Nokomis senior Law Hinkley, center, stands atop the medal podium after winning the 200-meters at the Class B state championship meet this season. Contributed photo

If Law Hinkley hadn’t injured his finger boxing, then maybe he would’ve stuck with baseball last spring. Then he never would’ve learned he’s one of the top sprinters in the state.

“I knew I was kind of fast, but I knew a lot of other kids who were fast, too,” Hinkley said.

A recent transfer from Greenville and with the injured finger, Hinkley decided to forego baseball last spring for the track team at Nokomis Regional High School. After a strong debut season outdoors last spring, it all came together for Hinkley this indoor season, with wins in the 200 meters at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships and the Class B state meet. Hinkley placed second in the 55 meters at both events.

“He got better and better every time he went out,” Nokomis coach Chip Littlefield said.

For his efforts, Law Hinkley is the Central Maine Boys Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Hinkley won the state title with a time of 23.72 seconds, edging Chris Koskinen of Yarmouth (23.73) by a one hundreth of a second. Hinkley was seeded two and in lane five. He quickly went to the lead, then held on as he could feel Koskinen coming up behind in lane six.

“I’ve watched the film (of the race) a lot. I don’t remember anything about the blocks. I just remember trying to kill the first 100 meters,” Hinkley said. “I felt the air pull out of my lungs because I saw (Koskinen) out of the corner of my eye. I think I got him on the lean.”

Added Littlefield: “He ran the race perfectly. He got out fast and took the lead.”

Until last spring, Hinley had never been a part of a track and field team. While many runners say getting out of the blocks is the toughest part of a sprint race, Hinkley found the start to be a strength. Maybe, he said, it was from years spent as a catcher in baseball, exploding from the crouch behind the plate to make a throw to second base.

“I know when I get down in the blocks, I try to psyche myself up. I take short breaths. Then it’s an explosion out of the blocks,” Hinkley said.

Last spring, Hinkley placed fourth in the 100 at the Class B outdoor state championship. When he first joined the track team last spring, Hinkley would typically take the lead through 50 or 60 meters, then fade. Littlefield worked with Hinkley to build up his endurance so that he was able to maintain speed through the finish. While he enjoyed the 55 this indoor season, Hinkley felt the 200 was his better race.

“I just sprint as hard as I could and hold on,” Hinkley said. “People talk about the 400 being a guts race. I find the 200 more of a guts race, especially the last 75 meters.”

At the KVAC championship meet at Bowdoin College, Hinkley lost a close race in the 55 to Belfast’s Cole Martin. In new track shoes, Hinkley returned the favor in the 200, winning in 23.98 seconds with Martin second (24.34).

“It was a nerve-wracking day,” Hinkley said.

On Feb. 29, Hinkley participated in the New England championships at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, running the 55 and 300 (there is no 200 at New Englands). Hinkley went into it just looking to enjoy the experience.

“It was the largest crowd I had ever seen and the kids were insanely fast,” Hinkley said. “I just enjoyed being able to represent Nokomis down there.”

One of the top members of his class academically, Hinkley plans to follow a family tradition after graduation and become the eighth member of his family to serve in the United States Marines. He reports to boot camp on Aug. 24 at Parris Island, South Carolina. Hinkley hopes to become a combat engineer.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

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