EUGENE — Morgan Hopkins was a surprise winner if there ever was one.
The Lebanon High sophomore wasn’t even supposed to place, let alone make the finals in May 20 5A girls shot put. But Hopkins went another unexpected step further.
A toss of 38 feet, 8½ inches, a personal best by more than three feet, on her final toss won Hopkins the competition at Hayward Field.
“I felt good about it, but I didn’t realize it was as far as it was,” said Hopkins, who moved from third to first on her final attempt.
With a previous PR of 35-4½, Hopkins entered the day with the 16th-best mark in 5A and was seeded last of 13 competitors after a subpar performance at the Mid-Willamette Conference district meet a week earlier. Her mindset was that she couldn’t finish any worse than she was seeded.
But she helped herself forget about earlier struggles quickly with a new PR (36-11¼) on her second throw of three in preliminaries.
Hopkins had another throw (36-9 ¼) past her old PR on her fifth attempt before letting one loose on her final try.
Hopkins, a right-hander, found the form and technique that has escaped her recently. She’s been working on driving through the throw with her left foot and arm.
Today it all came together at once, because some days I have one thing and not the other,” she said.