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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 24, 2008
Hannay family has deep javelin history
By Jordan Michael
WESTERLO Scott Hannay and two of his kids are hoping to bring glory to Westerlo this week as they throw javelin at the Empire State Games.
This will be Scott Hannay’s 18th year at the games. “I’ve thrown so much javelin. I’m surprised that I still have an arm,” he said. He won a gold medal for the event two years ago. “Winning that medal was a big deal. Westerlo is a small place. The whole town was excited.”
Scott Hannay, 44, started throwing the javelin while attending college in Ohio. He was a graduate of Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School in 1982. He didn’t throw javelin in high school because the sport is not played in New York State schools.
Javelin isn’t popular enough to be held at the state championship level, according to Nina Van Erk, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Six sections in New York don’t recognize javelin as an official sport. “We don’t have enough sections on board to bring it to a higher level. It’s one of those unique events that has a few meets each year,” said Van Erk.
Hannay is the track coach at BKW and has wanted javelin to be included for years. “I think it has to do with the danger factor. A spear flying through the air makes people nervous,” he said. However, injuries are rare.
In Hannay’s eyes, javelin is being sold out. “This event is part of track and field as a whole. Javelin is contested in college and in other states at the high school level. New York should give it a chance because throwing is becoming increasingly popular.”
“Javelin is a very hard skill to learn,” said Hannay. Not many people acquire the skill. However, Hannay has two children who toss the javelin with ease.
Sarah Hannay, 19, is about to enter her sophomore year at Cederville University in Ohio. Greg Hannay, 17, is going to be a senior at BKW. All three of the Hannays will be in Binghamton for the games. This is their third year in a row of being at the games as a group.
Sarah and Greg Hannay are also very solid at the sport. The brother - sister act learned by watching their father over the years.
Greg has been chucking the stick since he was about 9 years old. Watching his father got him interested. “It was easy getting involved because I saw my dad throw all the time. He was my dad, as well as my coach. He still is my coach,” said Greg.
Greg really enjoys the family trips. “Since the sport of javelin has special meets, we get to travel all over. The traveling is part of the fun. Getting to go to the Empire Games every year is quite the experience.”
The public is largely in the dark about the art of the javelin. “People are uninformed about this sport. Some people have no idea where to throw it, what venue to hold it in. Everyone thinks that it’s really dangerous. In reality, there’s no real danger. Javelin is very controlled,” said Greg.
Javelin is a blend of speed, power, and strength. Athletes have to sprint 50 or 60 feet with an eight-foot pole in hand. On top of that, they have to throw it straight with force. “I tell people that it’s like throwing an eight-foot long football. I compare it to a golf swing too. Perfection is key,” said Scott Hannay.
Training is year round. The main focuses are weightlifting and running. “We throw a lot of different objects. We use stretching tubes for training too,” said Scott.
Javelin isn’t the only Hannay business. Their name is behind an international company called Hannay Reels. The company manufactures hose reels for fire and oil trucks. These reels are used every time a vehicle refuels.
Scott Hannay is an international sales manager for the company. “I travel all over the world. I represent Westerlo wherever I go,” said Scott.