POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — “She’s simply the best girl I’ve ever coached. She takes instruction and she is always aiming to improve, even with what she has already accomplished. She’s a really good kid and an excellent student too. We’re proud of her here at Point Pleasant … and Marshall is getting someone they’ll be proud to have.”
Those were the sentiments from throwing coach Dave Darst in reflecting on the latest Point Pleasant athlete to join the Thundering Herd as senior Aislyn Hayman signed a letter of intent with the MU track and field program in late April.
Hayman — a four-time all-state performer between the shot put and discus events in her career — had an official signing gathering on Monday, May 8, at the PPJSHS Commons Area in which coaches, family and friends could all celebrate in her latest achievement.
Hayman owns the school records in both the shot put (42-1) and discus (148-8) events and has qualified for state four separate times in each competition — with six of those coming at the Class AAA level before this current spring.
In four of those previous six state appearances, Hayman has placed in the top-six of those two events — including three straight postseasons of being an all-state competitor in the discus.
Hayman is also a three-time Region 4 champion in the discus and just picked up the first Region 4 title of her career in the shot put last week at Winfield.
Throw in that she is a four-year letterwinner in girls basketball and a four-year drummer in the Black Knight Marching Band, all while carrying an unweighted 3.8 grade-point average, and you begin to understand that there aren’t many challenges that she is afraid to face.
For example, current West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin gave a nomination on behalf of Hayman to be part of the Class of 2021 at the United States Naval Academy. That application was ultimately turned down, but that didn’t stop Hayman from proceeding forward.
As things eventually turned out, Hayman ended up fulfilling another lifelong goal — and it just happens to be a heck of a lot closer to home.
“I’m very excited to be heading to Marshall. When I didn’t get accepted to the Naval Academy, I was left searching my options and Marshall was always my first choice from there,” Hayman said. “I like that it’s far enough away that I can live on campus and still be able to get home to do laundry and visit with the family. Marshall has a solid field of study in my major and it’s Division I competition, so it was everything that I wanted in a school.”
Hayman has respectively finished third, fourth and second in the state discus finals since her freshman season and also had efforts of ninth, seventh and third in the shot put finals over that same span — all at the Class AAA level.
Headed into her final PPHS performances this weekend, Hayman is the Class AA favorite in both the shot put and the discus finals — at least on paper.
Winning that elusive first state championship is the main goal in both Friday finals, mainly because it’s the one thing she has yet to accomplish.
But, as important as that task is to her, Hayman wants to win as a way of rewarding those who have helped her in getting to this point.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a good coach all the way through like Coach Darst. Some schools don’t have a throwing coach, so I am very lucky to have had that all throughout my career,” Hayman said. “He’s really worked with me to make me better every step along the way and he’s been a huge help in my success.
“I also have to thank my parents and my teammates over the years for their support because they’ve made a real difference in things as well. I have a lot of people to thank, so going out a champion would be a great way to start.”
Though focused on her final prep trip to Laidley Field, Hayman is enthused about the new challenges that await her in Huntington.
She’s also seen former Point Pleasant stars such as Derek Mitchell, Andrea Porter and Cody Mitchell have success in their respective sports at MU over the last decade, so she is aware of how well-prepared she is for the next handful of competitive seasons at the Division I level.
Now all that’s left is to close the book on her high school career so that the collegiate sequel can begin … and it does come with a twist.
“I’m really excited to see what Marshall can get out of me over the next four or five years,” Hayman said. “I’m ready to get into the program and see how much stronger I can get and how much more distance they can add to my throws. I’m also excited to get learn how to throw the hammer because it’s new to me and they only throw it at the collegiate level.”
Hayman plans to major in Exercise Science and is the daughter of Tate and Damia Hayman of Point Pleasant.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.