June 10, 2022 — At the end of the school day on June 8 the entire Mapleton High student body gathered in the school’s gym for a short but significant assembly.
Unsure why they had been summoned to the gym, all the students were asked to gather in the corner under the school’s track and field record board.
The school’s athletic director, Carrie Dean, climbed a ladder in front of the record board. Once she reached the top, she pulled back paper to unveil the purpose of the gathering — to honor Mapleton senior Joe Shepard and his new school triple jump record.
On May 20, at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Shepard was Mapleton’s lone representative at the OSAA 1A State Track and Field Championships.
The previous day, Shepard had finished sixth in the state in the high jump, but the triple jump is Shepard’s specialty and the event he believed he had the best chance to medal in.
Not only did Shepard medal, but on his last jump of the competition, Shepard jumped 43’1, longer than any Mapleton track athlete had jumped, ever.
That jump shattered the previous record that had stood since 1980, 42’4 by T. Bones.
After Dean unveiled Shepard’s name and new record on the board, the crowd applauded. Shepard then climbed the ladder for a short speech where he thanked his coach, teammates and the entire student body for supporting him throughout this athletic journey.
First year Mapleton track coach Ed Dillahay also spoke. He congratulated Shepard and also thanked the student body for their support.
In addition to track, Shepard was also the captain of the varsity basketball team.
Shepard will move on to Oregon State University next fall. When someone from the crowd asked if he would continue his track career for the Beavers, Shepard explained that though he would like to keep jumping competitively, OSU does not field a track and field team.
Shepard and his fellow seniors will graduate today at 2 p.m. The ceremony is in the Mapleton High gymnasium, 10868 East Mapleton Rd.