Lafayette High School’s Armand “Mondo” Duplantis provided the biggest highlight of the day by setting a national record in the boys pole vault with a mark of 18 feet, ½ inch.
But there were plenty of other highlights at the LSU High School Last Chance Qualifier meet held Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House.
John Curtis distance runner Devyn Keith came away with a meet record and the best story of the day. Hours after winning the boys 800 meters in record in 1 minute, 55.78 seconds, Keith enlisted the help of LSU track announcer Mike Boyer to complete one other task.
First Baptist Christian’s Gabrielle Jennings was on the award stand after winning the girls 3,200 meters. Boyer asked Jennings to look toward the announcer’s both where Keith was standing.
“Mr. Devyn Keith would like to know if you’ll go to the prom with him,” Boyer said.
Jennings’ answer was yes.
“My mom talked me into it,” Keith said of the prom-date proclamation. “She told me I’d never gone to any of the dances at my school and said I should do it.”
When asked about which he thought was the bigger accomplishment, Keith smiled and said “probably the date.” But his race was pretty notable. Both Keith and second-place finisher Eric Coston of St. Paul’s (1:56.01) both broke the previous meet record.
“My coach told what I needed to do pace wise,” Keith said. “And going into the last lap I was at around 1:25, so the possibility was there.”
Keith’s record was one of two meet records set by Curtis performers. Eighth-grader Corey Wren won the 60-meter dash 6.93 seconds.
“It’s all about the start for me,” Wren said. “I ran a 7.04 in the prelims, which is what I ran last year. I wanted to go under seven seconds. I didn’t know I did it until I saw the clock.”
Duplantis, the son of former LSU pole vaulter Greg Duplantis, had the day’s biggest highlight.
“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 on Saturday. The other top competitors remained on the track to watch Duplantis’ sequence of jumps.
Duplantis entered the competition at 16 feet. After setting the high school field house record at 17-10 ½, Duplantis told meet officials to move the bar to 18-0 ½.
He missed his first two attempts before clearing the bar on the third. Duplantis was celebrating as he hit the cushioned pit.
Duplantis broke the record of Deakin Volz of Bloomington, Indiana, who went 17-11 1/4 in March 2015.
Coston just missed a record in the boys 3,200 meters, winning in 9:27.52. Jennings came in seeking a record in the girls 3,200.
Jennings didn’t get the record, but she posted an impressive winning time of 11:00.47.
Jesuit’s Jandon Briscoe (400 meters) was the other New Orleans area boys winner. The Mandeville duo of Olivia Murphy (1,600) and Claire Crosby (800) were among the girls winners on the track. Karr’s Rikianne Patterson (long jump) and Mount Carmel’s Brooke Petkovich (triple jump) won field events.
Assumption’s Jacob Daigle set a record in the 1,600-meter run.