second sectional championship and was runner-up in the regional at 176-9. The following week at state, he went five feet farther and finished second in the state to Carmel’s Langston Newton. He was the top underclassman in the event and his state championship dream suddenly felt attainable.

He was also starting to become a factor in the shot put, finishing third in the sectional and 12th in the regional as a junior. Venturing into the other throwing event didn’t excite Hamsley. However, as a team player, he knew it was important to be a factor in two events, and his effort helped the Highlanders win back-to-back Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional championships.

“It’s something I was avoiding all of my freshman and sophomore year,” Hamsley said of the shot put. “It was more about the team [needed me] to throw shot. Shot’s a lot about technique and I had the technique down, but my strength wasn’t there. This year, I started working hard and got up to 54-55 feet. When my strength got there, I was able to throw a lot farther.”

Entering his senior year, Hamsley decided that he wasn’t going to be concerned with any other discus thrower in the state. He would throw as far as he could throw and let the state title take care of itself.

“When I throw, I don’t worry about anybody but myself,” he said. “I knew I could throw 190 or 200 this year. So after my junior year, I decided I was just going to work as hard as I could and someone would have to beat me. If I go out and throw 205 [feet] and someone else throws 206, I wasn’t going to be mad.”

The 2013 season started just the way he’d hoped. He threw 181 feet at the season-opening Jeffersonville Inferno and re-established himself as the thrower to beat in Indiana.

“It was a very good start,” he recalled. “Starting back where I left off was a good thing. I was lifting every single day until the day of a meet, so my body wasn’t 100 percent when I was throwing early in the year. It didn’t matter. I wanted to peak at state.”

And peak he did. At sectional, he went 198-4 and beat Borden runner-up Brett Williams, who was also a state finalist, by more than 55 feet. He also won his first shot put sectional crown.

He won regional by nearly 40 feet and was runner-up in the shot put, making a state appearance in both events for the first time.

It was a great finish to a great career. But for Hamsley, it may be just the beginning.

“Now I have to work harder to try to get a national championship,” he said.

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