By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The University of Oregon Track and Field team just picked up one of the 3A’s best throwers Thursday morning.
Salem Academy’s Mason Strunk was a sophomore when he threw at Hayward Field before the renovation project began going into his Junior season.
“I just remember when I went there for State, I just remember looking there and saying, ‘Wow. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have this to be my home. Wouldn’t this be great to be here?’ I would have never thought years later I would come here, come to Oregon,” said Strunk. “It’s a dream come true. I thought I would never be able to do it.”
There were a few heckles of ‘Go Beavs’ from the stands during the Winter Sports assembly that featured the Crusader Senior’s Signing Day. When he threw at the old Hayward Field in 2018, Strunk finished third in the Discus and fourth in the Shot Put.
He won the Discus his Junior year and placed second in the Shot, breaking the school records in both events in the process.
Strunk’s work ethic was put on the forefront during his Junior season with the Shot Put, retooling his form and the rotation. Being the last one to leave the facilities while being the first one there to start the day in order to perfect his form and craft with the 12-pound ball he set the school record of 52-feet-10.25-inches. The throw coming at Mount Hood Community College in his State Runner-Up performance in Gresham this past Spring.
“I wouldn’t have done anything without God. God has gave me this work ethic, God gave me the ability to do this and that really has carried me to where I am,” “Especially in this offseason. All I’ve been doing is drills and working for it, doing everything I can to get better.
“It’s a joke in my house. At any time, in any room in the house I’m always doing drills and if they hear banging in my room, I’m doing drills. That’s really want gotten me to where I am.”
This past offseason, Strunk competed with the Super Throw Track Club, throwing shot put and the weighted throw during the indoor season and Discus and Hammer Throw during the outdoor season continue his work. Winning three events in Shot, four events at the 25-pound Weight Throw and one at the 35-pound Weight Throw during the offseason as he enters his Senior year with Salem Academy with some lofty goals in hand.
“I got some lofty goals I’ve set myself this year. I’ll like to hit some big numbers, but I want to take this opportunity to go to Nationals this year,” said Strunk. “I’ve never done on the National level, but I like to go to Nationals and compete there and see what I can do.”
Nationals work in that he’ll have to go to a local event advance to a Regional event and then qualify for the National event. A lot of work for sure, but nothing that Strunk can’t do as the High School season kicks off March 2.