Oxford’s Hankins wins 3,200 title
PEARL — A first-place finish never felt as sweet for Oxford’s Emily Hankins as it did today at Pearl High School. The standout junior won her first individual state championship, taking first in the 3,200 meter run in the MHSAA Class 5A state meet.
Hankins defeated teammate Margaret Pepper Adams by finishing with a time of 12 minutes, 28 seconds. Hankins and Adams were seeded No. 1 and 2 entering the meet after the duo won the 5A North Half title nine days ago at Oxford High.
Hankins won the event on an even hotter day, but she said that didn’t hinder the way she ran.
“There is some wind. We’re up here on a hill, so the sun seems to hit it more, where Oxford is kind of down in a hole. We can do that, we’ve been trained for (heat). It’s more of a mental thing. You have to tell yourself it’s fine, it’s fine. I’m in my sweats up until it’s time to walk up here,” Hankins said. “I put water all over myself before it all started.”
Adams led Hankins most of the run, but Hankins hit the gas just before the final lap, passing her teammate and leaving her behind. She wasn’t sure if it was her best final lap of the season, but Hankins was pleased with how she ended.
“It felt good and in my mind, I was already done. I kept thinking to myself ‘You do not want to be on that second tier again.’ I’ve done that every year, trying to lead a race and not gotten it,” said Hankins, who finished third in the 3,200 last year. “I got second in the mile when I was in eighth grade. I was fourth in the 400. This (finish) is what we practice for. We run 400s in practice at like a 1:20 pace, which is real hard because we’ll run eight or 12 of them. The last two are really hard. Coach (Chris Patton) says to treat it like the end of our race. We learn how to (finish) like that.”