Jace Attuso smiled and glanced off in the distance as he stood less than 10 feet from the jumper’s pit. Then the Catholic High senior shook his head.
“I’ve never had anything like this happen to me in my life,” Attuso said. “I can’t explain it. To be honest with you, it’s still sinking in. Everybody wants to have a meet like this. I can’t believe it.”
Attuso’s record-setting performances in the long jump and triple jump helped set the tone for Episcopal’s Jostens Invitational on Friday night.
A crowd of other competitors huddled around the jumper’s pit located near the track finish line as Attuso took his final long jump minutes before the running events began.
He’d already secured the meet/stadium records at Episcopal with a jump of 24 feet, 83/4 inches. Attuso nearly jumped out of the pit and though the jump was ruled a foul by less than an inch, the officials measured it at 25-3 — 2 feet longer than his previous best.
After finishing second in the 100 meters and running on Catholic’s winning 4x200 relay, Attuso was back at it in the triple jump. The goal was to improve by a few inches. Instead he broke meet and stadium records twice and won with in 47-0¾ leap, nearly a foot and a half better than his previous best.
The records set by Attuso, Zachary’s Janie O’Connor and Kristian Jackson and the Episcopal duo of Alicia Stamey and Parish Kitto were only part of the story. Predictably, Catholic and Zachary won the team titles.
The Bears finished with 205 points and won all but six events. Episcopal was second with 84, followed by Dutchtown at 66. Sethan Hollier (100 meters, 200 meters) and Nigel Despinasse (shot put, discus) were other Catholic double winners.
“(Attuso) was just on through the whole meet,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said, crediting jumps coach Nick Minville. “All year we’ve been trying to get our team together, and we’re not there yet. We’ve still got some guys who are injured or sick. We sprinted well and hurdled well and the throwers did their thing.”
Zachary pulled away from the girls field during the running events and rolled up 149 points to finish ahead of Episcopal (134) and St. Joseph’s Academy (113).
“April … this is championship month for us,” Zachary coach Chris Carrier said. “We use March to feel things out. Now is when we match the younger kids and older kids and get the lineup we’ll use for district. The girls performed well.”
It started with Jackson, a double winner in the field. She won the shot put with a meet mark of 43-5 and also won the discus.
The Zachary girls set a meet record in the first track event, the 4x200-meter relay. Dakota Williams, Janie O’Connor, Indya Jackson and Kiara Bethley won in 1 minute, 40.10 seconds. O’Connor later tied a meet record by winning the 100 meters in 11.73 seconds and set one by winning the 400 meters in 56.74.
Stamey was the only three individual events winner. She nearly broke the five-minute barrier in the second girls event, the 1,600 meters. There was no disappointment. Stamey’s time of 5:03.64 set yet another record. Stamey also won the 800 in 2:25.31 and the 3,200 in 11:35.89.
Kitto closed the meet with the final record, winning the pole vault in 11-9. She also won the 100 hurdles for Knights.
“That not a personal best but to have a record that will stay at Episcopal means a lot,” Kitto said.