Hamrick wins Class AA state pole vault at Georgia Olympics
FOR MASON Hamrick, it was a celebration three years in the making.
Ever since first landing in the pole vault pits back in middle school, Hamrick has set his sights on his first Class AA state meet and the chance to be crowned a high school champion.
With a vault of 13-00 Thursday, Hamrick – injured foot and all – could finally exhale.
“I’ve busted it all three years I’ve been vaulting,” said Hamrick, who had one of his favorite Bible verses inscribed on his leg for the meet. “This is what I’ve been pushing for – this day.”
Hamrick, who said he’s actually been nursing a broken foot, beat out Isaac Toney (North Oconee), Jacob Echols (Bleckley County) and Aaron Cutbirth (Westminster), who all vaulted 12-06.
“The past two weeks, I’ve put bars up everyday,” Hamrick said. “And Gary (Porter), my coach, told me that if I can clear 13-00 on my first attempt, I can most likely win it. That’s what I was going for. But the first fault, I nicked the bar, and it was all wiggly. It scared me a lot but I did it.”
Jefferson coach Tim Corbett said that Hamrick’s accomplishment was all the more impressive given all the expectations that surrounded him. Corbett noted that with results so widely-publicized these days via the internet, everyone in the state knew Hamrick’s ability.
“For him to come out and do it when all the eyes were on him … it was really nice,” Corbett said.
When it became official, Hamrick pumped his first and pointed to the sky. Hamrick describes that poignant moment that culminated his standout freshman season.
“And when the last man scratched the last time, it just all came out,” Hamrick said. “I was like, “Yes.” It was unreal. I got what I wanted, and now it’s time to take a rest.”
And a well-deserved rest for this vaulter, who followed up a state title last year in middle school with his first high school championship. Hamrick will have surgery on his broken foot, which he injured last year, but is eager to get back to work.
He said his goal next year is to vault 14-06, “maybe more,” as he strives to repeat as Class AA champion and continue an impressive streak for Jefferson in the pole vaulting department.
Hamrick’s victory in pole vault marks the fifth-straight year that a Jefferson vaulter has won state. Hamrick follows current University of Tennessee Tyler Porter, who won three consecutive titles from 2008-2010. John Sharpton won the title back in 2007. Jefferson now won 18 state pole vaulting titles.
“It’s great,” said Corbett, who gives a lot of credit to community coach Gary Porter for his involvement with pole vaulting. “It’s awesome. I think it gives our kids an edge.”
State title aside, Hamrick just missed another distinction Thursday. With the pressure off after clinching the title, Hamrick came up just short on a personal-best attempt of 13-07 on his final vault.
But he wasn’t complaining. He had already gotten what he came for.
“That’s kind of a disappointment I didn’t get it, but I won and that’s all that matters to me,” Hamrick said.
NOTES: Corbett said the 40th Georgia Olympics went off without a hitch. The coach noted the good feedback Jefferson – which hosts the meet annually – received from coaches around the state.
“We got some really positive comments after the meet,” Corbett said. “It just makes a huge statement about our community.”
Corbett also praised student involvement in this year’s event.
“This bunch was better than any group in recent memory,” he said.
Mason, I cant imagine anyone who knows you personally is not as proud as I know your family is. Thats a great job. You not only did an exceptional job but you had the determination to make your dream come true while being injured. You are not only an inspiration to your classmates but to many adults as well. Your a fine man that did a fine job. Congrats... Enjoy the victory you have definately earned it.