Considering what happened on Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House, it might be time to change the name of LSU’s high school last chance qualifier.
Lafayette High’s Armand “Mondo” Duplantis set a national high school indoor record while winning the boys vault with an effort of 18 feet, ½ inch to highlight a day that included multiple meet records.
The initial goal may have been qualifying for the LHSAA high school indoor meet Feb. 20, but Duplantis and double-winner Janie O’Connor of Zachary were among the competitors who proved the meet can be so much more.
“My goal has been to go 18 feet, and I thought it was possible,” Duplantis said. “But I didn’t know it would happen today. To be honest with you, all I remember about the last few jumps was starting and then it was over. It’s kind of a blur. That usually happens at the higher heights.”
There were enough people at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House to fill in the blanks. The other top competitors remained on the track to watch Duplantis’ sequence of jumps.
Duplantis, the son of former LSU vaulter Greg Duplantis, entered the competition at 16 feet. After setting the high school field house record at 17-10½, Duplantis told meet officials to move the bar to 18-0½.
He missed his first two attempts before clearing the bar on the third and breaking the previous record in March by Deakin Volz of Bloomington, Indiana, when he cleared 17-111/4 at a meet in New York. Duplantis was celebrating as he hit the cushioned pit.
Duplantis’ celebration came hours after O’Connor set a meet record by winning the girls 400 meters in a time of 56.18 seconds, a time that ranks just outside the national indoor top 10 rankings. She later won the 60 meters in 7.64 seconds.
“Going into the race, I knew I wanted to run a 56 or a 57,” O’Connor said. “I executed the race the way I wanted to. My main goal was to finish it and stay up there with my speed and intensity.”
O’Connor was not the only local record-setter. Live Oak’s Ashley Davis and Nigel Despinasse of Catholic High set meet records in the shot put. Davis’ girls mark was 42 feet, 11 inches and came after Despinasse uncorked a winning throw in the boys event.
“I was hoping to go 43 feet,” Davis said. “But this is OK. I think it puts me where I need to be going into the state meet.”
Two John Curtis competitors, distance runner Devyn Keith (800 meters) and sprinter Corey Wren (60 meters) also set boys records. Assumption’s Jacob Daigle set a record in the boys 1,600.
One other local competitor, Denham Springs’ Abigail O’Donoghue, also challenged a record. O’Donoghue won the girls high jump at 5-5, but just missed on three solid attempts at a meet record of 5-6½, just off her personal best of 5-7.
“My first indoor meet was just a couple of weeks ago,” O’Donoghue said. “With two more weeks of practice, I should be ready to go higher.”
Catholic High’s Kam Cummings won boys 60 hurdles in 8.30 seconds. Episcopal’s Parish Kitto won the girls pole vault in 11-6. Catholic also won the 4x800 and 4x400 relays at the day-long meet. Baton Rouge High won the girls 4x800 relay.