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College sports

After lost senior year, Hansen looks to track success at UMaine

Standout Lion excelled in football, indoor, outdoor track for Belfast
By Mark Haskell | May 27, 2020
Photo by: Mark Haskell Jack Hansen.

Belfast — For one who had such a sensational junior year, Belfast Area High School's Jack Hansen's senior athletic experience could not have been more opposite.

First, Hansen tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee midway through his football season, which, being a six-month injury, for all intents and purposes, ended his indoor track season as well.

“I was looking forward to do outdoor [track in the spring] because I knew six months would be before or right around April and I’d be back on my feet,” he said.

Then, the Maine Principals’ Association canceled the high school spring sports season due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which essentially brought Hansen's illustrious high school career to a close.

However, Hansen — the 2018-19 Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolboy athlete of the year — said he plans to look forward, not back.

And his work rehabbing his injury has helped shape his future academic and athletic game plan as Hansen will attend Division I University of Maine in Orono in the fall and will be on the school’s track-and-field team.

“My original plan was possibly [University of Rhode Island],” he said. “But I found out their coach was leaving. So I figured I’d stay close to home. And my track coach Dale [Nealey] knows the track coach up there and was in contact with him and said that I should keep [UMO] in mind.”

“I went up there and talked to the coach and saw the practices. And I liked it a lot, how they do things up there. I think it’ll be good.”

UMaine track-and-field coach Mark Lech confirmed Hansen “will be on the track team” and “remember seeing him at an indoor meet and was impressed with his ability.”

As a junior, Hansen played wide receiver and defensive back, making 14 catches for 496 yards and five touchdowns, while he also added 25 tackles, 13 assists and two interceptions.

In indoor and outdoor track, the success continued as he racked up three Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships (55-meter hurdles, pole vault, long jump) and a four-time state champion (long jump, triple jump, twice in pole vault).

There was no reason to think the success would not continue his senior year, but Hansen suffered an ACL injury in a hard-fought, 7-6 win over Oceanside of Rockland on Friday, Sept. 27 in a Class C North road football game.

Hansen was running and catching the ball well and was a focal point of the Lion offense, as well as solid defensive contributor before he was sidelined.

“I lost my indoor season,” he said. “It was supposed to be six months [recovery time], and it took six months. Healed up pretty good, had physical therapy for about three months probably and then with about two months left to recover I hit the gym and hit the weights a little more to strengthen my leg up. I would have been fine for outdoor [track].”

Hansen was cleared by his doctor on April 22, but the spring sports season had long since been canceled. He had planned to be on one of the school’s relay teams and to “try and get the state record in the long jump.”

“[The doctor] said, ‘If there were sports, you could do them, but there’s not,’” said Hansen. “So I had to wait for college.”

Despite the injury, Hansen, the son of Mark Hansen and Jodi Stout of Northport, said “[Black Bear coaches] were pretty confident that I’d be able to bounce back from tearing my ACL and not competing my senior year [of high school].”

He added that competing in Division I athletics “is definitely a whole new level.”

“I’m just trying to get in the best shape I’ve ever been in before going up there,” he said. “Working all summer doing yard work as well as working out. Hopefully it should all be good.”

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