EUGENE — Anna Hidle began her final high-school competition with a lot of confidence and a little hope.
And, in the end, what that translated into for the Hood River Valley High School senior was a silver medal at the Class 4A Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Hidle matched her personal-best mark of 5 feet, 3 inches to finish just behind Monica Groves of McNary on number of attempts. But while she thought she could have won, Hidle still walked away from her last state meet with a big smile.
“It was a very good note to end on,” she said. “I feel like I should have cleared 5-4, but I’m still very satisfied with second.”
After she and Groves each cleared 5-3, Hidle had a chance to win the state title at 5-4 with the last jump of the afternoon. But her legs barely nicked the bar, forcing her to settle for runner-up.
“I was glad when it was all over,” she said. “There are so many people at state and nerves definitely played a factor. But I was just there to have fun, and I did. If I had won, it would have been a little more fun, although I’m not looking back on it with any regrets.”
The second-place finish was the best for the school since Christy Paul took second in the 3,000 meters in 2001. It also helped the Eagles score eight points in the team competition, which put them ahead of all Intermountain Conference teams besides Pendleton (31) and Hermiston (9).
Hidle said she plans to continue high-jumping at Southern Oregon University, where she also wants to further her basketball career. But before all that, she may make one final attempt at beating her own school record in the high jump.
“I can still represent the school through this summer, and it would be great if I could get to 5-4,” she said. “I hope to enter a competition this summer and see what happens.”
Hidle isn’t the only HRV track and field athlete who hopes to continue her steady improvement. Three other Eagles competed with Hidle in Eugene last weekend, and all three have at least one more year to go even further.
“We brought a senior, a junior, a sophomore and a freshman this year, which I think is pretty cool,” HRV coach Shawn Meyle said of Hidle, John Simoneaux (pole vault), Markee Cox (100/200 meters), and Melissa Kauffman (3,000 meters).
“I’m a little sad to see the season end because these kids really proved themselves. We were just getting geared up and now it’s over,” he said.
Simoneaux ended up finishing 10th out of 18 in the pole vault, matching his PR with a jump of 13 feet. Kauffman improved her best time by a whopping 15 seconds to finish 15th in the 3,000 (10:53.47), while Cox was slightly behind her district pace, taking 13th in the 100 (13.03) and 17th in the 200 (26.70).
“It was fun to see everyone compete so hard,” Meyle said. “Markee would have liked to have gone a little faster, and John knows he could have cleared 13-6. But what more can you ask of the freshman, Melissa? A 15-second PR at state is about as good as it gets.”
Meyle said he thinks the three underclassmen are now more motivated than ever, and should make a serious run at state again in 2005.
He also commended Hidle on her efforts, and praised her as “one of the best natural athletes to come through this school in recent years.”