Photo by Jeff Helmkamp
Roxana sophomore Jordan Hawkins throws the discus at the Roxana Relays on Monday. Hawkins set the school record on Monday, tossing the disc 170 feet, 5 inches.
Jordan Hawkins rushed for 1,079 yards and tallied 13 touchdowns the past fall for the playoff-bound Roxana High football team.
He served as a key player in the winter of 2014-15 for the Shells’ basketball team that snared a regional championship.
Yet it’s the spring season that features the 6-foot-3, 225-pound sophomore causing the most commotion. He’s building an impressive portfolio in track and field, thanks to some impressive throwing.
Hawkins has emerged as the top discus performer in school history and he’s pushing for the Roxana mark in the shot.
“He’s an outstanding kid, a good leader and he’s on it 24/7,” Roxana coach Julie Akal said of Hawkins’ dedication to track. “It’s very exciting to see.”
What’s exciting at Roxana is that Hawkins is energizing the Shells, third in Monday’s Roxana Relays. They intend to contend for the small-school portion of the Madison County track championship Monday at Charles Raich Field.
“We want to defend our county title,” said Hawkins, aware that prior to last year, the Shells hadn’t finished tops in MadCo since 1975. “It’s important to us.”
He has made track a personal priority and the results reflect his dedication to the sport. Hawkins heaved the discus a school-record 170 feet, 5 inches at the Roxana Relays. That broke his two-week-old school record that he set April 5 when Hawkins threw it 161-4 in a quadrangular.
Previously, John Angleton owned the Roxana disc record of 156-10, set in 1959. So that mark lasted 56 years until Hawkins surpassed it. Twice.
“I’ve been eyeballing that all year,” Hawkins said of Angleton’s mark. “It felt amazing to beat it.”
No wonder. Roxana is Class 2A in track and last year’s state champion, Sam Sikon of Carbondale, flung the disc 174-7 to win it. Geneseo’s A.J. Marmion finished first two years in Class 2A with a toss of 171-2.
So Hawkins is in good company when it comes to throwing the discus with the state’s best in his class. However, he’s not trying to get too far ahead of himself. There’s a big chunk of the season remaining before the 2A Springfield Lanphier Sectional unfolds on May 20 and the IHSA finals convene the next weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
For the record, Roxana has had only one state champ in track. Erik Scott finished first in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 1993. Scott also was runner-up in the 110-meter high hurdles the same year. In 1982, Scott Finke finished second in the pole vault.
“Getting to state is the big thing because I didn’t make it to state last year,” Hawkins said. “If I can get there, I feel like I would have a good chance to place.”
“Jordan is excited because he has hit the state qualifying mark and I think he can get there and be a state contender,” she said. “He focused a lot more on throwing during the off-season and he has developed an explosive finish with his throws.”
He still has a way to go in establishing the school shot mark. Dave Stanton holds that with a throw of 57-9 in 1970, when Stanton took sixth at state. Hawkins heaved the shot 47-3 to finish first at the Roxana Relays. His best effort of 48-5 came last Friday at the East Alton-Wood River Relays.
It’s quite an upsurge for Hawkins since his freshman season. He owned a best 136-6 in the discus and 42-10.75 in the shot last year.
Hawkins became bigger, stronger and smarter. And one year older made a difference in sharpening his experience.
“He has done a lot with Pride Fitness, starting in January,” Akal said.
His workout regimen meant Hawkins gave up playing basketball the past winter. He said it wasn’t an easy choice.
“It was a very tough call not to play basketball,” he said. “It took me a while to make that decision. But I think that working out in the winter kept me focused on football and track.
“They go hand in hand,” he said.
He points to his work at Club Fitness and his own weight lifting at school, plus guidance from Todd Laux at Pride Fitness in Wood River, for his improvement.
“It has given me more speed, strength and quickness,” Hawkins said of his training. “I’m having a lot of fun with it and I think I’m more powerful than I was last year. The lifting, speed and agility work has paid off for me.”