For many competitors the first few weeks are used to knock the rust off or to gain experience competing in meets. However, for Lawrence High School senior, Blake Hocking, this was not the case. At last year's Topeka West's Mid-Winter Relays, Hocking threw 56 feet 3 inches, but that was a year ago. This year Hocking is a man on a mission. "My goals for the upcoming season are to throw 70 feet in shot put, beat Clint Johnson's state shot put record of 69 feet in the process, and throw 180 in discus." Hocking said. The UMKC signee made a huge step in accomplishing his goals by throwing 60-3.5 at the same meet this year; 4 feet further than his performance from last year. This mark puts him second in the nation behind Hayden Reed of Texas who threw 61-5 on March 15th. While his mark is incredible, Hocking is capable of even more. "My results at the meet at Topeka West were actually below my practice throws and I look to throw farther in the upcoming meets. " The success is no fluke. Hocking, who also played football for Lawrence, has put a lot of work into getting stronger. "I have been in training mode over the winter, working hard in the weight room, I played football, did weights and conditioning with the football team in the summer and made significant gains. I did not compete indoors as I continued to make great progress in the weight room. "
UMKC landed one of the best throwers in the nation with the addition of Hocking. "I was recruited by over 35 division one schools, but it mainly came down to South Carolina, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Colorado State along with UMKC. It came down to UMKC and South Carolina in the end, and I decided to commit to UMKC because of the relationship with the coaching staff, having a dental school as I want to become a dentist later in life, and being close to home."
As the season continues, Hocking looks to take steps to accomplish his goals. The three meets he is looking forward to most are the Kansas Relays and Topeka Seaman Relays, as well as the State Track Meet.
Looking back as he finished his final season, his favorite memory comes from 2010 when he competed in the AAU Junior Olympics. "I won the shot put national championship in the intermediate division. What makes it so memorable was the fact that I was the not the favorite going in, and I had bad throws the first two attempts and needed a big throw just to get into finals and actually got a pr on the third attempt, and from there I got two more pr's during the finals of the competition and won the competition. "
Hocking threw 62 feet nine inches last year. How far can he throw this year? If the first meet was any sign of what's ahead, watch for him to do great things the rest of this spring and summer.