GROWING up, Mason Hamrick always wanted to represent Jefferson High School on the athletic field. First, he thought it would be as a football player, then later as a baseball player.
Both those dreams fell by the wayside, but it’s safe to say he found his niche in pole vaulting. The two-time state champion has signed with Georgia Tech, and Jefferson held a ceremony last Wednesday to commemorate the moment.
“The past four years have been a crazy ride, going from winning state my freshman year and having the upset (loss) my sophomore year to working my butt off all year and winning last year with all my friends and family around,” Hamrick said. “It was just really awesome, and now this. It’s all kind of overwhelming.”
Hamrick has carried on a pole vaulting tradition at Jefferson that dates back to the 1960s. More recent state champion vaulters include John Sharpton, Tyler Porter (who signed with Tennessee back in 2010) and, of course, Hamrick.
Jefferson boys’ track and field coach Tim Corbett said the team is always looking for that next pole vaulter to keep that tradition alive.
“He’s certainly upheld his end of the deal as far as keeping the tradition going as far as his performance,” Corbett said.
Jefferson pole vaulting coach Gary Porter (father of Tyler Porter) praised Hamrick’s work ethic and said “the sky is the limit” for Hamrick at the collegiate level.
“He’s worked really hard and he’s the kind of kid that he likes the sport, so you don’t have to push him to work really hard at it,” Porter said. “He comes out everyday and he works hard everyday, getting better and better each day and it’s paid off for him.”
Hamrick, who will shoot for state title no. 3 at the boys’ state track meet in Jefferson, said pole vaulting has been his life since he took up the sport in middle school — spending countless days at the track completing vault after vault. Away from the track, he’s been a student of the sport, pulling up Youtube videos of pole vaulting greats like Sergey Bubka and Renaud Lavillenie in his spare time.
“Just every thought that goes through my head is about pole vaulting and how I can get better and improve,” Hamrick said.
Hamrick said Georgia Tech pole vaulting coach Viktor Kirillov — with whom Hamrick has had a long-standing association — will make changes to his form, and Hamrick will spend the summer getting a head start on that.
But for now, Hamrick wants to put an exclamation on his high school career. That includes winning his third state title in convincing fashion and perhaps earning a piece of history.
“It might sound a little far-fetched, but I set the goal for myself when I was in eighth grade when I watched Tyler (Porter) break the record at the state meet,” Hamrick said. “I want the record, and that’s what I’m going after.”
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