When Quinton Hicks was in second grade, he became a brother but not by blood.
His mom didn’t bear another child, and she didn’t adopt - not really, more just took in. Hicks’ mom married Marcus Hicks’ father, and Quinton, who grew up without his biological father, legally changed his last name from Pierce to Hicks.
Quinton and Marcus aren’t related, not even remotely, but they consider each other brothers. They have walked the same path.
Quinton, a senior at Campus, has signed top play Division I football at South Dakota State. Marcus, a senior at Wichita Northwest, is heading to Oklahoma on a full football scholarship. The brothers have been named to All-State, All-Metro and All-League teams. They hold school records, and in their final days as high school athletes, are both looking for a final state championship.
The Hicks brothers are among the top shot put and discus throwers in Kansas. Quinton won both events at Campus’ Class 6A regional meet Friday. He took the shot put title at 52-feet-2 and won discus as well at 153-7. Neither were personal bests, but both were among the top marks in Class 6A this season.
Marcus made school history in his final high school event at Wichita Northwest. He broke the school record in discus at 177-6. It stands as the No. 2 throw in Kansas this season and No. 1 in Class 5A. It beat the classification’s preview top mark by almost six feet and eclipsed his personal record by almost 14 feet. He also took fourth in shot put at 50-9.5.
Neither decided to enroll early and get into spring football practice in college. Both wanted to squeeze every moment out of high school, and both wanted either his first or second state title.
Marcus got his championship in the winter, winning the Kansas Class 5A 285-pound wrestling title. After the bout, he reacted as if he had just helped the Sooners to a Big 12 championship. Quinton hasn’t hit that payoff but looks primed to do it at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium at the state track meet starting May 25.
The brothers are ultra competitive. Each of their football coaches attested to it Friday. The regional meet was only the second time they have been at the same event this season, and after Marcus threw 177-6, Quinton’s first reaction was to congratulate him and his second was to tell himself he was going to beat it.
At the other meet the brothers competed at, the Maize Invitational, they texted each other leading up, talking trash and reminding the other what his top throw was. Naturally, Quinton won shot put; Marcus won discus.
“They are really good student and athletes, but they don’t like getting beat by each other,” said Greg Slade, Campus football and track coach.
Quinton said it is wild to think two unrelated athletes who grew up under the same roof went on to play Division I football, but that competitive nature was part of their upbringing.
Before the brothers’ parents separated and the brothers separated when they were in eighth grade, the brothers weren’t good friends. They fought a lot and didn’t have a lot in common. Quinton was the athlete performing well above his age, and Marcus was more interested in music than sports.
“Through middle school, I was always the unathletic one, always the chubbier one,” Marcus said. “He always made fun of me, and it got to me, but that all changed through high school. We grew and bonded together.”
Marcus grew about a foot, and his priorities quickly changed. He went to a camp at Oklahoma State before taking a high school snap and was offered a scholarship. Northwest coach Steve Martin said he received a call from the Hicks’ father, Kelvin, asking if that was normal.
Marcus’ recruitment quickly blew up, and not too far behind, Quinton’s did, too.
The brothers said through the success and because of the distance between them, they have grown to respect and love each other as more than friends but brothers, like biological brothers, Marcus said.
“It’s so cool to get to watch how far he has come,” Quinton said. “It’s amazing, and I know he will be successful in whatever he does.”
Wichita Northwest dropped into Class 5A for the 2018-19 school year, meaning the Hicks brothers won’t compete against each other for state championships starting Friday. Marcus said when he learned that, his heart dropped, only further evidence of the brothers’ loving but merciless relationship.
”I just tell everybody that I’m the cuter one,” Marcus said. “With his face, there’s no way we could be blood brothers. Nah, I just wish the best for him. I love him to death.
“We just have that connection nobody else can really say they have.”