Four years after failing to qualify for the final in the women’s pole vault at the U.S. Olympic trials, Morgann Leleux not only made it to the last day of competition, she nearly made the U.S. Olympic team.
Because of that effort, Leleux will settle for an alternate’s spot on the U.S Olympic team after the Louisiana-Lafayette senior finished fourth in the competition Sunday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The top three finishers — defending Olympic champion Jenn Suhr, Sandi Morris and Alexis Weeks — will represent the United States next month in Rio de Janeiro.
Leleux was among a group of 14 competitors that made it through Friday’s qualifying. The graduate of Catholic-New Iberia advanced from a group of 24 competitors, tying for 11th place at 14 feet, 3 ¼ inches.
Leleux put herself squarely in the mix Sunday, clearing both 14-5¼ and 14-9 on her first attempts at those heights.
She made up for her first miss of the day — 15-1 — with a clearance for only the second time in her career at that height.
By that juncture, the field had narrowed to six competitors with Weeks, Suhr and Morris all clearing 15-3 on their first attempts. Leleux wasn’t so fortunate, missing on all three of her attempts along with Katie Nageotte and Megan Clark.
Suhr won with a clearance of 15-9, followed by Morris (15-7) and Weeks (15-5).
The fourth-place finish further boosts a résumé in which Leleux twice finished as the NCAA outdoor runner-up and was a five-time All-American. The first of those runner-up performances took place her freshman season while at Georgia, with the latter taking place last month after transferring for her last season at UL-Lafayette.
“Coming back home was a major risk,” Leleux said before the trials. “It was a big risk, but a risk worth taking. Coming back home was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. ... It’s been amazing.”