The Acadiana region was home to a number of state champions Saturday, as athletes from across the state in classes 3A, 4A and 5A competed in the final day of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Outdoor State Track and Field meet Saturday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
It only took one jump for Northside junior Christian Miller to secure a win in the Class 4A triple jump with a distance of 50 feet, 2 inches, but he didn’t stop there.
“I actually didn’t think I broke 50 feet on my first attempt,” Miller said. “I thought it was going to by high 48s or something. But they put 50-2, and my coach and I got excited. We knew I could go farther.”
With the win already in hand, Miller extended his winning margin with the last jump of the competition with an effort of 50-9, defeating runner up Chris Edwards of Washington-Marion by more than two feet.
The win came as a sort of redemption for Miller after he failed to win the long jump and finished third, in large part because of him stepping over the line on his last and seemingly longest attempt.
“It gave me a lot of motivation,” Miller said. “In the long jump, (I) scratched in the last jump, so I decided that in the triple jump I would have to take it back and win first place.”
Miller was bested in the long jump by Cecilia senior Damien Bernard, who won his first state championship event with a leap of 24-01.75.
Bernard, who only just started competing in the long jump at the district meet, won the event with his last jump of the contest, setting a personal record and beating Fair Park’s Jerome Wynn (24-00.25).
“I just started doing the long jump three weeks ago at district,” Bernard said. “Coach thought I had something in me to do the long jump. I have the explosion and speed.”
“When (Wynn) cleared 24 feet, I was like ‘Man, I’m competing for second with (Miller).’ My goal coming in was 23 feet.
“I said if I jumped 23 feet, I could win this. But he came out and jumped more than 24 feet. It just pushed me to do something I never thought I had in me.”
Bernard earned one of Cecilia’s two first-place finishes in the event, the other going to the boys’ 4x400 meter relay team, which won the event with a time of 3:24.05.
The Bulldogs earned the Class 4A runner-up trophy after finishing the meet two points shy of championship winner Westgate.
Lafayette freshman pole vaulter Armand “Mondo” Duplantis added a pair of accolades to his already long list of accomplishments Saturday.
Duplantis cleared 16-9, winning his first outdoor state championship and breaking the Class 5A meet record set by his brother, Andreas Duplantis, in 2011.
Still, Duplantis said he was dissatisfied with his performance because he failed to clear his goal height of 17-06.5.
“I’ve got time, but I really wanted that bar today,” Duplantis said. “I started low (at 15 feet) to get a bar in, and I guess it just caught up to me. I got a little tired and it’s very hot out here, so that didn’t help either. … I’m a little disappointed, but coming here, winning the state title and breaking my brother’s record, that’s always good.”
Duplantis was joined by Lafayette girls pole vaulter Rebekah Markel, who also won the event with a height of 12 feet.
Other champions from the Acadiana region included New Iberia’s Sean Washington, who won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.16 and Teurlings Catholic javelin thrower Asa Miller, who won gold with a throw of 177-10.