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NATIONAL CHAMPION AGAIN: Union Senior Hayden Smith Wins Second Consecutive AAU Junior Olympic Games Title in the High Jump

DES MOINES, Iowa (EYT/D9)— Hayden Smith is a national champion.


The Union senior cleared 2.10 meters (6 feet, 10¾ inches) in the high jump on a rainy and soggy Wednesday afternoon at Drake University to claim gold at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.

(Pictured above, Hayden Smith atop the podium after winning the high jump title at the AAU Junior Olympic Games on Wednesday)

It was Smith’s second consecutive AAU Junior Olympic title. Smith, who is also a two-time PIAA Class 2A champion in the event for Union/A-C Valley, won the gold last year in Greensboro, N.C.

“I’m feeling great, honestly,” Smith told MileSplit shortly after his win.

Smith was in a holding pattern during the morning. Rain delayed the start of the high jump, which was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. back in his home town of Rimersburg) for nearly three hours.

Smith then waited even longer, entering the event at a height of 6-4.

He was undaunted by the delay.

“I thought it would (bother me), but it really didn’t,” Smith said in the interview with MileSplit. “I was just glad. I was glad to have people with me at 6-8, too, to keep me pumped up and get me over the higher heights.”

Smith was the best in a field of 72 jumpers.

Clayton Bjork was second with a height of 6-8¾.

Smith finished tied for second in the high jump at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, Ore. in June.

He still has some big goals.

“I think being No. 1 in the U.S. would be really cool,” Smith said of his final high school year. “ There’s many things — 7 feet. There’s a bunch of stuff.”

To get there, Smith told MileSplit he will do what he has done since he started competing in the event three short years ago.

Take things as they come.

“It definitely takes a lot,” he said. “The main key, in my opinion, is just to stay patient. If you stay patient, it will come. I’m so happy.”