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From ‘not that motivated’ to triple jump state champion — quite a turnaround for Lincoln’s Grant Nyhus

“I thought maybe it’s possible if I keep working. So, I just kept at it.”

By René Ferrán 

EUGENE — Grant Nyhus knew better than to rest easy as he watched Benati Louvouezo step onto the runway for his final attempt in Saturday’s Class 6A triple jump competition. 

A week earlier at the PIL district championships, the Lincoln junior had taken the lead with a jump of 44 feet, 4¼ inches, on his final attempt — only to have Louvouezo, a Grant junior, top that effort with a 44-6½ to win the title.

So, you could understand why Nyhus felt a bit of deja vu after seizing the lead from Louvouezo on his final jump, going 44-0½.

“My last jump of the season, so I told myself, just put everything out there, don’t hold back,” Nyhus said.

First, he had to sweat out Sheldon’s Owen Phillips, who’d been in second place going into the finals. After Phillips fouled, Louvouezo was left to take his final jump.

“I was really scared about Benati beating me, because he always heats up at the end,” Nyhus said.

This time, though, Louvouezo came up four inches shy, and Nyhus could breathe again.

Grant Nyhus photo Rene Ferran

The person most surprised by his victory might have been Nyhus himself. At the beginning of track season, he acknowledges he “wasn’t that motivated,” skipping practices and missing the first month of the schedule.

He finally became eligible in mid-April, and when he made the podium at the Oregon Relays with a sixth-place finish (he was the top Oregon jumper in the competition), he realized that a state title was within his grasp.

“The possibility of winning,” Nyhus said, chuckling, when asked what finally inspired him to get serious at practice.

He also credited Cardinals jumps coach Michele Turney with pushing him to improve and putting him in position to win a state title — the program’s first in the event since Alex Sattley’s 11 years ago.

“I thought maybe it’s possible if I keep working,” he said. “So, I just kept at it.”