Add qualifying for the U.S. track and field nationals to Mason Hamrick’s impressive résumé for 2011.
With a vault of 4.05 meters (13 feet, 03.5 inches), Hamrick placed second in the pole vault in the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic regionals Sunday at Mill Creek High School to earn a spot in the nationals July 26-31 in Wichita, Kan. Hamrick barely missed qualifying for nationals last year.
Hamrick is coming off a Class AA state championship in May, becoming the first Jefferson freshman in the school’s rich pole vaulting history to win a state title.
Though he qualified for nationals, Hamrick – who missed on highest attempt of 4.2 meters (13 feet, 9 inches) – wanted no less than a first-place finish.
“I was shooting for first,” Hamrick said. “Every single time I would go over the bar and it would be right there. It felt horrible.”
Hamrick actually cleared the same height as the winner, Matthew Reaves, but Reaves took the win on misses. Hamrick was also forced to re-vault on one of his successful attempts at a lower height because the bar was miss-set, which Hamrick said interrupted his rhythm.
Now Hamrick will go back to work. The rising sophomore, who aspires to be a four-time state champion by the time he graduates high school, said he’s been vaulting at 13-08 in practice.
“So I’ve been improving slowly but surely,” he said. “I mean, it’s just a matter of time.”
And Hamrick still manages to compete at a high level despite vaulting with a broken foot. He said he and his family are still contemplating surgery.
“It’s still bad,” Hamrick “It hurts everyday but I just kind of play through it.”
Though he would benefit from having the break repaired, Hamrick would also be sidelined for a long time. Hamrick and his family are trying to determine the next step.
“We’re still thinking about it,” Hamrick said. “We’re going to get second opinions and all that. We’re just not sure yet. Because that’s a big deal and it could put me off for a long time.”