DEARBORN — Having heard about but never seen in person Anthony and Michael Hancock, an interview across the dining room table in their home in the shadow of Divine Child High School, which they attend, confirmed what others told me about them:
They’re polite, well-mannered, obliging.
They’re fun and funny.
They’re identical twins — but not with identical birth dates.
Nearly 18 years ago, Anthony was born on Dec. 2 at 11:45 p.m. Michael came along 18 minutes later on Dec. 3 at 12:03 a.m.
They’ve bonded to become the premier high school distance runners in the state, among the top dozen, and certainly the best brother act.
“We started running in the fourth grade (at Divine Child elementary),” Anthony says, “but we did it to keep in shape for soccer.”
They caught the attention of high school coaches when Anthony ran two miles in 10:34 in the eighth grade.
“They talked to us about dropping soccer, concentrating on track and cross country, and how that might help us get into college,” Anthony says. That’s their motivation for their senior year, but “we run because it’s fun and relaxing.”
Michael, who usually lets Anthony do most of the talking, does his gabbing while they’re running. “I think it’s funny,” he says.
They are spending their summer (other than at a part-time job at the Dearborn Racquet Club) running Monday through Saturday, 25 to 30 miles a week.
“We’ll build it up gradually to 60 miles a week,” Anthony says, peaking at about the time official team practices begin Aug. 12. Their first of 17 meets scheduled for the fall will be 12 days later at the Michigan Catholic Invitational.
'They have a killer instinct'
Randy Williams knows them well, having coached Anthony and Michael and Divine Child boys track and cross country squads for three years.
“When they gave up soccer, they took it to heart,” he says. “They always try to do their best. They hate losing. They have a killer instinct in them that they’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
Williams gives a lot of credit to his assistant coach, Zach Ornelas, winner of the Detroit Free Press Marathon two years ago, for the twins’ improvement in their performances to All State status.
Their just-completed junior year was a banner one. In the Division 2 cross country state meet, where the boys run 5,000 meters (about 3 miles), Anthony came in fourth and Michael sixth.
In the Division 2 track finals in June, Anthony won the 3200 meter in 9:06.65, his personal best time and 19th-best in the nation among juniors. Michael finished sixth at 9:24.55.
They showed their true grit, having had to wait through nearly four-and-a-half hours of thunderstorm-related delays before they could get on the track.
In the CHSL championship, Anthony and Michael were 1-2 in the 1600 and 1-3 in the 3200.
They were in the top three in eight cross country races, which begs the question about college: will they continue together or go their separate ways?
“It depends,” Anthony says. They have been contacted by about a dozen colleges.
“Anthony could be in the top seven in any college,” Williams says. “And Michael, he can run anywhere from the 400 meters to the 5,000.”
“I’m proud of them,” says their mother, Cristina Morales-Hancock. She teaches English, computers and Spanish at SER Metro-Detroit, a nonprofit that assists youth and adults with job readiness, job placement and education.
She also has her own business as an event planner.
“The boys help me with deliveries and set ups.”
They’re good kids.
I bet they take the garbage out without being asked to.
Contact Don Horkey at firstname.lastname@example.org.