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Transfer to Clackamas proves ‘best fit’ for Deshanae Norman, who finishes an eventful high school career with a 6A girls high jump title

“Honestly, it feels just like they say. It feels amazing!”

By René Ferrán | Photo by Taylor Balkom 

Three months ago, Deshanae Norman had hip surgery that left her wondering if she’d even have a senior track season.

On Saturday, the Clackamas senior found a little bit of the Hayward Field magic that so many others have enjoyed over the years. 

She won the Class 6A girls high jump in Eugene by clearing a meet-record 5 feet, 10¼ inches, on her second attempt at the OSAA state championships — bettering a personal best she jumped last spring while at Gladstone.

“Honestly, it feels just like they say,” said Norman, who moved to No. 7 on the all-time state list. “It feels amazing!”

Deshanae Norman Taylor Balkom

Norman started her high school career at Benson in Northeast Portland, winning two medals at the OSAA 6A state meet that year at Mt. Hood Community College.

She then moved to Gladstone before her sophomore year. That season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a junior, she won the long jump and 100-meter high hurdles at the 4A culminating-week state meet and finished third in the high jump behind Emma Gates of Cascade. 

Still, something didn’t feel quite right to Norman, prompting her to transfer to Clackamas for her senior year.

“It’s definitely hard, meeting lots of new friends, new coaches, trying to fit in,” she said. “But Clackamas is definitely the best fit for me. It’s more diverse. I’ve loved it.”

Norman plans to compete in the heptathlon next season at Oregon State, but because of the hip surgery, she focused mainly on the jumping events this spring.

She lost only once in the high jump — her opening meet, the Laker Invitational — and also qualified for state in the long jump, winning the Mt. Hood district title and placing second to Oregon City junior Sophia Beckmon when she popped her state-record jump on her final attempt.

“I’ve been just weightlifting, taking care of myself, and prioritizing my events,” Norman said. “That really benefitted me a lot.”

Best photos from Day 2 of 6A, 5A, 4A Oregon high school track and field state championships