Lady Rams’ Hancock signs with Army | Sports | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
PARAGOULD — Olivia Hancock has traveled the country to compete in the discus, bringing home medals from various track and field meets.
“I’ve been north, south, east and west,” she said. “I’ve been everywhere across the country and it’s given me a really great opportunity to travel places I wouldn’t have. Anywhere you could think, I’ve probably thrown there.”
And once she graduates from Paragould High School later this spring, Hancock will keep throwing the discus for the United States Military Academy.
Hancock signed her commitment with Army West Point during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Paragould High School. In addition to the discus, her top event, she expects to compete in the hammer throw, weight throw and perhaps the javelin for the Black Knights.
“It’s a dream come true, especially going up to West Point. I can’t imagine a better future for myself,” Hancock said. “I love discus, it’s my favorite sport, so having this opportunity is just a dream come true.”
Hancock said she met Army’s coach at Duke’s camp when she was a freshman and he started recruiting her last year while sports were shut down because of COVID-19, which wiped out all but one meet of her junior year with the Lady Rams.
This spring, Hancock has already set two meet records. She is ranked first in Arkansas and 27th nationally after setting a meet record with a throw of 134-7 in Shreveport, La., at the C.E. Byrd Yellow Jacket Relays.
Hancock, who holds 10 meet records, first set Paragould High School’s discus record when she was a freshman. She won the Class 5A state championship as a sophomore with a throw of 121-5 and finished second in the 2019 Meet of Champions at 118-3.
“I’m really technical and I like the aspect of being able to do something that people might not think a girl like me could do,” said the 5-foot-7 Hancock, who also earned all-conference honors in basketball. “You kind of think that a thrower is a bigger girl. With my technique and my footwork, I can throw farther than some girls who are stronger than me or bigger than me, and I think that’s a great part of throwing.”
Hancock threw 123-11 in her only high school meet as a junior. She competed in NSAF virtual meets in June, throwing 133-8, and was third in the 17-18 AAU West Coast Junior Olympics in Las Vegas with a throw of 123-5.
While she would like throw in the 140-145 range this spring, Hancock’s primary focus is her technique.
“I thought that if I kind of stopped thinking about distances and more about my feet, that the distances that I wanted would come,” she said, “and I think that has really helped me.”