6A TRACK & FIELD
|1. Oregon City|
|4. Central Catholic|
EUGENE — The Mount Hood Conference threw a beach party in the sand of the triple jump venue at the 6A boys state track and field championships Saturday at Hayward Field.
The MHC accounted for the top four spots on the awards podium with Central Catholic teammates Parker Mann and Vincenzo Logan squaring off against Reynolds senior Able Taylor and Gresham senior Joseph Harris.
"We had competed with each other all season — it was a unique experience — just a really good day to be out jumping with friends," Harris said.
Mann put the target out there early with a leap of 46-feet-4-inches on his first attempt — a stunning three feet beyond his personal record.
Taylor and Logan each surpassed 45 feet on their early jumps, while Harris almost dropped out of the competition after tweaking his quadriceps, the large muscle on the front of your thigh, while fouling his second jump.
"By the end of prelims I was ready to quit," Harris said. "But this is my senior year, so I chose to develop the mindset to fight through the pain."
Staying in the competition was one thing, challenging the leaders was quite another.
Harris was seventh after prelims, putting him among the early jumpers in the finals rotation.
He fouled his first attempt of the finals, but came back with a leap of 45-4 on his fifth trip down the runway. The effort marked a personal best by a hand print and moved him up the leader board five spots into second place.
The game of musical chairs wasn't quite done, as the jumpers went into their final round.
Harris was one of the first to take to the runway, clapping his hands over his head to get the Hayward crowd involved in the final jump of his prep career.
He came down the runway and carried incredible speed through the hop and skip phase of the event before launching himself into the pit. Harris hit the sand and the momentum from his jump threw him forward face-first to the end of the pit.
"I looked back and felt like it was a solid mark," Harris said. "I started walking back, and the scoreboard guy was just smiling at me. He flipped the board and I saw it was 47 feet."
Officially, 47 feet and three-quarters of an inch.
Two feet farther than he had ever jumped coming into the day and plenty to send him to the top of the podium.
All that was left was to watch his friends take their last turns down the runway.
Taylor, a former classmate when Harris was a sophomore attending Reynolds, was first up.
He zoomed down the runway and launched himself through the air, landing deep in the pit with a mark that looked as if it would challenge for the lead. Taylor excitedly turned to look behind him only to see a red flag waving. He covered his face and slowly left the pit.
What was likely his best jump of the day would not be measured. The attempt cancelled when the front curve of his shoe poked just over the take-off board.
Neither Logan or Mann could improved their mark on their sixth jumps, securing the win for Harris.
View photos from state at daveball.exposuremanager.com.
Look for expanded coverage in our Tuesday, May 23, print edition.