CIMARRON — A week ago, Payson Hawkins accomplished two things in winning the triple jump.
At the Lakin Invitational, the Syracuse junior beat rival Creed Puyear of Stanton County.
And he did it by setting a school record, jumping 44 feet, 8.5 inches, a record set by Isaac Armstrong in 1997.
Even more amazing, it was well over 2 1/2 feet farther than he had jumped in competition.
Friday, one week later, at the Hi-Plains League meet in Cimarron, Puyear and Hawkins faced off once again.
This time, it was Puyear, the Stanton County junior, who got the better jump — by the slimmest of margins.
Puyear got off a meet best 42-08.75 jump, while Hawkins cleared 42-08.5.
That’s one-quarter inch difference, but it was enough to make Puyear happy.
What was his mindset coming into this meet?
“See if he (Hawkins) could do it again," Puyer said. "I knew (last week’s jump) was pretty crazy, but I didn’t know if he could do it again.”
Puyear jumped one spot ahead of Hawkins Friday, an advantageous position for him.
He jumped a 42-07 twice in the prelims, a half-inch edge on Hawkins going into the final jumps.
“I tried to jump a little farther just to increase my lead,” he said.
And it was just enough.
At this stage of the season, with the regional meet next Friday, Puyear said the competition was good for him, especially since Hawkins will be right there with him again as Syracuse will be competing in Class 2A this year.
Puyear finished fifth in Class 2A state (42-10.25) in 2017, and Hawkins was 15th (39-05.5) in Class 3A.
Puyear has 43-plus in him, he said, and he’d like to hit that this year.
Hawkins said his school-record jump last week might have been due to his shoes.
“It was a good track (at Lakin) to jump at — and I started wearing my old shoes,” he explained. “This year I was jumping 39 (feet), but I just couldn’t get anything going. I used my old shoes and that just seemed to click.”
He bought some shoes specifically for jumping, and they didn’t work out, so he went back to what worked. That, and he improved his technique, focusing on keeping his speed steady on his run up.
“I just flew. It felt great to do that,” Hawkins said.
The rivalry with Puyear is actually a good thing, he added.
“He always keeps me on my toes, always knowing I have to do better,” he said. “He’s right there with me all the time.”
The two will compete in the Spearville regional meet Friday.