LEBANON — Morgan Hopkins waited patiently for her next personal best in the shot put that seemed like a long time coming.
But Wednesday was finally the day, and the Lebanon senior could focus on even bigger tosses.
Hopkins’ last big throw in competition came in 2017, when she bested her previous PR by more than three feet to win the 5A state title at 38-8½.
She threw almost an inch better — 38-9¼ — on her last throw of the competition Wednesday in a four-team home meet, and she fouled on an earlier throw that might have been even better had she not stepped out of the ring on her release.
“I’ve been working really hard in practice on small little details throughout the whole thing,” Hopkins said. “Making sure I get my feet set. I’ve been drilling on it and I think today it just came together.”
She called 2018 her “work-in-progress year,” with her best toss at 36-10½, a mark that won the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet. She went on to take eighth at state.
Hopkins says she learned from that and that it helped her overall. She tries not to get her hopes up because anything can happen in competition.
“But I definitely have a little bit higher expectation of myself” after Wednesday, she said. “I know I can do better, so I’m going to push really hard to do that.”
Crescent Valley sophomore Sunitha Black has continued her strong distance runner results.
Her 3,000-meter time of 10 minutes, 32.9 seconds she recorded last week is three seconds off the time she ran last season to finish sixth at state. It was the second-best 5A time this season entering Wednesday, when she won the 1,500.
“I feel like I’m at a better place this season than where I was last year. I’ve had a lot more endurance,” Black said, crediting 10-mile runs that she started back in January as a goal.
The season-best 5A 3,000 time she ran last week in Canby has raised her expectations for the rest of the season.
“I definitely went out faster … and just ran my race. I was proud of that,” Black said.
Teammate Jada Foster, another sophomore, found herself near the top of the 5A long jump season standings with a mark of 17-½, improving on her previous personal best by more than 17 inches.
It came on April 3 in the first meet of the season and was a surprise, for sure.
“It was a nice day, so I was like, ‘ok it’s a nice day so it’s time to PR,’” she said. “It was just a work-hard day that first day.”
Foster entered Wednesday third in 5A in the long jump and seventh in the Mid-Willamette in the 100 and 200.
West Albany senior Tiffany Forrest came into this season wondering if her school’s drop to the 5A classification from 6A wouldn’t push her to her potential this spring.
An ankle injury earlier in the season slowed her down but solid marks recently in the jumps have raised her spirits.
Forrest went 36-1½ in the triple jump and 16-0 in the long jump last week, both bests this spring. Her triple jump mark was second in 5A entering Wednesday.
“Getting that 36 and getting back in the 16s these last couple meets has made me reinforce my confidence in myself a lot,” she said.
Forrest qualified for the 6A state meet in both jumps last year and in the triple in 2017. She took fourth in the triple in 2018.
Kaimana “Bubba” Wa’a is disappointed that he hasn’t put up better shot put marks this season.
But the Crescent Valley senior has time. There are still three weeks until the district meet.
He entered Wednesday with a season-best toss of 49-10, almost four feet off the PR he set last spring. His hope is that his distance will improve with better competition.
“That’s usually how I throw farther,” Wa’a said. “Last year I got all my PRs from invitationals with the best teams around the state.”
He’ll have plenty of competition at the district meet in West Albany’s Aiden Paul and Silverton’s Ben Willis, who have both surpassed 54 feet this spring.
Lebanon senior Raymond Knuth is close to returning after dealing with a hamstring issue the past few weeks.
The 11.28 100 time he ran in the first meet of the season was just off his 11.19 PR from last season. That leaves him hopeful he can pick up where he left off when he returns, possibly next week.
“Definitely getting better. I’ve been doing a lot of physical therapy and stretching,” Knuth said.