Sophomore pole vaulter set personal best at George Mason

At the end of the 2015 spring outdoor track season, Ashley Hinton began to experiment with how she planted the pole as a freshman at George Mason University.

The Stafford High graduate fine-tuned a few things during the indoor season for the Patriots, and the changes have paid off. She set a personal best with a leap of 3.50 meters in the pole vault on Feb. 6 at the Scarlet and White Invitational in Boston.

“I completely changed the way I plant the pole,” said Hinton, who is now taking part in the spring outdoor season for the Patriots. “It helps me penetrate into the pit a little bit more. I have a really strong left arm; when I plant, it puts [more] pressure on the pole.”

Hinton also had a new mental approach as a sophomore.

“This year coming in I had a totally different mindset. Last year it was figuring out how things worked,” she said. “I have been focusing in on getting in every workout that I can. I am working on technique.”

The Stafford resident also made a new focus on academics, trying to do as much as she can with her classes early in the week, since she knows most weekends involve a meet.

Some of the Mason athletes, including Hinton, took part in the Colonial Relays on April 1 in Williamsburg, while other members of the team were in California for a meet at Stanford.

George Mason won the outdoor title in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2015, and Hinton said the Patriots are aiming for a repeat this year. The Patriots will host the Mason Spring Invitational on April 9 in Fairfax.

“The team is awesome. They are so supportive,” Hinton said.

Last year, in the outdoor season as a freshman at Mason, she was sixth in the pole vault at the 2015 Tribe Invitational with a mark of 3.15 meters. She set a personal record in the pole vault with a jump of 3.35 at the Mason Spring Invitational.

During the 2015 indoor season she was second in the pole vault at the Father Diamond Invitational and set a personal record with a mark of 3.30 at the Virginia Tech Invitational. But she beat that in Boston in February.

Hinton earned eight letters in track and field, four in cross-country and four in gymnastics while in high school. She was all-conference, all-region and all-state in the pole vault and gymnastics at Stafford High. Hinton was also named to the distinguished honor roll.






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