Forest Grove junior Shannon Hammond takes seventh place in the 6A state meet

Setting a personal record in your first trip to the state track and field meet is difficult to accomplish.

So is landing a spot on the awards podium— there are only eight of them per event, after all.

But Forest Grove’s Shannon Hammond accomplished both of those milestones on Saturday. The junior cleared 5 feet, 1 inch in the Class 6A girls high jump, good for seventh place and a personal best.

“I knew that I was going to be really nervous, and I didn’t know if it was going to be to my benefit or not, but I guess it was,” Hammond said.

Going into to the meet, staged Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Hammond hoped to place in the top eight, she said, and she met that goal on a sunny afternoon.

“She works hard. You won’t find anybody that works harder,” Forest Grove coach Scott McCahon said. “I’m just really, really happy for her and her family because she’s put a lot of work into it.”

Hammond had cleared 5-0 in competition on four previous occasions but did not go higher until Saturday. In Eugene, she cleared 4-10 on her first try and then needed all three attempts to make 5-0. But she cleared 5-1 on her first jump at that height before missing all three at 5-2.

“To go down there your first time ever in the high jump, which it’s a pretty intimidating event, and to do as well as she did, says a lot about her and her composure and her determination,” McCahon said.

With the PR coming in the biggest meet of her career, Hammond’s timing could not have been better.

“I was really excited because I made it over,” said Hammond, who needed to win a jump-off at the Pacific Conference meet two weeks ago just to qualify for state. “I was jumping up and down, and I was all happy.”

Prior to the state meet, Hammond had never been to Hayward Field. She got a feel for the venue early on Friday, when athletes were allowed to go inside the track proper.

“Of course, it was different when I was actually competing, because the stands were filled,” Hammond said. “It was really nerve-wracking. It was definitely the experience of a lifetime.”

Also competing for Forest Grove was Alyssa Villalobos, who placed 14th in the long jump on Friday with a mark of 15-3¾. The freshman placed third a week earlier at the district meet and advanced to the state meet as a wildcard entry.

McKay’s Susannah Philbrick won the competition with a leap of 18-2½.

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