Finding the Balance: Islander Athlete Sashane Hanson Champions Track and School

Sashane Hanson knows the importance of balancing her responsibilities and, as a student athlete, never shies away from putting in the hard work necessary to achieve her dreams. Hanson, who will be one of 1,160 Islander students graduating on Saturday, May 11, has spent her four years at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi pushing herself to be the best she can be in both track & field and biomedical science.

Hanson is an international student who came to the Island University from Jamaica where she discovered her love of athletics as a young child. In high school, she caught the eye of the track coach, Claude Grant, who saw a potential for greatness – specifically in high jump.

“I wouldn’t be here without him,” Hanson said. “Jamaican athletes mostly practice sprinting, so there’s not a lot of jumpers. If it weren’t for Coach Grant, I never would have thought about the high jump.”

That single influence changed the course of her life and brought Hanson many opportunities. She visited the United States three times while in high school to participate in Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the U.S. Grant also helped Hanson find her place at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi thanks to his connection with the former Island University track coach. Hanson’s success as a student athlete allowed her to receive a full scholarship to the University – something for which she’s incredibly grateful.

“My scholarships take a huge burden off my parents, who also work to support my little brother and sister,” Hanson said.

According to Hanson, the transition from Jamaica to the United States was mostly smooth.

“I think I’ve adapted pretty well to America,” Hanson said. “Sometimes my accent gets a little out of control and people can’t understand me, or I’ll start speaking Creole, but there are also a lot of opportunities here I wouldn’t have in Jamaica. I also like that the weather in Texas is like back home. I don’t like the cold.”

During her senior year at A&M-Corpus Christi, Hanson branched out into the heptathlon, where the participant competes in seven different events. But the high jump is where she has made her mark. The school record holder in both indoor and outdoor track and field, Hanson currently ranks second among all NCAA Division I jumpers. She has reigned as the Southland Conference Outdoor Champion in the high jump for all four years of her academic career – a feat only achieved by four other student athletes in conference history.

 “I couldn’t be more proud of everything that Sashane has accomplished, and she’s still not done,” said Kevin Robinson, Assistant Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach at A&M-Corpus Christi. “Watching her as an athlete and the amount of passion she puts into competing is everything and anything you can ask for as a coach.”

But all this success requires one thing: hard work. Hanson says she puts in at least 20 hours a week training – the same amount of time as a part-time job. She works to balance her time in sports and studying for her biomedical science degree through careful planning.

“I have a little book that I use to keep track of all my assignments and studying,” Hanson said. “If I’m going to have a test I’ll need to start studying earlier because I know I won’t have a full day to dedicate to that. Instead, I fit in little study sessions when I’m not in class or training.” 

After graduation, Hanson has several track meets lined up, including a regional meet in California in May and the Jamaican Senior Trials in June. Hanson says her biggest goal is to continue training to one day compete at the summer Olympics.

“Sashane is one of the most talented athletes I have ever seen,” Robinson said. “If you want to do something you have to believe you can, and she has that. I have no doubt that she will make it to the Olympics and be successful in everything she does.”

Hanson looks forward to combining her love of sports and medical science into a career in occupational therapy. She also plans on returning to school to earn a master’s degree in that field.

“Occupational therapy is something I can see myself doing in the future,” Hanson said. “If you get a job doing something you love, you’ll want to put in the work to succeed at it.”

To her fellow Islander students, Hanson offers this advice: time management.

“Focus on your schoolwork and get your degree,” she said. “Don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park. You can enjoy yourself, but just make sure you find that balance.”