EUGENE — Four weeks ago, Reedsport’s Hayden Hinshaw was in great pain after tearing a ligament in his ankle — and tearing off a small chunk of bone in the process.
Hinshaw was all smiles Thursday after winning the Class 2A state title in the pole vault.
“It’s awesome,” said Hinshaw, who set a new personal best by clearing 13 feet to win the competition.
Hinshaw was only cleared to return to competition the night before the district meet, and had to give up all other events, including the triple jump, in favor of the pole vault, which is his favorite.
Then when the event started at Hayward Field, he had an early miss at 10 feet. But Hinshaw settled down and had no trouble clearing the bar until he got to 12 feet.
At that point, Hinshaw trailed Stephen Howes of Elgin, who cleared the bar on his first try. But Howes cleared just one more height and Hinshaw kept raising the bar, getting over 12-3 and 12-6 on his first attempts. He missed his first try at both 12-9 and 13-0 before clearing each on his second try.
Hinshaw placed fifth in the event his first two years at state. His previous best was 12-1, meaning he improved by nearly a foot Thursday.
“It’s a good meet to do it,” he said.
Hinshaw said he was helped some by tips from Reedsport’s last state champion in the event, Lindsey Wright, who is home from her first year of school at Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
Hinshaw was one of several athletes from Reedsport and Myrtle Point to place on the first day of the Class 2A state meet, which wraps up Friday.
Reedsport teammate Mike Mitchell, a freshman, placed fourth in the long jump, though he wasn’t pleased with his effort of 20-6.75.
“I just couldn’t get a good jump,” said Mitchell, who hopes he worked out some of the nerves of the state meet before he competes in the high jump Friday.
“There’s going to be a lot of competition,” he said. “A lot of people are at 6-2.”
Five of the jumpers in the event, including Mitchell, have season bests of 6-2 or better.
Mitchell’s success in the two jumps is impressive, considering that he was juggling track and golf this spring.
“I didn’t get a lot of practice in,” he said.
Myrtle Point’s Grace Hermann was fifth and Reedsport’s Symphony Chamberlin eighth in the girls javelin.
Hermann’s best mark in the competition was 108-6, on her fifth throw. Cassie Fulton of Culver won the event with a throw of 124-9 on her final try.
“I was hoping to get top five and I did,” Hermann said. “I was a little upset that I didn’t get (a personal best).”
Hermann is a sophomore competing at state for the first time.
Chamberlin, meanwhile, placed eighth and said she was pleased to get a medal as a freshman.
“I’m happy,” she said.
She later repeated the feat by also placing eighth in the discus for the Braves, with a throw of 88-4.
Myrtle Point added two more placers in the girls long jump, where Caitlyn Robison and Kayley Leslie placed sixth and seventh, respectively.
“It was a really great experience,” said Leslie a sophomore, who admitted being disappointed with her distance.
“I did way better in districts, but my goal was just to make it to the podium.”
Robison, meanwhile, was frustrated to not jump better, but optimistic for better results in her other three events.
The senior said she did enjoy the venue change, getting to compete at Hayward Field after the state meet was at Western Oregon University in the past.
“It’s a much different atmosphere than Monmouth,” she said. “I like it a lot.”
Later in the day, Robison easily reached the final in both hurdles races. She also competes Friday in the triple jump.
Morgan McNeely finished ninth in the 3,000 for the Bobcats, one spot away from a medal.
Reedsport’s Kezia Eunice advanced to the final in the 200 and teammate Kaylynn Hixenbaugh advanced in the 400.
Girls winners Thursday included two record-setters: Logahn Sprauer of Kennedy, who cleared 5-6 in the high jump; and McKenzie Evans of Union, who won the 3,000 in 10:28.57. The other winners were Savannah Swan of Oakland (discus), Mary Roy of Grant Union (long jump).
The other boys winners were Trevor Walker of Central Linn, who set a meet record in the shot put with an effort of 56-6; Isaac Tully of Monroe (long jump) and Sisay Gillock of Portland Christian (3,000).