Ottawa High School senior Mickey Jensen fits that example. The University of Kansas men’s track coaches have been in contact with him since late 2012. He was offered a chance to join the Jayhawks track program. He jumped at it.
“It is really nice,” Jensen said Monday after signing with Kansas in the OHS library. “I got really lucky on this deal. I worked as hard as I can. I went up for a visit. I met the throwers coach. He must have seen something he liked. He is giving me a chance. I will have to work harder than anybody else to prove him right.
“I have been really blessed. I will make it work for me.”
The Jayhawks want him to be a hammer thrower, an event not offered in high school.
Kansas thrower’s coach Andy Kokhanovsky saw Jensen had the build (6-foot-2, 280 pounds) strength and smartness to be a hammer thrower in college.
“They want me to go up and there and throw hammer, weight, shot, discus ... anything I get my hands on,” Jensen said. “I never touched a hammer before. Everytime I talked to coach K up there, he says something about throwing the hammer. That is what a lot of my time will go towards.
“It will be a good learning experience. He thinks I have the body build for hammer. You have to be smart to throw the hammer. It is a lot about physics. I will practice all of it. Hammer always seemed fun to me.”
“I look for big things from him,” Shaffer said. “I am glad he can stay that close to home.
“He went away from the spin and went to the glide [in the shot put]. He was getting in better positions. His throws have gotten better and better. His throws have gotten more consistent.”
Jensen said the change of technique along with him maturing has opened doors for him.
“Everything kind of came together,” Jensen said. “I have grown and grown. I have a chance to really explode.”
Jensen was a three-sport standout in high school. He anchored the line for the football team.
He wrestled in the winter months and throws the shot put and discus for the track team.
He feels concentrating on just track will be a positive.
“Track season up there is 10 months a year,” he said. “It will keep me busy. Coach will be pushing me. I will be pushing myself.”
Kansas also is a good fit for his career.
“I get to go to a school where I can focus on pre-med,” he said. “They have the med school.”