What’s better than winning a state medal?

If you ask Allison Hinson, Hannah Mayfield and Katie Gregor, the answer is sharing the experience with friends.

All three area shot put throwers stepped onto the medal stand Saturday in Jefferson City after claiming top honors at the MSHSAA Class 3 track championships.

Hinson, a St. Clair junior, paced the area contingent by placing second with a top throw of 43-1.5.

“It was pretty intense,” Hinson said. “There was a lot of close competition. I was placed fourth before we threw here, so I had a lot to chase after. I’m determined to get that first place next year though.”

John Burroughs junior Jordan McClendon won the state title with a throw of 43-8.75 and Hinson hopes to claim that spot next year.

“There is room to move up,” Hinson said. “Dedication and determination will get me there. I’ve got a lot of room to go. It gives me a lot to push for and work for.”

Also pushing to move up next year is Union junior Hannah Mayfield, who placed third at 41-5.75.

“I’ve got one more year,” Mayfield said. “I’m determined to come back and get that state championship.”

Mayfield entered the state meet with some outstanding credentials.

“I’ve broken the school record two times this year,” Mayfield said. “I’ve broken the Nix Relays record, the conference record and the school record. Next year, a lot of the seniors who were really good this year are moving on so it will be my time to shine.”

But Mayfield knows she’s going to have to continue to work hard in the offseason to get better.

“I need to hit the weight room, a lot,” Mayfield said.

Hinson said many of the St. Clair athletes work on their events away from school.

“Our kids are really dedicated,” Hinson said. “Even if we don’t have weights that day at home, we’ll have kids coming in and lifting. We actually have a long jumper, Terrance Stahlman, who made his own long jump path at home. Spencer Crumbaugh jumps there with Terrance.”

Hinson said her father has encouraged her and her sister to become the best they can be.

“My father has been the secret to my success,” Hinson said. “He really encourages me to do my best and pushes me to train hard.”

That includes a home throwing regimen.

“I throw at home, my sister throws at home,” Hinson said. “Yesterday, when the other kids were here at state, I went and threw and Spencer and Terrance went and jumped. There’s never really a stopping point where we give up and lay down.”

Both Hinson and Mayfield know there are strong throwers within their own programs and around the area, including Owensville senior Katie Gregor, who placed seventh with a distance of 40-3.

“It’s a great feeling to be here with friends,” Hinson said. “We push each other throughout the season.”

Hinson said the area competition has helped everyone improve to the point to where they can achieve feats like winning state medals.

“It really does push you,” Hinson said. “It helps you improve yourself. The competition makes you work hard and not slack off just to get by. It helps you for the bigger meets, like district and sectional and state.”

Mayfield agreed.

“This year, there has been so much competition compared to any other year,” Mayfield said. “Everyone’s hitting 40s. The district meet was by far the most difficult because five people had hit 40. That just pushed you harder to get through.”

Hinson, a three-sport athlete at St. Clair, said she’s starting to like track even more with success.

“It’s a tossup between track and volleyball for my favorite sport because I’ve played basketball so long,” Hinson said. “I definitely enjoy track the most.”

Mayfield indicated the competition was not the only thing sizzling at the shot put ring Saturday.

“It was really hot out there,” Mayfield said. “It was pretty intense.”

Hinson said the fact that she finished second in state hadn’t really sunk in yet.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet, or I would be crying with Katie,” Hinson said.

Gregor was happy to have a medal and be there with her friends, but had one complaint.

“We all take turns,” Gregor said. “This was supposed to be my turn to win!”